Containing Burdine is focus for Harlan defense in First Priority Bowl game


John Henson

Donovan Montanaro scored one touchdown rushing and one passing in Harlan’s 30-0 win at Jenkins last week.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

Whether he’s throwing or running, junior quarterback Dylan Burdine is the leader of the East Ridge offense so far in 2021 and you can be sure he’s been the a big part of the discussion as the Harlan Green Dragons prepare for Friday’s First Priority Bowl against the visiting Warriors from Pike County.
“They will mix it up, probably about 50-50,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “He will definitely be a focal point for us. He’s a good runner in addition to throwing the ball. They also have a couple of capable receivers and good size up front.”
East Ridge (2-1) opened the season by defeating Floyd Central 42-34 and Phelps 40-26 before falling 50-16 last week at home against Betsy Layne.
Burdine, who played at South Laurel last season before moving to East Ridge when his father took over as coach, has completed 34 of 62 passes for 486 yards. He also leads the team in rushing with 363 yards and nine touchdowns on 58 carries. Isaiah Adkins has 12 catches for 234 yards and Zack Mason has 10 for 85 yards.
“They are pretty much spread. They will run some zone out of it, but they never have a tight end,” Perry said. “They have three wide, four wide or five wide and they will run traps. They will also throw it a lot. They can run the zone plays or traps with Burdine. They are pretty much wide open, but they will mix it up with the run and pass.”
Harlan (1-1) evened its record last week with a 30-0 win at Jenkins, but the Dragons struggled with mental errors, including over 100 yards in penalties.
“That’s been our focus this week — more about us. If we play up to our capabilities we feel we’ll be in good shape,” Perry said. “If we play like we did against Berea, it will be a long night for us. We’re focusing on us and trying to get better every week.”
Donovan Montanaro and Cade Middleton each passed for touchdowns in the Dragons’ win over Jenkins as Middleton works his way back from an ankle injury. Middleton is expected to be back to full strength, along with lineman Jon Lewis. Peyton Thompson, a freshman lineman injured against Jenkins, is considered “questionable” for this week.