Johnson Central rolls past HCHS to stay perfect in district


Tanner Hoskins

Jonah Swanner had a touchdown catch for Harlan County in a loss Friday at Johnson Central.


Johnson Central scored on four touchdown runs of 10 yards or less on Friday to down visiting Harlan County 43-6 in district football action at Jim Matney Field in Paintsville. The Eagles gained 262 yards on the ground against HCHS. Sophomore running back Carter Conley led the Eagles with 92 yards on five carries. Freshman running back Zack McCoart rushed for 77 yards on seven carries.
The Black Bears, known for their running game, gained only 37 rushing yards. Demarco Hopkins led HC with 26 yards on 12 rushes.
Sophomore quarterback Ethan Rhymer completed three of five passes for 82 yards.
McCoart scored on a 4-yard run at the 10:27 mark of the opening quarter. Sawyer Crum added the extra point.
Less than three minutes later, Ryleh McKenzie intercepted a Rhymer pass and raced 60 yards for a touchdown. Crum’s kick made it 14-0.
The Eagles closed the period with quarterback Grant Rice going in from the 7 with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Crum’s kick was good.
Johnson Central marched down in the second quarter to the HC 6 before a fumble turned the ball over to the Black Bears.
Following a Harlan County punt, the Eagles needed just four plays to score as Rice went in on a 7-yard keeper. Crum’s kick made it 28-0 at halftime.
With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Conley added a 4-yard touchdown run. Chase Price scored on a two-point conversion to start a running clock.
Johnson Central’s final score came with four minutes remaining in the period as Conley went in from the 20. Crum’s fifth kick of the night was good as the Eagles led 43-0.
The Black Bears started on their own 28. Five plays later, Rhymer connected with Jonah Swanner for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The conversion run failed.
The Eagles improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in district play. Johnson Central will travel to Letcher Central next week to battle the Cougars for the District 8 championship. Letcher Central (6-1, 3-0) was open this week.
Harlan County (2-6, 0-3) will play host to Perry Central in a key district showdown. The Black Bears must win for a chance to make the playoffs. The Commodores (5-3, 1-2) claimed a 34-8 victory over visiting Clay County (4-4, 1-3) on Friday.