Bears face tougher test in Week 2 against Johnson, Dogs


Kim Henson

Harlan County running back Thomas Jordan followed fullback Josh Sergent in the Black Bears season-opening win Friday over South Laurel. Harlan County returns to action Friday at home against Hazard.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

While a 43-8 win Friday over South Laurel was a satisfying way to open the 2022 after season after posting a 2-8 mark last fall, the Harlan County Black Bears and coach Amos McCreary know the real test awaits Friday.
A Harlan County defense that looked to be much improved will found out if they can stop a high-powered Hazard offense that beat them 48-24 last season.
“This will let us know a lot about where we are,” Harlan County coach Amos McCreary said. “We’re playing a very good football team that could possibly beat just about anybody on their schedule. I think they will just about as good as anybody we play except Johnson Central. They had a couple of kids who moved in — a linebacker and receiver. That’s made them pretty good. They like to throw (6-5 receiver Landon Smith) the ball.”
The Bulldogs bring back senior running back Max Johnson, who scored four touchdowns and ran for 147 yards on only five carries against HCHS last year. He scored a touchdown running and one each on a kickoff return, punt return and an interception.
“He’s a great player surrounded by some other very good players,” McCreary said. “The quarterback can run the ball and throw it. We’re going to have to make sure we’re doing that we’re supposed to do fundamentally. As soon as they find a place to attack they will hit you with it. We have to tackle well. The big boy is hard to bring down and everybody knows Johnson. The quarterback can run or pass.”
Thomas Jordan led the HCHS offense in the opener, rushing for 142 yards and three touchdowns to lead a 382-yard night as a team. James Ryan Howard added 80 yards and junior Jonah Swanner contributed 81 yards on only two carries. Senior fullback. Josh Sergent had 77 yards on five carries.
The Bears also had four interceptions in the win, one each by Gavon Spurlock, Swanner, Josh Sergent and Luke Kelly.

Hazard running back Max Johnson, pictured during the Bulldogs’ win Friday over Middlesboro, scored four touchdowns in last season’s victory against Harlan County. Johnson and the Bulldogs travel to Coal Miners Memorial Stadium on Friday. (Larry Robinson)