Bears, Colonels battling injuries heading into Friday’s matchup


Kim Henson

Harlan County senior lineman Connor Blevins went after a Hazard runner in last week’s game. Blevins and the Bears will be back in action Friday at Whitley County.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

With both coming off losses last week, the Whitley County Colonels and Harlan County Black Bears have question marks about the health of their top playmakers going into Friday’s matchup in Williamsburg.
Harlan County lost both running back Thomas Jordan and receiver Jonah Swanner to injuries in the first half of the Bears’ 40-20 loss to visiting Hazard. Jordan scored in the second quarter to give the Bears a brief 8-7 lead, but with both of their big-play threats on the sideline in the second half they were unable to keep up with the Bulldogs and star running back Max Johnson and receiver Landon Smith.
Whitley is off to an 0-2 start after falling 21-8 to Perry Central in the opening week of the season and then losing 42-13 last week at Corbin. The Colonels have played without standout receiver Sam Harp in the first two games due to a reported cartilage tear in his knee that is expected to keep him out for several more weeks. Harp led the Colonels last season with 26 catches for 776 yards and 10 touchdowns, including seven catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-16 win at Harlan County. Whitley lost quarterback Caden Petrey, who passed for 222 yards against the Bears last year, to graduation. Junior running back Caden Rose, who ran for 119 yards at HCHS last year, has been limited to 20 yards through the Colonels’ first two games. Shane Parker, a freshman, has let Whitley thus far with 75 yards on 10 carries.
Junior Tye Hamblin has taken over as quarterback this season and has completed 10 of 27 passes for 175 yards, including five passes for 62 yards to 6-3 senior Bryson Potter.
“Their quarterback. Is a really good player. He can throw it and run it,” Harlan County coach Amos McCreary said. “We have to be cognitive of him for sure. They also have a good receiver (Bryson Potter) who is pretty good. They will give us a different look with the Wing-T. We’ve got to stop them from getting in the groove.”
McCreary said the status for both Jordan and Swanner was uncertain earlier in the week but added the coaching staff would be careful with both with district games coming up in.a few weeks.
Jordan has led the Bears thus far with 190 yards on 26 carries. James Ryan Howard and Josh Sergent have added 118 and 100 yards rushing, respectively. Junior quarterback Ethan Rhymer has completed six of 15 passes for 57 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Sergent leads the HCHS defense with 15 tackles, followed by William Jones with 12 and Carter Howard with 10.