Containing Partin will be Bears’ top priority in matchup against Knox Central


Scott Warren

Knox Central quarterback Steve Partin has rushed for 504 yards and nine touchdowns to help the Panthers start the season with three straight wins. The Panthers will play host to Harlan County on Thursday at Union College.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

There’s no secret what the Harlan County Black Bears have to do if they are to knock off an unbeaten Knox Central squad on Thursday at Union College.
But knowing they have to contain quarterback Steve Partin and actually getting it done are two entirely different things.
Partin, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior who has clearly spent a lot of time in the weight room and doesn’t mind punishing defenders, has been a workhorse for the 3-0 Panthers thus far with 504 yards rushing and nine touchdowns on 58 carries, along with 306 yards passing. He had 33 of the Panthers’ 42 carries in a 32-28 win two weeks ago against Bell County and has over three times as many carries as any other player on the Central roster.
“He can run and throw it,” Harlan County coach Amos McCreary said. “He’s a big, strong kid. We have to gang tackle him. We have to get a lot of people to the ball.”
The Panthers’ top receivers are both basketball standouts with junior tight end Gavin Chadwell, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, has 18 catches for 177 yards. Senior receiver K.T. Turner has seven catches for 128 yards.
“They have some big-time players. Their skilled kids are probably as good as we’ll see all year,” McCreary said. “Turner is a big kid and they just throw it up there to him. The tight end is a specimen.
Cayden Collins, a junior linebacker, has led the Knox defense with 27 tackles. Turner is second with 18.
Thomas Jordan has led the Harlan County offense with 217 yards rushing. James Ryan Howard has added 126 yards on the ground, just ahead of Josh Sergent with 107 yards and Jonah Swanner with 103.
The Bears’ lack of a passing attack cost them last week in a 28-8 loss at Whitley County as the Colonels limited HCHS to only 56 yards rushing on 35 carries and dropped HC to 1-2 on the season. Ethan Rhymer completed two of eight passes for 12 yards and was intercepted twice.
“We can’t go down there and make a lot of mistakes,” McCreary said. “We have to be able to hold on to the football and get some offense going. It will be hard to slow them down defensively.”