Green Dragons win shootout against Sayre


Chris Jones

Harlan senior tailback Jayden Ward broke into free for a big gain on Friday during the Green Dragons’ 50-42 win over visiting Sayre.


It was a game that went back and forth from the start to the exciting end with Harlan winning 50-42 to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Visiting Sayre scored a touchdown with 5:07 left in regulation to take a 42-38 advantage.
The Green Dragons used their running attack to fight back with a 10-play, 52-yard drive. Senior running back Jayden Ward had nine consecutive runs for a total of 48 yards. The Dragons had two penalties. With Harlan facing third-down-and-six from the nine, junior quarterback Donovan Montanaro kept the ball and went in for the TD, giving the Dragons a 44-42 edge.
Sayre got the ball on its own 48-yard line with 18 seconds to play. Sophomore quarterback Luke Pennington dropped back and released the ball into the hands of Harlan’s R.W. Sanford. The senior linebacker went around the right side and scored on a 58-yard interception return as time expired.
Ward, who was held to seven yards in the first half, ended the game with 134 yards on 25 carries. Darius Akal followed with 65 yards on eight rushes. The Dragons had 237 yards on 45 carries,
Montanaro completed both of his passes for 68 yards.
Pennington led Sayre with 10 of 18 passing for 169 yards. Brock Coffman had seven receptions for 128 yards.
The Spartans gained 121 yards on 24 rushes.
Coffman scored two touchdowns as Sayre opened the game with a 14-0 lead.
Akal scored on an 11-yard run as Harlan pulled within 14-6.
Brady Atkins was attempting to punt the ball, but the ball sailed over his head and the punter kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety.
Montanaro scored on a 1-yard keep early in the second quarter to even the game at 14-all.
Sayre fought back as Pennington connected on a 39-yard TD pass to Coffman. Atkins’ kick was good.
The Green Dragons needed four plays to score as Montanaro found Will Austin for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 3:05 to play before halftime. Ward added the two-point conversion as Harlan led 22-21.
Sayre used a nine-play, 60-yard drive to score as Pennington hit Charlie Slabaugh for a 7-yard touchdown as the Spartans went into the locker room ahead 28-22.
Harlan took the second-half kickoff and marched 51 yards on 10 plays with Ward capping the drive with a 3-yard TD run at the 5:48 mark. Ward’s conversion made it 30-28.
Sayre fought back three plays later as Pennington connected with Owen Murphy for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Atkins nailed his fifth extra point.
The Green Dragons started their next possession on the Sayre 38.
Ward once again carried the load with eight carries and scored from the 1 with 11:11 remaining. Ward’s conversion run made it 38-35.
The 3-2 Spartans closed their scoring six minutes later as Caden Jones added a 2-yarder.
Harlan returns to action Friday at Phelps (0-5). Sayre plays host to Williamsburg (3-1) on Friday.