Black Bears claim junior varsity win over Middlesboro


John Henson

Harlan County freshman running back/receiver Jayce Brown ran for 45 yards on three runs in the third quarter of a junior varsity game Monday against Middlesboro. The Black Bears won 8-6.

A Harlan County offense that missed numerous scoring opportunities due to penalties and turnovers got a lift from its defense when it counted most Monday in a junior varsity game against visiting Middlesboro.
Gunner Burkhart broke up a scoreless game when he picked off a pass deflected by Chance Sturgill and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown with 4:31 left. Burkhart added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead on the way to an 8-6 victory.
Middlesboro scored on a long pass with 3:06 left after the Bears went with several of their reserves. Ryan Coots and Gage Bailey combined to make the stop on the two-point conversion as the Bears stayed on top.
Bailey led the HCHS offense in the first half with a 25-yard run on one drive and a leaping 30-yard catch on a pass from Burkhart on another, but the Bears were unable to score either time.
Jayce Brown had three straight first-down runs in the third quarter in another drive that ended without points, this one due to a fumble.
The Harlan County defense came up with several big plays, including a fumble recovery by Blake Short in the third quarter and a tackle for a loss by Jamison Wilkinson in the fourth quarter.

Freshman running back Gage Bailey led the Harlan County offense on Monday in the Black Bears’ 8-6 junior varsity win over Middlesboro. (John Henson)
Harlan County’s Gunner Burkhart and Hayden Maggard pursued a Middlesboro runner in junior varsity action Monday. Burkhart scored on a 31-yard interception return in the Bears’ 8-6 win. (John Henson)