Dragons turn focus to Lynn Camp as district title chase continues

Black Bears at home against Johnson Central


Darrin Spencer

Harlan’s Donovan Montanaro and Nate Montanaro teamed for a tackle in district action last week at WIlliamsburg. The 5-2 Dragons return to action Friday at home against Lynn Camp.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

After a hard-fought 26-16 loss last week at Williamsburg, the Harlan Green Dragons now need some help to stay alive for the District 8 title. Fist, however, they must take care of their business Friday as a heavy favorite against visiting Lynn Camp.
Despite the loss last week, the Dragons could still force a three-way tie for first if Pineville can knock off Williamsburg on Friday and the Dragons win against Lynn Camp on Friday and Pineville the following week.
“We have to win out, of course, to have a shot. We have to focus on the next game. All we can control is what we do,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “We have to put the Williamsburg game behind us. It’s possible there could be a three-way tie, but we can’t play the ‘what if’ game. We have to keep doing us and getting better.”
After posting an 0-10 mark last season that included two forfeits to close the year due to low numbers, the Wildcats have shown some signs of improvement this year with a 2-5 record going into Friday’s game. The Wildcats have wins over Jellico, Tenn., and Jackson County with losses to Frankfort, Clay County, Middlesboro, Cumberland Gap, Tenn. and Pineville.
“I think they are improved, definitely,” Perry said. “They have their numbers up. They play hard. They will mix it up with the run and the pass out of the Wing-T.”
Brody Lane has been the Wildcats’ leader on offense with 473 yards rushing on 88 carries. D.J. Wren is second with 77 yards on the ground. Peyton Wilson has completed seven of 22 passes for 105 yards. Lane is also the leader on defense with 43 tackles, almost double the total of Wilson’s 24 tackles and Wren’s 22 tackles.
“He’s a pretty good back. He’s been there a few years,” Perry said. “Their quarterback is fairly mobile with a decent arm. They also have some big kids, but they aren’t extremely athletic out of the quarterback and running back, but they play hard.”
Jayden Ward leads the Harlan ground attack with 708 yards through seven games, followed by Darius Akal with 512 yards and Donovan Montanaro with 231 yards. Montanaro has completed 14 of 35 passes for 288 yards.
R.W. Sanford and Dylan Middleton continue to lead on defense with 58 and 53 tackles, respectively. Sanford, however, is considered questionable for Friday’s game due to ankle injury suffered last week. Lineman Peyton Thompson is also questionable due to a shoulder injury.
Harlan County will face its toughest test of the season Friday against visiting Johnson Central. The 5-2 Golden Eagles have made it to the state finals each of the past six years and were the state runner-up last season and ranked eighth this year, according to the RPI numbers,
Sophomore tailback Zack McCoart leads a ground-oriented attack with 1,051 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns through seven games. Senior fullback Chase Priced has added 564 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Mason Lawson, a senior tailback, has added 414 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Logan Castle leads in tackles with 43, followed by Jesse McCoy with 40 tackles, including 10 for losses.
Junior tailback Thomas Jordan has led the 3-4 Black Bars with 742 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Jonah Swanner and James Ryan Howard are next with 265 and 251 yards rushing, respectively.
Senior linebacker Josh Sergent leads the HCHS defense with 75 tackles, followed by Dallas Sergent with 49, William Jones with 47 and Carter Howard with 46.