2017-10-04 / Sports

Tough North Laurel team next for winless Cougars

By DEREK BARTO

Letcher Central fell to 0-7 after a 54-6 defeat at Harlan County in the second district game of the season. LCC could never find a rhythm on offense and couldn’t handle the speed of the highpowered Black Bears offense.

Letcher Central received the opening kickoff at its own 20- yard line after a touchback. The Cougars were forced to punt after a 3 and out.

Harlan County used a play action fake on the first offensive snap. Quarterback Colby Cochran found receiver Devon Rodrigues all alone for a 53-yard touchdown. The extra point gave Harlan County a quick 7-0 lead.

Hunter Campbell returned the kick 29 yards to give LCC decent field position. On the first play of the drive, Campbell took a handoff for a 13-yard gain around the left side of the line. Then quarterback Nick Sergent completed a pass to Kalin Branham for a 7-yard gain. On the next play LCC fumbled on a run up the middle that was scooped up by defensive tackle Ethan Baird who returned it 51 yards for the score. The extra point sailed through the uprights to increase the Black Bear lead to 14-0.

Sergent used a nice play action fake to connect with Kealan Lucas for a 12-yard gain. Two plays later, a late hit on a Sergent scramble gave LCC a first down near midfield. The drive ended when a 4th-and-1 run was stuffed in the backfield for a turnover on downs.

Harlan County receiver Tyrese Simmons took a swing pass and outran the defense for a 43-yard touchdown which made it 21-0 after the point after was good.

Campbell started the LCC drive with a 7-yard run. Then Kaleb Mullins had a tough 8-yard run. Two plays later, facing a 3rd and 11, Sergent scrambled to the left and gained just enough yardage for the first down. The drive stalled near midfield and the subsequent punt was shanked out of bounds pretty close to the line of scrimmage.

On the first play of the second quarter Harlan County went for it on 4th and 1. Running back Quintin Mickens patiently waited for a hole to open and gained 6 yards for the conversion. On the next play, Mickens used his speed to get outside and gain 29 yards that led to a Mickens 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good to make the score 28-0.

After another LCC punt, Rodrigues caught a short pass and took it in for a 21-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion try was no good to keep the lead at 34-0.

Harlan County tacked on one more touchdown before the break on a 48-yard pass from Cochran to Jacob Ward to make the score 41-0 in favor of Harlan County and by rule a running clock for the rest of the game.

Letcher Central recovered an onside kick to start the second half. Campbell had a 9-yard run to get the drive started. Mullins gained a first down on the next play, but LCC was forced to turn the ball over on downs four plays later.

Christian Hall took a handoff up the middle for a 64-yard touchdown. The score was 47-0 after the extra point was no good.

Harlan County intercepted a pass on the second play of the next LCC possession.

The Black Bears drove the ball all the way down the field and scored on a 28-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 54-0.

Hunter Campbell took the ensuing kickoff and had an incredible return. Campbell looked like he was corralled by a host of defenders, but then broke out of the pack on his way to a 91-yard touchdown return. The two-point conversion was no good to make the final score 54-6.

Letcher Central never got anything going on offense the entire game and had less than 100 yards of total offense for the contest. The defense didn’t fare well either, but special teams did shine again with an onside kick recovery and a touchdown return on a kickoff by Campbell.

The Cougars will have to regroup quickly as they will travel to North Laurel this week to play the (5-2) Jaguars coached by Chris Larkey. Senior dual threat quarterback Drew McWhorter is the key to the offense and the Cougar defense will have to contain him if it wants any chance to win the contest. Senior running back Matt Sizemore is a power back that averages just over 100 yards rushing per game.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., Friday.

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