The Letcher County Central Cougars (4-3) must regroup quickly from last Friday’s disappointing 45-35 loss to rival Harlan County. The Cougars will be in London Friday, where they will take on unbeaten district foe North Laurel High School. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Against Harlan, the Cougars were dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball as Bears runningback Dylan Cornett rushed for five touchdowns. Cornett had only three touchdowns the entire year coming into the contest. The LCC offense was tackled for loss on a season high 15 plays including quarterback Nick Sergent being sacked six times.
Harlan County got the ball to start the game and a Colby King catch on first down from quarterback Jarett Ford gained 13 yards to move the ball to midfield. Then on second and two, receiver Tyrese Simmons caught a slant pass for a nine-yard gain. Once in the red zone, LCC linebacker Isaiah Cornett recovered a fumble to stop the scoring threat.
The Letcher Central offense went backwards on three consecutive plays and the Cougar punt was downed at the LCC 29 yard line.
LCC got the ball back quickly when the fourth down pass by Ford went incomplete for a turnover on downs.
Jaylyn Williams capped a six play, 77 yards scoring drive with a 36-yard touchdown run around the left side of the line. A bad snap on the point after attempt kept the score at 6-0 with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
Simmons returned the kickoff 42-yards into LCC territory. On third and five, Dylan Cornett took a quick handoff for a 30-yard gain to the eight yard line. The Cougar defense held Harlan County out of the end zone for the third consecutive possession, forcing a Jordan Kelly 23 yard field goal attempt. The kick split the uprights to cut the LCC lead to 6-3.
On third and two, Williams busted a 34-yard rush for a first down but the offense could move no further and were forced to punt. Christian Hall had a 34-yard punt return for the Bears.
Dylan Cornett broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. The extra point gave Harlan County a 10-6 lead with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Facing a third and five, quarterback Nick Sergent rolled left and hit receiver Tannar Lucas for a six-yard gain and first down conversion. Then Williams rumbled for a 44-yard gain. Facing first and goal from the two yard line, Williams got stuffed on four consecutive runs to turn the ball over on downs at the Harlan County one yard line.
After gaining a first down, Tannar Lucas made the play of the game for the Cougars. Lucas picked off a Ford pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Quade Adams muscled his way into the end zone on the two-point conversion to make the score 14-10 LCC.
After back to back punts Harlan County got the ball at the LCC 43 yard line for one more chance to score before halftime. Cornett gained 11 yards on first down. Then on fourth and nine, Ford dropped back to pass and scrambled for a 20-yard gain. An intentional grounding penalty on Ford moved the ball back to the LCC 26 yard line. Colby King caught a 22-yard pass on a seam route and Harlan County called a timeout to attempt a field goal. LCC jumped offside on the field goal attempt and Harlan County decided to go for the touchdown after the ball was moved to the two yard line. Cornett got the handoff and barely crossed the end zone for the touchdown as time expired in the first half. The extra point gave Harlan County a 17-14 lead at the break.
The LCC offense went three and out. The punt went only 19 yards to give Harlan County great field position at the LCC 45 yard line.
One play later Dylan Cornett broke three tackles on his way to a 37-yard touchdown run. The extra point made the score 24-14 Harlan County.
On second and 16, Sergent stepped up in pocket and threw a frozen rope to Lucas for a 21-yard gain. After taking a sack, Sergent connected with Lucas for a 60-yard touchdown strike. The extra point was blocked but LCC cut the lead to 24-20 with 7:15 left in third quarter.
Avery Stamper made back to back tackles to force a third and eight. Ford took the snap and scrambled for a 41-yard gain. On fourth and one, Harlan County went for it and converted on a quarterback sneak. Ford scored on a quarterback keeper from two yards out and the Kelly extra point made the score 31-20.
The LCC offense answered quickly with an aerial assault. Lucas caught a 15-yard pass. Then Sergent was flushed from the pocket and dumped a pass off to Williams who broke two tackles on his way to a 44-yard touchdown. The score was 31-28 after Sergent found Lucas in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Colby King came in motion on second and 15, took the handoff and gained 17 yards around the right side. On fourth and two, Cornett took the handoff and gained six yards into the LCC red zone. Ford had lots of room to run on next play and fumbled as he was going into the end zone. The fumble was recovered by the Cougars and returned to the LCC 34 yard line.
Williams had a 23-yard rush on the first play of the drive. After a personal foul penalty made it third and 17, Sergent rolled out of the pocket and connected with Lucas for a 24-yard gain. On third and long, Colby King intercepted the pass in the end zone to stop the drive.
Dylan Cornett gained 19 yards on third and 13. Letcher Central committed a face mask penalty at the end of the play to move the ball into LCC territory. Next play, Cornett went 48 yards for his fourth touchdown of the game to make it 38-28.
The Cougars started at its own nine yard line. On second down, Isaiah Tyree caught a pass for a 17-yard gain. Facing fourth and 13, Lucas made a nice grab on a pass for a 14-yard gain and just enough yardage for a first down. Then Lucas gained 24 yards on a swing pass to the Harlan County nine yard line. Williams scored on the next play on a running play up the middle. Dustin Holbrook made score 38-35 after the extra point was good with 2:21 left in the game.
Harlan County recovered the onside kick. On the first play of the possession, Cornett took the handoff and scampered for a 42-yard gain down the right sideline. Cornett scored two plays later from one yard out. The extra point made the final score 45-35.
The Cougars were forced to turn to the passing game and freshman Nick Sergent had his best game of the season, completing 14 passes on 23 attempts for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Tannar Lucas was his favorite target, catching nine passes for 171 yards and a score. Lucas also returned an interception for a touchdown. Jaylyn Williams gained 177 yards rushing on 22 carries with two touchdowns and also had a 44-yard touchdown catch. Isaiah Tyree had three receptions for 43 yards.