The Letcher County Central Cougars hope to regroup this week after their three-game winning streak was snapped by visiting Harlan County last Friday, 26-6.
The Cougars will remain home this coming Friday to take on North Laurel at 7:30 p.m.
Against Harlan County, the Black Bear defense sacked LCC quarterback Nick Sergent nine times and generated enough offense to hand the Cougars their first defeat in district play.
Harlan County won the coin toss and elected to receive. Running back Quintin Mickens had three carries for 25 yards in the drive, but LCC defensive lineman Triston Polly had a tackle for loss to force third and long. Then Christian Broderdorp sacked quarterback Jacob Branson to force a punt, which was downed at the LCC 17-yard line.
Cougar running back Quade Adams burst up the middle for a 28-yard run to take the ball into Harlan County territory. Three plays later, on fourth and six, Sergent was sacked by Black Bear linebacker Quintin Mickens to force a turnover on downs.
The Letcher Central defense forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Kyler Sturgill to give the Cougars excellent field position, but an interception gave Harlan County the ball at the LCC 10-yard line. On the next play Mickens ran the ball in for the touchdown on a draw play. The two-point conversion was no good to keep the score at 6-0 in favor of Harlan County.
Letcher Central quickly answered when on second and eight, Sergent broke the pocket and while rolling left found a streaking Tannar Lucas for a 63- yard touchdown. The two-point attempt failed, but LCC tied the game at 6-6 with 4:49 remaining in the first quarter.
A key Triston Polly sack on third down forced Harlan County to punt. Quade Adams carried the ball four times for 21 yards to start the LCC drive. However, the Cougars turned the ball over on downs after a fourth and short run was stuffed by the Harlan County defense.
On third and seven, the Black Bears’ Branson threw a bubble screen pass to Tyrese Simmons who sprinted down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown, giving Harlan County a 12-6 lead after another failed two-point conversion attempt.
LCC’s Logan Fisher then recovered an onside kick attempt by the Black Bears near midfield. Letcher Central went three and out, but the Garrett Sergent punt hit a Harlan County player in the back and was recovered by the Cougars at the Harlan County 22-yard line.
Mickens sacked Sergent for his third sack of the game to force a fourth and 14, and an incomplete pass on the next play gave the ball back to Harlan County.
After Branson hit Mickens on a pass after a play action fake for a 24-yard gain, LCC safety Leyton Polly had a tackle for loss on third down two plays later to force a Black Bear punt that was downed at the LCC 20-yard line. Still, the Cougars offense couldn’t mount a drive and Harlan County was ahead 12-6 at halftime.
Letcher Central received the second half kickoff and returned it to the 40-yard line. Consecutive sacks on second and third downs resulted in a LCC punt that was downed at the Harlan County 41- yard line.
On third and eight, Simmons caught a slant pass and cut it up the field for a 23-yard gain. Then wide receiver Devon Rodriquez got behind the defense after a play action fake and caught a 35-yard touchdown from Branson. The extra point was good to give Harlan County a 19-6 lead.
On the next series, Letcher Central went for it on fourth and two near midfield, but running back Tyler Isaacs was tackled just short of the line.
The Cougar run defense led by Avery Stamper then stuffed three consecutive Harlan County runs, but the Harlan County punt got a favorable roll and was downed at the LCC 4-yard line.
LCC went three and out and Harlan County started its next offensive possession at the LCC 27-yard line after the punt.
On third and 14, Mickens caught a pass in the flat and broke a tackle for a 20-yard gain. Then on third and goal from the 10-yard line, Branson faked a handoff on a sweep play and found tight end Elisha Smallwood open for the touchdown. The extra point made it 26-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Sergent came back to connect with Tannar Lucas on a wide receiver screen for a 16-yard gain to start the Cougar drive, after which Gage Isaacs caught a 10 yard pass on a stop route. However, LCC could get no farther and turned the ball over on downs.
With Harlan County in possession of the ball on third and three, Broderdorp and Triston Polly converged on Mickens behind the line of scrimmage to force another punt by the Black Bears.
With LCC now in possession, Gage Isaacs made an acrobatic catch on a 35-yard pass from Sergent to move the ball into Black Bear territory. Then on fourth and 10, Adams caught a 23-yard pass on a seam route to make it first and goal. Letcher Central couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone and Harlan County ran the clock out for a 26-6 victory.
Letcher Central fell to 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in district play after the loss.
The LCC offense could never get on track in the game due to the constant pressure Nick Sergent was under. Sergent finished the game completing eight passes on 26 attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Quade Adams ran tough the entire game and finished with 97 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for 25 yards. Tannar Lucas caught three passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Gage Isaacs had two receptions for 44 yards.
The defense played a spectacular game and held Harlan County to just 287 yards of total offense. Avery Stamper was the team leader with 15 tackles. Triston Polly controlled the front once again for LCC and had eight tackles, including two for loss, and also registered a sack.
Leyton Polly had eight tackles from the secondary and Christian Broderdorp had three tackles for loss.