Harlan will make the trip to Virginia this Friday in search of its first win of the season. The Green Dragons will take on winless Rye Cove with an opportunity to build momentum before district play begins next week.
“Just getting a win in the win column would be big for momentum,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “It would get us started on the right track, and be a big boost going into district play.”
Rye Cove enters the contest at 0-4, with losses to Virginia teams Holston, Clintwood, Henry and Castlewood. The Eagles will line up in the Wing-T on offense. Eric Hill, a 5-11, 160-pound junior, is handling quarterback duties while senior Brady Palmer (5-9, 170) and junior Dakota Hood (5-5, 166) are the running backs. James Kern (5-10, 200, Sr.) and Greg Herron (5-5, 135, Jr.) will see time at the fullback spot.
“They run a lot of misdirection and their quarterback is a very athletic kid. They are primarily a running team and run the ball hard,” Donahue said. “It will be really important to stop the run. We have to be able to tackle them and get a lot of people to the football. We are getting kids in position to make plays, we just have to be able to tackle in the open field.”
Harlan will look to get its ground game back on track after being limited to just 42 yards rushing in a loss at Shelby Valley last week.
“We are just trying to get back in control on the line of scrimmage. We didn’t play well up front last week. We have to get in control of the line and run the football with success,” Donahue said.
Rye Cove will likely attempt to slow the Dragons’ run game with an eight-man front. Donahue said Rye Cove will line up in either a 6-3 or 6-2 defense on most plays. The linebacking corps is manned by Palmer, Hood and Cory Manness (5-10, 170, So.), but sophomore Jacob Boyd (5-9, 144) is the only experienced player back in the secondary at cornerback.
“We have to be able to create a crease in an eight-man front and hopefully have success throwing football,” Donahue said.
Harlan could have as many as three players take snaps under center o Friday. Donahue said Tye Patrick, Cory Chorak and Tanner Parks have all seen time at the position in practice this week.
Rye Cove high school is just over one hour from Harlan, but Friday’s contest will mark the first meeting between the two teams.
“We have never played them before. Virginia has good high school football, and it will be a different environment over there,” Donahue said. “They do a lot of different things that may seem minute, but we have to make sure we cover all that before we go over there.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.