Harlan may have lost out on the opportunity to host a playoff game with last week’s loss at Pineville, but there’s still a lot on the line as the Green Dragons travel to Jenkins on Friday. While Harlan will be on the road when the Class A postseason begins, a win against the Cavaliers would likely mean the Dragons will avoid a trip to Williamsburg in their playoff opener.
“Getting a win and staying away from Williamsburg could be very big. A win would be a big momentum boost going into the playoffs,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “When you play as bad as we did (last week) you just have to forget that, learn your lessons and move on to the next one.”
The Dragons have reason to be confident as they travel to Jenkins in the district finale. Harlan has defeated Jenkins in each of the last five meetings, winning by an average of 39 points per game. HHS has shut out the Cavs three times during that stretch. Jenkins opened the 2013 regular season with a two-point victory over Phelps, but enters Friday’s contest as losers of seven straight.
“I hope (recent success) will give us some confidence. We just have to get our spirit back and play hard,” Donahue said. “They have lost some kids and are down a little bit, but they play hard. It is impressive to watch how hard they play.”
After allowing 249 yards rushing to Pineville, the Green Dragons will attempt to slow an offense that relies predominantly on the ground again this week.
Harlan will also rely on the ground game to move the ball offensively. The Green Dragons have been at their best when they move the ball through the run game this season. Getting the rushing attack back on track is a priority against Jenkins.
“We have to try to run the football, keep it away from them, have success finishing drives and put points on the board,” Donahue said.
The Green Dragons will attempt to quickly erase the memories of last week’s loss by getting off to a fast start against the Cavs.
“The last time we were over there they jumped out ahead. So going ahead would be a big momentum boost for us. It would be good to get some things going right early on,” Donahue said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.