One of the most successful middle school programs in southeastern Kentucky — New Harlan isn’t accustomed to being pushed around on the football field. However, that’s where the Patriots found themselves Thursday in a 28-6 loss to Knox County.
“We just got whipped. They just basically played simple football. It was man-on-man and they just whipped us tonight,” said New Harlan coach Chad Wood. “We were there to make plays. We have to go back to the drawing board and get to where we are tackling and being aggressive.”
Knox County opened the scoring when Jermel Carton went in for a 12-yard touchdown run to cap an impressive drive with 7:43 remaining in the second quarter. The two-point run was stopped and Knox led 6-0.
New Harlan quickly answered the score. Christian Hall tied the game at six with a 75-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff. The two-point run was unsuccessful and the score remained 6-6.
Hall’s return was a lone bright spot for the Patriots, as Knox closed the game with three straight touchdowns.
Carton put the Panthers back on top with a 34-yard touchdown run off the right side. Isaac Hubbard added the two-point run to make it 14-6.
Knox County added another score late in the first half. This time Carton broke loose for a 53-yard scoring run. Adam Renfro ran in the two-point try to push the lead to 22-6 with 1:26 remaining before the half.
Hubbard closed the scoring for Knox early in the second half. The fullback raced into the end zone from 28-yards out.
Harlan moved the ball deep into Knox County territory on multiple occassions, but many of the drives stalled.
“We moved the ball down the field and just couldn’t put that final punch in there. It seemed like a mishap would happen or miss a block or something like that would stall us,” Wood said. “We will get to work on Monday and get this thing straightened out.”
New Harlan (6-2) returns to action Tuesday at Stinnett.