It was only last season that Harlan was ousted from the second round of the Class A playoffs by Williamsburg after defeating the Yellow Jackets in the regular season. This time it will be the Green Dragons looking to return the favor.
“The kids remember we lost the game early in the season last year and came back and won late. We know they are looking to do the same thing,” said Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron. “Coach (J.B.) Donahue has done a great job with his team, and we know he will have them ready to come down here and play.”
The Green Dragons turned in one of their worst performances of the season in a 36-0 loss at Williamsburg early in the season. Harlan was out-gained by nearly 300 yards in that contest.
“The boat they were in last year is the boat we are in this year. We just have to play better. They have an impressive football team. We just want to go down there and make them prove we are better than them,” Donahue said. “I think the kids are focused on trying to prove that we are better than we were on Aug. 24.”
An aggressive Williamsburg defense limited Harlan to just 127 yards of total offense in the regular season meeting. Capitalizing on that aggression could be the key to an improved offensive effort on Friday.
“We have to try to use their aggression against them. If we can protect Ty, I think we can make some plays in the passing game. We have to create some seems to run the ball in,” Donahue said. “The main thing is we have to hold on to the football and keep it away from them.”
The Yellow Jackets have been nearly unstoppable all season on the offensive side of the ball. Williamsburg is third in the state in scoring at 45.5 points per game.
“Defensively, we have to play to get back in the huddle. They are going to make some plays, but we can’t let them have the wide-open big play,” Donahue said. “We have to try to make them earn their way down the field.”
Williamsburg’s offensive attack is led by the state’s leading passer in Dalton Sizemore. The junior signal-caller has completed 162 passes for 32 touchdowns and 2,453 yards. Sizemore’s top targets are sophomores Skyler Griffith and Corey Shelton. The duo is third and fourth in the state in receiving with over 100 receptions and 1,800 yards between them.
“Dalton is very strong mentally and physically. He is one of the stronger kids on the team. He is a good team leader and is very unselfish. Dalton is also really fortunate to have that some talent around him to make plays,” Herron said. “Offensively, we are a believer that defenses always have to give up something. They can’t stop everything. We just try to take what’s there and make plays that are given to us.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.