WIth five Patriots scoring touchdowns, New Harlan bounced back from its first loss with a 51-26 win Saturday at Wayne County in seventh- and eighth-grade football action.
“Today’s game showed how our kids can react after a tough loss,” New Harlan coach Jon Reynolds said. “We are very proud of these young men and the way they reacted to another tough challenge.”
Quarterback Cody Clayborne capped a 40-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
After Wayne took a brief 8-6 lead, New Harlan bounced back as Josh Turner rumbled 50 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Hunter Blevins.
Wayne built a two-point lead, at 14-12, with a touchdown, but Turner quickly answered with a 54-yard kickoff return to put the Patriots up 18-14.
A 35-yard touchdown run by Matt Brown and Turner’s two-point conversion extended the Patriots’ lead to 26-14.
Wayne cut the deficit to 26-20 at halftime. New Harlan threatened before the break on a couple of long runs by Brown, but the drive stalled.
Brown picked off a Wayne pass early in the third quarter, then scored on a 47-yard run for a 32-20 lead.
Linebacker Kobe Burkhart added a defensive score for New Harlan when he returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown.
A 62-yard run by Blevins followed by Jordan Steele’s extra point extended the Patriots’ lead to 45-20.
Wayne scored and threatened to add another touchdown before Brown came up with his second interception of the game. Brown kept a drive alive with an 18-yard run on fourth down. Clayborne capped the drive with a touchdown run.
Brown recovered an onside kick to close out the game.
“Hunter Blevins, Josh Turner and Matt Brown all carried the ball several times in today’s game, dividing the load,” Reynolds said. “Our (defensive) line of (Brett) Roark, Steele and (Hunter) Helton controlled the line of scrimmage tonight, helping to control the rushing game of Wayne County. Kobe Burkhart and Gavin Ewald helped control the outside running game by following assignments. Turnovers and time of possession played a big factor in the outcome of today’s game. We also recovered two onside kicks. Tyler Cole defended the pass very well today, helping to limit the number of passes that Wayne County could complete. It was a great team effort.”
New Harlan (4-1) returns to action Thursday at home against Bell County.