Football success, it has often been said, begins in the trenches, and the New Harlan Patriots are proving that to be true in a 5-1 start this season
The Patriots dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage Thursday, rolling to a 35-0 win over visiting Bell County.
New Harlan found success on offense by running straight up the middle behind guards Kobe Burkhart and Jordan Steele and center Brett Roark.
“They only had two or three there, so we decided to run between the tackles,” New Harlan coach Jon Reynolds said. “I’ll take my chances with our guys in that situation.”
The New Harlan defensive front, led by Steele, Hunter Helton and Roark and outside linebackers Hunter Blevins and Josh Turner, made running the ball all but impossible for the Bell County offense.
“We were pretty physical up front,” Reynolds said. “It’s pretty hard to control those three up front and the outside linebackers. We did a good job against the run.”
New Harlan fumbled away its first possession after Cody Clayborne and Blevins each picked up first down, but the Patriots were soon back in business after Turner picked off a pass and returned it to the Bell 14. Matt Brown ran 13 yards on the next play, then Turner went in from the 1 with 1:24 left in the opening quarter. Turner also went in for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Brown raced 50 yards to set up the second New Harlan touchdown, a 6-yard run by Brown on the next play. Steele’s extra point pushed the lead to 15-0 with 5:50 left in the first half.
A 60-yard run by Brown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half pushed the Patriots’ lead to 21-0.
Bell almost took the ensuing kickoff back, but Burkhart was able to push the runner out of bounds at the 30. Blevins recovered a fumble a couple of plays later.
Turner and Brown followed with big runs before Turner went the final 10 yards for a touchdown. Steele’s extra point gave New Harlan a 28-0 lead with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
Turner closed the scoring for the Patriots with a 65-yard touchdown run. Steele’s extra point closed the scoring and started a running clock with 35 seconds to play in the period.
New Harlan will play host to Evarts on Tuesday and close the regular season on Sept. 19 at Corbin.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134