One week after being unable to stop the Bracken County running game on the way to suffering their first loss of the season, the Harlan Green Dragons will be tested again Friday against Jackson County and senior tailback Myles Hurst.
Hurst, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, has rushed for 713 yards and eight touchdowns through the Generals’ first three games and has been the focus for the Harlan defense this week in practice.
“He’s as good a back as we’ll see all year,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “He’s strong and has some speed. He will carry it a lot for them. We will focus on him defensively.”
“Our offense is solid. Myles Hurst is a good player,” Jackson County coach Clay Dalton said. “He can run. He’s about a 4.5, 4.6 guy and is strong. He’s one of the top athletes we’ve had here, in all sports.”
Jackson County brings a 1-3 record into the game and is ranked 40th out of 41 teams in 3A in the Cantrall Ratings. After opening the season with a 52-0 win over Berea, the Generals dropped successive games to Pineville (58-26), Lynn Camp (49-28) and Pendleton County (41-20).
“We weren’t able to grind out first downs last week and keep the ball away from them. We have to do a better job of that,” Donahue said. “If we have the ball, then they don’t have it and can’t score.”
By looking at scores, it’s obvious that defense has been the biggest problem for the Generals.
“Our defense is struggling bad,” Dalton said. “We just don’t have enough speed on the back end. We’re trying to come up with some solutions. We know Harlan is a Wing-T team and can run the football. We have to stop them up front. Our defensive line is pretty good. The back side doesn’t have a lot of speed, and it’s killing us right now. Pendleton County’s quarterback gapped us pretty bad last week.”
Three sophomores have led the Jackson defense, end Reagan Bowman and linebackers Jeff Isaacs and Derek Dunn, along with senior tackle Solomon Isaacs.
Sophomore quarterback Isiah Baker has completed 31 of 81 passes for 586 yards and three touchdowns. Senior receiver Jamie Burkhart leads the team in receptions with 11 for 213 yards.
The Harlan offense has been led by running backs Kendal Brock and Joey Swanner and quarterback Kilian Ledford.
Linemen Thomas Morgan and Bryce Browning have led the Harlan defense, which was hurt last week when senior linebacker Tanner Parks was unable to play due to problems with pleurisy. Donahue said Parks is back in practice this week, but several other players, all reservers, are questionable for Friday’s game due to illness.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m..
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134