What started out as a competitive game Friday quickly went south for Harlan County as the visiting Black Bears lost to Bell County, 46-20. Heading into halftime, the Bobcats only held a two-touchdown lead. A quick touchdown in the third quarter put Harlan County within a possession.
The explosive Bell County offense took over the game to help the Bobcats pull away.
The Bell defense started the game out strong. Colby King fumbled on the first play of the Harlan County drive and Jordan Wombles recovered for the Bobcats.
It took Bell four plays to find the end zone. With 9:43 remaining in the first, Treyton Humfleet ran an 11-yard touchdown. The Kyle Lee extra point gave the Bobcats a 7-0 lead.
A three-and-out on the ensuing possession gave Bell possession. The Black Bear defense responded by forcing a fumble at the 36-yard line. Kennon Napier recovered the ball for HCHS.
Neither team could find any momentum for the remainder of the quarter.
On the opening possession of the second quarter, the Black Bears found the end zone behind the legs of Dylan Cornett. He capped the six-play drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 11:10 remaining in the half. Nathan Murray blocked the extra point to bring the score to 7-6.
On the ensuing possession, Harlan County forced Bell into a three-and-out. On fourth down, the Black Bears came within inches of blocking the punt after a low snap. The punt almost went into the end zone before a Bell County player stopped it at the 1.
The punt proved to be detrimental for HCHS. After an incomplete pass and a short gain by Cornett, the Black Bears faced a third-and-10 from their own 1. Jacob Branson fumbled the ball after being forced to scramble. Jacob Sutton recoveredand ran it into the end zone for the touchdown with 8:20 remaining in the half. The Lee extra point increased the Bobcat lead to 14-6.
After forcing the Black Bears to turn the ball over on downs, Bell capped a three-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown run from Humfleet with 4:25 remaining in the half. The missed extra point brought the score to 20-6 heading into halftime.
Harlan County cut into the lead on their first drive of the second half. The Bears capped a 10-play drive off with a 15-yard hook and ladder to Cornett for a touchdown with 6:22 remaining in the third. The Jordan Kelly extra point brought the score to 20-13.
The Bobcats began to pull away at that point. On the ensuing possession, the 10-play drive ended with a 1-yard Collett touchdown plunge with 1:14 remaining in the third.
On Bell’s first drive of the fourth, Chase Woolum scored on a 51-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 33-13. After an interception by Philpot, Humfleet capped a three-play drive with a 32-yard touchdown run up the middle. The extra point brought the score to 39-13 in favor of Bell.
On the next possession, Branson connected with Tyrese Simmons on a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut into the lead. The extra point made the score 40-20.
Woolum scored the final touchdown of the game with 2:56 remaining on a 52-yard run.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN