Harlan County lost a lead and then regained it, all in the fourth quarter, on Monday as the Black Bears closed their junior varsity schedule with a 22-16 win over visiting Bell County.
Bell grabbed an early 8-0 with a 60-yard touchdown pass on the opening play.
Harlan County answered with a 20-yard touchdown run by Xavier Simmons. The two-point attempt failed as the Bobcats led 8-6.
The Bears put together a nice drive in the second quarter with runs from Morgan Day and Simmons. Dalton Johnson found a hole and broke through two defenders for a 15-yard touchdown run. Simmons added the two-point conversion.
Harlan County’s defense held for the rest of the quarter as the half ended with the Bears leading 14-8.
Neither team was able to score again until Bell capitalized on a turnover. The Bobcats went in from the 4 on a fourth-and-two play. The Bobcats went up 16-14 after the two-point conversion.
Harlan County was able to convert a fourth-and-12 play with a big catch from Chris English for a gain of 15. Facing a third and 12 with 2:30 left in the game, quarterback Colby Cochran found A.J. Simmons for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Day added the two-point conversion to put the Bears up by six with two minutes to play.
The HCHS defense held strong again in Bell’s final drive with Simmons intercepting a pass with 1:20 left.
“Our kids could’ve hung their heads when Bell went up in the fourth but we kept fighting and it paid off with a victory,” Harlan County coach Matt Duckworth said. “These kids have played hard all year and improved with each game. Coach (Jeff) Day has done an excellent job with this defense, and it really showed tonight.”
Harlan County finished the season with a 3-3 record.