Much like the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters, the McCreary Central Raiders played their Senior Night role of the hapless opponent to perfection Friday as Harlan dominated from the start on the way to a 56-6 victory.
The Green Dragons scored on their first six possessions, needing only 22 offensive plays to starting a running clock midway through the second quarter.
Senior fullback Nick Jarvis was one of several Dragons with big games, scoring the first three times he touched the ball for 83 yards on three carries. He finished with a team-high 89 yards on six carries,
“It was a good script for Senior Night,” said Harlan coach J.B. Donahue. “It was a big night for Nick and our seniors. It’s a great group of seniors and a good way for them to end their regular season careers.”
The Harlan defense was also in control throughout, giving up only 71 yards of offense and three first downs.
Defense started the blowout as Jarrett McKenzie picked off a Hunter Jones pass one minute into the game and started the first Harlan scoring drive. Matt Bailey went 27 yards to start the offensive series, which ended when quarterback Tanner Parks found senior end Dalton Lay, who dodged a McCreary defender to complete a 7-yard touchdown play. Kilian Ledford hit the first of six extra points in the first half to put the Dragons up 7-0 with 9:08 left in the opening quarter.
Jarvis had the first of his three TD runs with 6:40 to play in the opening quarter, running over at least half of the McCreary defense on his way to the end zone. Ledford’s extra point made it 14-0.
Brandon Troxell spoiled the shutout when he found a crease on the ensuing kickoff and took it back 85 yards for a touchdown.
Harlan immediately went back to work on offense as Noah Busroe had a catch for 19 yards and Kendal Brock had a run for 11 to set up a 19-yard touchdown run by Jarvis.
Jarvis went 31 yards for a touchdown the next time he touched the ball. Ledford’s extra point pushed the lead to 28-6 with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Paul Stapleton and Brock each had runs for first downs before Brock went in from the 5 on the first play of the second quarter. Ledford’s extra point made it 35-6.
Stapleton went 9 yards for a touchdown to cap a five-play, 37-yard drive after a nice punt return by Busroe. Ledford’s extra point started the running clock in a game that took only 91 minutes to play.
The Dragons scored twice in the second half, a 21-yard run by Troy Barton with 4:10 left in the third quarter and a 12-yard run by McKenzie with 9:35 to play in the final period. Ledford had a two-point conversion after the Barton touchdown when he retrieved a high snap and beat the defense to the corner of the end zone.
Harlan, the champions of District 7 in Class A, finished its best regular season of the century with an 8-2 record.
“I still feel like we let two get away, but that’s OK,” Donahue said. “We’ll deal with the hand we’re dealt. I’m tickled to death with this group of kids. They will come out with a first-place seed and can play at home in the playoffs for at least three weeks.”
McCreary Central, a 3A school that doesn’t participate in district competition, finished the season at 2-8.
The Green Dragons will play host to Jenkins in a first-round playoff game on Friday.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134