Middlesboro has found success against Harlan over the past several years. A 28-21 victory over the Green Dragons a year ago not only gave the Jackets their only win of the season, but it also derailed what was an undefeated season for Harlan at the time.
The Green Dragons are currently in a five-year drought against Middlesboro with their last victory over the Jackets coming in 2011. That year, Harlan defeated Middlesboro 48-42 in overtime.
Both teams are entering Friday’s game in a different situation than last season. While they are currently ranked in the top 10 in Class 1A, the Green Dragons have suffered one loss on the year — a 20-7 defeat to Bracken County.
Middlesboro, on the other hand, has picked up a win this year — a 23-16 victory over Pineville on Sept. 2. The team also came close to picking up a second victory over Paris last week.
Friday, fans will see two teams hungry for a win. Middlesboro is seeking their first multiple win season since 2014, and Harlan will be looking to defeat the Jackets for the first time since 2011.
Know the Green Dragons
It was a strong and potent rushing attack that powered Harlan last season. The team amassed 3,475 yards on the ground. The attack was led by the three-headed monster known as Kendal Brock, Nick Jarvis and Paul Stapleton.
Two of those players are gone from the team this year. Jarvis, who led the team in rushing yards last year with 1,095, graduated in the spring. Stapleton transferred to Harlan County, according to the KHSAA online roster listings.
Brock returns as the teams rushing touchdown leader. He amassed 18 touchdowns and 1,016 yards on 155 carries last season. He has continued the trend this year as he currently leads the team with 320 yards and seven scores on the ground.
John Brock and Joey Swanner have picked up the mantle to replace the other two running backs. Brock has rushed for 65 yards on 23 carries. Swanner has carried the ball 24 times for 165 yards and five touchdowns.
Another change for Harlan has come at the quarterback position, where Killian Ledford has moved in as the starter. He has thrown for 304 yards and one touchdown on 14 completions. He has also rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.
Caleb Adkins returns as the leading receiver for the team. He has tallied 156 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions this year.
On the defensive side of the ball, Swanner and Ledford lead the team in tackles. Swanner has tallied 27 tackles, while Ledford has 19. Thomas Morgan also has 19 tackles on the year.
Adkins leads the team in interceptions with three, while Ledford has recovered a team-high two fumbles thus far this season.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN