Middlesboro’s winless streaked continued on Friday as the Yellow Jackets lost 35-19 against South Laurel. The loss dropped Middlesboro to 0-4 on the season and allowed the Cardinals to pick up their first win of the year.
This season marks the first time Middlesboro has lost at least three straight heading into game five since the 2009 season. That season, Middlesboro lost three straight to Green County, Letcher County Central and Knox Central before picking up a victory over Lee County, Virginia. The Yellow Jackets went on to advance to the second round of the playoffs that year.
The Middlesboro defense had another tough night stopping the rushing attack. South Laurel tallied 296 yards rushing on 47 attempts. Matt Harp led the way with 204 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
The defense also allowed Adrian Fultz to complete four passes for 107 yards and one touchdown. Jared Grubb was the individual who caught the touchdown reception.
The Jacket defense also had two interceptions on the night, while Logan Capps returned a fumble for a touchdown late in the game.
The Cardinals scored on their first possession of the game. Following a 10-play drive, Grubb scored a 23-yard touchdown. The extra point gave South Laurel a 7-0 lead with 7:26 remaining in the first.
The Jackets were able to drive down the field on their first possession of the game, but came up short. After taking the ball down to the Cardinal 30, Middlesboro turned the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass from Chase Elliott.
South Laurel took advantage. Grubb capped the following drive off with a 35-yard touchdown reception from Fultz with 1:13 remaining in the quarter. The extra point increased the Cardinal lead to 14.
A South Laurel turnover in the second quarter helped the Jackets score their first points of the game. After recovering a fumble on the Cardinal 42, Elliott connected with Anthony Jackson on a 48-yard touchdown reception. The extra point brought the score to 14-7 with 8:39 remaining in the half.
Jackson intercepted the ball on South Laurel’s next possession to give Middlesboro a chance to tie the game heading into halftime. The Jackets took over at the Cardinal 33. The Middlesboro offense couldn’t get anything going and turned the ball over on downs.
South Laurel increased their lead to 21-7 after Harp scored on a 2-yard plunge with seconds remaining in the half.
The Jackets cut into the South Laurel lead on their second possession of the third quarter. Elliott once again connected with Jackson for a 27-yard touchdown with 3:19 remaining in the third to bring the score to 21-13.
The Middlesboro defense stepped up on the Cardinals’ next possession. After returning the kickoff 60 yards, the game was delayed due to weather. When the game resumed, Fultz fumbled the ball. Capps recovered and took it 75 yards for a touchdown.
After failing to convert the two-point conversion, the Jackets trailed 21-19 with 1:35 remaining in the quarter.
From that point on, it was all South Laurel. The Cardinals scored two more times to bring the final to 35-19.
South Laurel (1-3) will host Leslie County (3-0) on Friday. Middlesboro (0-4) will travel to play Paris (4-0).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN