The few Harrison County fans that braved the trip to Paintsville Friday night must have wondered one thing for sure. That would be if this is the eighth best team in 4A how good are the other seven?
The Golden Eagles ran over the Breds in every facet of the game Friday night en route to a 68-14 first round of the playoffs win where they scored the first five times they touched the ball.
Only 56 seconds were played before junior Jordan Young picked off a Robbie Stroub pass and took it 38 yards for the first Johnson Central score.
Ryan Burford’s first of six extra point kicks was good and the Golden Eagles led 7-0 before many of their fans had found seats.
The Breds were three-and-out on the next possession with senior Daniel Klapheke’s punt putting the home team back on their own 28-yard line.
Four plays later, Young rushed for a 72-yard touchdown to make the score 14-0 after Burford’s kick. Burford would rush for three touchdowns on the night in addition to his pass interception score to total 167 yards on six carries.
On the next Harrison County series, the Thorobreds were four-and-out as they tried to gain three yards on a fourth down fake punt.
The failed attempt gave the ball back to the Golden Eagles on the Harrison County 42-yard line.
It took only two plays for sophomore Daymion Belcher to put the ball into the end zone on a 37-yard run to make the score 21-0 after the point after.
Belcher would run for four touchdowns on the evening as he gained 229 yards on 10 carries.
Harrison County picked up its only first down of the first quarter in the next series as junior Zach Royce caught a Stroub pass for a 15-yard gain to take the ball to the Thorobreds 38-yard line.
The drive stalled there and Klapheke boomed the punt down to the Golden Eagles’ 21. This time, on a third down play, Belcher ran for a 66-yard touchdown gallop and Lorenzo Antigano made his only point after to make the score 28-0, still in the first period.
After another Thorobred three-and-out, Johnson Central picked up three more first downs to end the perioda 28-0.
On the first play of the second period, Young scored again on the 26-yard run and the score was 34-0 after the extra point was blocked.
The Breds’ next possession was another score for Johnson Central as Matt Hall recovered a Stroub fumble and carried it six yards to pay dirt for a 41-0 lead after the point-after was made again by Burford.
Harrison County then took the ball on its own 27 and marched down the field for a score with six minutes left in the half.
Brandon Morris carried the ball 29 yards, Zach Royce for 20 and Stroub gained 22 as the Breds held the ball on a 10-play 72-yard march for their first score.
Stroub ran it in from the 12-yard line for the score. Klapheke’s kick was good to make the score 41-7 with a little more than three minutes to play in the half.
Johnson Central marched right back down the field covering 65 yards in five plays for the next score.
Senior J.D. Davis ran the ball 47 yards for the score to make it 47-7 as again the Breds blocked the point-after.
Harrison County ended the half with another extended drive as they took the clock down to 15 seconds before scoring on a 6-yard pass from Stroub to Royce.
This was a nine-play drive and the Klapheke point-after made the half time score 47-14.
Johnson Central returned from the half time intermission with its starters still on the field and scored on its first three possessions for a running clock which shortened the second half considerably.
On offense, the Thorobreds moved the ball against the Golden Eagles but were unable to score leaving Johnson County with a 68-14 loss and the season over.
The Thorobreds ended the season with a 1-10 record while Johnson Central improved to 9-2.
The Golden Eagles advance to host the Colonels of Covington Catholic (8-3) in Friday’s second round of the playoffs.
The statistics for Friday’s game were as lopsided as the score as Johnson Central picked up 494 total yards while Harrison County gained 196.
Morris led the Thorobreds runners with 66 yards; Royce had 44 and Stroub 37.
Senior Shane Jennings carried one time but did not gain any yardage.
Royce caught four passes for 45 yards and Brock Jenkins grabbed one for seven yards.
Penalties were not an issue as Johnson Central had three for 20 yards and Harrison County had five for 25 yards.
The Thorobreds did fumble seven times, but lost only one.
Coach Jim Carr was subdued but realistic after the game.
“This is a very good high school football team,” he said, referring to Johnson Central. “I told the players before, after the Highlands game and again tonight, that having a program like this is our goal. We will begin right away working toward next year and reaching this goal.”