The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets took off in the second half and never looked back, beating the Union, Va., Bears by a score of 27-6.
“I feel great,” said Middlesboro head coach Randy Frazier. “We feel like this is probably the best team we’ve played all year.”
“We feel really good with the way we bounced back, and our kids fought,” said Frazier. “They’re (Union) two platooning and here we are playing probably 14 kids and they fought for four quarters. They deserve all the credit for the way they fought tonight.”
The Yellow Jackets scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to pull away. All three of those touchdowns came from Seth Barton. He recovered a fumble and took it to the house for a touchdown and had two rushing touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets were able to move the ball well on the ground and through the air. Ryan Pittman had the most touches on the ground for Middlesboro. He ran the ball 22 times for 113 yards. Barton had 38 yards rushing on nine attempts for two touchdowns.
Through the air, Donnie Foister, who was playing for the injured Major Edwards, had 14 completions on 18 attempts and one touchdown. He threw the ball for 126 yards.
“Donnie played some quarterback for us last year and he’s just an athlete,” said Frazier. “He gets it (the football) out of his hands quick. He’s done a great job for the last two weeks.”
Union did most of their damage on the ground. The team rushed for 204 yards.
“They’re a great running football team,” said Frazier. “We felt like that’s what they wanted to do even though they had those receivers out there. It’s a real testament to our secondary, the way they played.”
Middlesboro got on the board first late in the second quarter. With 1:01 remaining, the Yellow Jackets completed a 15 play drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Foister to Cole Frazier. The extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Bears would have two big plays that took them into Yellow Jacket territory. The first was an 18-yard pass from Bryce Spears to Noah Davis, which took Union down to the Middlesboro 43-yard-line.
On the next play, Mekyah Davis broke free on a 31-yard run to put the Bears on the Yellow Jacket 12-yard-line. The Bears would kick a field goal with 4.8 seconds remaining in the half to bring the score to 7-3 going into halftime.
Union would draw closer to Middlesboro on the opening possession of the second half. The Bears were able to drive inside the Middlesboro 16-yard-line behind the legs of Jake McCray. The Yellow Jacket defense would be able to hold the Bears to a field goal at 8:26 in the third quarter, closing the gap to 7-6 in favor of Middlesboro.
Union’s next possession created the change of momentum in the game. After driving the ball inside Yellow Jacket territory, Davis would fumble the ball and Barton would take it all the way back for a touchdown with 5:02 remaining in the third. The extra point brought the score to 14-6.
Middlesboro would score again on their opening drive of the fourth quarter. After a 15-play drive, Barton would punch the ball into the end zone on a 9-yard run, increasing their lead to 21-6 with 7:28 remaining in the game.
The final touchdown of the game would come following a Barton interception, which gave Middlesboro possession of the ball on the Union 7-yard-line. Barton would run 7-yards for the touchdown, bringing the final score to 27-6.
Middlesboro (5-1) will host Lexington Christian (1-5) in week.
“I told the kids…we’re 0-0 right now,” said Frazier. “Those first five games prepared us for next week.”
Union (4-2) will play at Lee High (3-2) in Virginia next week.