LOG MOUNTAIN — Middlesboro came on strong in the second half of Friday’s SEKC scrimmage as they outscored Pineville 21-7 at the SEKC Grid-O-Rama at Bell County.
The Jackets led 6-0 after the first half thanks to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Major Edwards to Austin Poindexter. That play was set up by a pair of 10-yard runs by Parker Uhl and a 24-yard catch and run by Poindexter.
However, the Mountain Lions were successful in driving the ball for most of the half. They picked up eight first downs to Middlesboro’s four and ran 39 plays to just 25 for the Jackets. Andrew Douglas ran the ball five times for 18 yards and Jamie Roan was 7-of-11 passing for 47 yards and also had a few nice runs on keeper plays. Tanner Mike led the Lions with four catches for 24 yards.
“Bart and Pineville have got a real good football team, they’re bigger than we are. Not taking anything away from them, but I felt like we didn’t come out like we should have came out,” Middlesboro coach Randy Frazier said. “First scrimmage and all I guess you should expect that, but I felt like we should have played harder in the first half. We missed a lot of tackles.”
Pineville’s first drive got as far as the Jacket 29, but Seth Barton sacked Roan for a loss of 12 yards and a delay of game penalty pushed them back. After a pair of incompletions, they had to punt.
“We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot and made some first scrimmage mistakes,” said Lion coach Bart Elam. “We racked up a bunch of yards. Ran the ball well and threw it pretty well, we just made some mistakes. We can clean those up and overall we’re happy with how we looked.”
After going three-and-out on their first series, Middlesboro held the Lions on downs and took over at the Pineville 40. From there Uhl and Poindexter had the big plays for the first score of the evening.
The Lions nearly answered. Starting at their own 30 they drove all the way down to the MHS 8 but were turned away. A false start penalty followed by an incompletion made it 3rd and goal from the 13. Roan was sacked back at the 22 by Cole Frazier and then another incompletion gave Middlesboro the ball back.
After the intermission the Jackets took control. They marched 70 yards on 11 plays with Barton breaking a 15-yard run, Poindexter taking a receiver screen 10 yards on 4th and 8, and Donnie Foister picking up 28 yards on an end around to set up a first down at the 17. Uhl had a 9-yard run, Jake Brock picked up five and Uhl finished it off with a 3-yard TD plunge. He added the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.
On Pineville’s first play Roan was intercepted by Ryan Pittman deep over the middle and the Jacket sophomre returned it 24 yards to the 20. Pittman finished off the four-play drive with an 8-yard run. Frazier’s kick made it 21-0.
The Lions got on the board with the following possession. Conner Ford, subbing in at quarterback, had one 16-yard run for a first down and later went 42 yards for a touchdown. Roan’s kick set the final at 21-7.
On the night Middlesboro ran the ball 24 times for 138 yards, Uhl led the way with 40 yards on nine carries. Edwards was 6-of-8 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown while Poindexter led MHS receivers with three catches fro 49 yards.
“The second half we ran some of our plays and got outside — we’ve got some speed,” coach Frazier said. “I thought overall we knew what to do, it’s just going against live competition for the first time. We didn’t run our base defense much because they like to throw the ball a bunch but when we did I thought we did a good job. That’s one of the things that scare me (going into the season): how is our defense going to respond. I felt good that they threatened a couple of times but we buckled down and made plays. We’ve just got to build on it.”
Pineville gained 105 yards on 25 carries, led by Ford’s 72 yards on eight carries.
“It’s a practice. We weren’t worried about the scoreboard, we had our second team defense in when we were inside our own 10,” Elam added. “We got some work done and we know a little more about what we’ve got and what we need to improve on. The main thing is we’ve just got to clean it up. When you’re in the red zone twice and don’t score, you’ve got to fix that.”
Middlesboro opens the regular season at home next Friday against Bourbon County while Pineville is also at home against North Laurel. Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.