The young Middlesboro Yellow Jackets have been making steady improvement throughout the season and their resolve was rewarded with a 50-12 win over Lynn Camp in their regular season finale.
Coming off back-to-back tough district losses, the Jackets came out of the gates quickly Friday at Lynn Camp and jumped out to a 24-0 lead. They withstood a bit of a rally from the pesky Wildcats before pulling away for the big win.
“I thought we came out ready to play, but we relaxed a little bit once we got that lead. We finished strong, but we could have played better during the middle part of the game,” said Middlesboro coach Randy Frazier. “Lynn Camp’s got a pretty good team. Obviously they weren’t the caliber of a Danville or Somerset, but I was pleased to get a road win against a quality opponent.”
The Jackets rolled up 247 yards on 40 carries. Sophomore Parker Uhl ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries while sophomore Seth Barton added 73 yards and two scores on nine runs. Quarterback Major Edwards added 33 yards and a TD on nine carries while completing 6-of-8 passes for 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ryan Pittman also had a rushing touchdown to go along 20 yards on four carries.
Austin Poindexter was Middlesboro’s top receiver in the game with three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Senior Zach Riddle added a 40-yard touchdown grab while Donnie Foister caught two passes for 39 yards.
The MHS offense has evolved during the season from a wing-T look to using multiple sets that include a heavy dose of the traditional I formation. That’s helped Uhl at fullback and Barton at tailback, in particular, run up some impressive numbers on the ground in recent weeks.
“We started out running the wing-T and felt good about it, but there were some things we couldn’t do from that formation,” Frazier said. “We have a lot of kids that can make plays with the ball in their hands. You mention Barton and Uhl, and they’re both running it hard. But we’ve also kids like Pittman and Jake Brock that we want running it and we’ve got to get the ball out to Poindexter, Riddle and Foister.
“We’re really multiple in our offense now and we’ve got a lot more options. We’ve developed into more of a running and play-action passing team and that running game has helped our defense. I’m just real pleased with how it’s evolved.”
Friday’s win improved the Jackets to 4-6 on the year. It’s the same record they put together last year, but most of the losses have been very competitive and they’ve come against some very good teams. Three ranked Class 3A teams in 10-0 Bourbon County, 8-2 Bell County and 7-3 Morgan County; and three ranked 2A teams that are all in Middlesboro’s district: Somerset, Danville and Lexington Christian.
MHS will have a chance to better last year’s mark on Friday as they travel to Prestonsburg for a first round playoff game. The Blackcats looked like they might be down a bit early in the season, but went unbeaten in their district and have won three straight to improve to 7-3.
“It’s a team we played my first year here and they’ve got a great football team,” Frazier said. “They may not be quite where they were a couple of years ago but that doesn’t take anything away them. They’re a number one seed and we’re a number four so we’ve got a tough way to go. We’re going to have to play better than we did against Somerset and Danville to have a chance to win.”