Simmons powers East team to victory

Tyrese Simmons told a visitor to an East All-Star team practice last week that the inaugural Southeastern Kentucky East-West Senior Bowl on Saturday would be a perfect opportunity for him to show off his numerous skills on the football field one more time before heading to the University of Pikeville later in the summer.

That is just what the Harlan County receiver/running back/defensive back did on Saturday at Union College. Simmons scored one touchdown rushing, one receiving and one off an interception, while adding a two-point conversion, to lead the East to a 36-8 win over the West in the all-star game that matched the top seniors from across southeastern Kentucky.

“This was a great end to a great week. It was awesome getting to know all the kids from the other schools these past five days,’ said Harlan County coach Eddie Creech. As far as the game, our guys really responded well after getting down 8-0.”

Several other Black Bears played major roles in the win. Jacob Branson passed for two touchdowns, including one to Devon Rodridgues. Caleb Carmical added a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion. Jermel Carton, of Knox Central, also added a two-point conversion.

Jacob Ward was a leader for the East defense with five tackles, including one sack.

Other HCHS players on the East squad included Quintin Mickens, Colby King, Hunter Owens, A.J. Simmons, Robert Burgan and Noah Wood. Harlan lineman Brandon Day was also a member of the East squad.

Simmons was named the offensive MVP for the East. Knox Central’s Jacob Davis and Hazard’s Kade Holland were co-MVPs on defense.

Creech reflected on what a great year it had been for the Harlan County seniors after the game ended.

“From July of last year to June of this year, our HCHS seniors have won South Laurel’s Air Assault (over 25 teams in a summer passing camp), tied for the district title, won a regional title and came closer score-wise than any other HCHS team in history of the school from playing in a state championship, then ended it being a big part of a 28-point victory in the East/West Senior Bowl,” he said.