Balanced attack carries Lions over Harlan

PINEVILLE — With Clay Teague finding success through the air and Isaiah Morris and Sawyer Thomas picking up yardage on the ground, the Pineville Mountain Lions featured a balance offensive attack not often seen on the junior high level in a 22-0 season-opening win Thursday over Harlan.

“We still have more to work on, but I was tickled to death with the way we played,” said Pineville coach Robert Roan.

Thomas ran for two touchdowns and Morris added one as the Lions scored on three of four possessions in the first half.

Teague had several completions in the scoring drives, including a 35-yard pass to Morris on the Lions’ first possession. Thompson carried the ball four times in the opening drive, which was capped by his 7-yard touchdown run with 3:00 left in the opening period.

Pineville was driving again early in the second quarter when Noah Kirby recovered a fumble on the Harlan 24.

Kirby was stopped on fourth down after he and quarterback Vincent Smith had picked up first downs for the Dragons.

Morris and Teague each ran for first downs as the Lions drove into Harlan territory again. Teague teamed with Thompson for a 14-yard catch to set up Thompson’s 7-yard TD run. Teague went in for the conversion and a 14-0 lead.

A Jacob Maggard interception with 30 seconds left in the half put Pineville in scoring position once again. Morris ran 25 yards to set up his 2-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the half. Teague threw to Dylan Abner for the two-point conversion.

Harlan was its own worst enemy on offense with at least a half dozen fumbles on long snaps out of the shotgun. A 57-yard touchdown run by Smith on the second offensive play of the game was wiped out by a penalty.

“We’ve gone into an offense where we’re trying to get the ball into the gun. When you do that in a junior high program it takes time to get the exchange down. That’s a coaching issue,” Harlan coach Jonathan Lee said. “I’m proud of them. We had several drives stalled and had a silly penalty, but we moved the ball.”

Lee was happy the way the Harlan defense responded in the second half as the Dragons held Pineville scoreless.

“We wanted to come out and be aggressive and physical, and we did that,” Lee said. “We had an opportunity to make some plays, but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize.”

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Harlan (2-1) will travel to Middlesboro on Thursday. The Green Dragons picked up a pair of forfeit wins over Evarts because the Wildcats did not have enough players to field a team.

Evarts will combine with New Harlan on the seventh- and eighth-grade level but will maintain a team in the fifth- and sixth-grade division.

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Landon Robbins scored four touchdowns, three running and one on a pass, as Pineville rolled to a 28-0 win in the fifth- and sixth-grade game.

Robbins scored on a 70-yard run on a sweep around left end on the game’s opening play. He added a 32-yard scoring run on the Lions’ second possession. Tate Slone went in for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.

Deakon Partin teamed with Robbins for a 45-yard touchdown pass with 5:33 left in the second quarter for a 20-0 lead.

Robbins went in from the 13 with 3:03 left in the third quarter. Landon Abner added the two-point conversion.

The Harlan defense improved in the second half as Will Shepherd and Landon Myers each had tackles to stop a Pineville drive in the fourth quarter.