Middlesboro knocks off Knott Central 47-8

Published 12:46 pm Monday, October 28, 2019

The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets notched their seventh win of the season on Friday night, downing Knott Central 47-8 on Friday night..

With the victory, the Yellow Jackets have won three games in a row for the second time this season. Middlesboro defeated Lynn Camp, Harlan and Pineville in successive games earlier in the year. Since a loss to Breathitt County in late September, Middlesboro has defeated Leslie County, Morgan County and Knott County Central in successive games to give them their second three-game winning streak of the season.

In the victory over Knott Central, the Yellow Jackets were led by Jabari Kyle, who had eight carries for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Caleb Bogonko and Atavius Flanary each added a rushing touchdown.

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Quarterback Eric Helton played a very efficient game, completing 3-of-3 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Barton led the Yellow Jacket receivers with one reception, which was good for a 43-yard touchdown. Thaisan Sin connected on 5-of-6 extra points.

The Middlesboro defense was headlined by Tyler Kelly with 15 total tackles, including one for loss. David Kyle followed with eight tackles, including one for loss. Riley Gent had six tackles with two tackles for loss. Bogonko, Flanary, Tyler Sturgill and Yousiff Nabat all had tackles for losses — Flanary led with two.

The Yellow Jackets put up 424 total yards of offense while holding Knott Central to just 211 yards of total offense during the game. Middlesboro now ranks fifth in the 13th region RPI rankings behind Harlan County and ahead of Pineville.

“Any time you can get a win on the road is a good thing,” said Middlesboro coach Larry French. “With this win, we will be able to host a playoff game at home, which is a very big deal. Having your home crowd and your home field in the playoffs is something that you don’t get too often, and we are glad that we earned that. I’m proud of the way we are playing right now, but we can’t get satisfied. We have another game to worry about this Friday, and that’s where our focus is.”

Middlesboro hadn’t been as successful in the past few years as they have been in French’s debut season with the Jackets. He believes that this team’s desire to win and their relationship with one another is what has allowed this team to be as successful as they have been this year.

“This is a close-knit group of guys,” said French. “They’re very comfortable around one another and play well as a team. They’re a very coachable group and do what we ask them to do. Their desire to win is pushing them to play to the best of their capabilities this season. We are going to stay focused and finish out strong.”

With the victory, the Yellow Jackets improved to 7-2 on the season. They will take on the Martin County Cardinals (6-3) on Friday night at home in their last regular season game.