Barton leads Jackets to 52-6 win
By ZACH AUSMUS
The MHS football team took one look at the visiting Knott County Central team and went to work in earnest, winning by a final score of 52-6. The Jackets were led by Ethan Barton who made several outstanding plays throughout the night. The senior was able to find the endzone from a variety of positions including receiver, tailback, and cornerback. When the game had ended, Barton had amassed 83 receiving yards for one score, 26 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, two two-point conversions, and a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.
On lining up at different positions, Barton said that “it gives the defense a variety of looks to prepare for – it gives us a good chance to move the ball.”
However, Barton didn’t work alone against the district foe. Caleb Bogonko totaled 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just five attempts.
Middlesboro received the opening kick-off and immediately marched down the field with a series of running plays. That drive was capped off by an Ethan Barton rushing touchdown on an inside zone run from 13 yards out. Out of the I-formation, Barton added the two-point conversion.
After the kick, the Middlesboro defense set the tone early by forcing a three-and-out with sacks by Jay Tyler West and Jalil Patterson-Graves.
Working on a short field after a deep punt return by Barton, Riley Gent punched through the Patriot defense on an inside run and Caleb Bogonko added the two-point conversion.
The Jackets controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball early. At the end of one quarter, MHS was ahead 24-0.
After Bogonko added another rushing touchdown, MHS led 30-0 early in the second quarter.
MHS defense forced a turnover on downs midway through the second period, Eric Helton entered as quarterback. On second down of his first series, he dropped backed to pass and found Ethan Barton on a deep post route to extend the Jacket lead 37-0 after the PAT by kicker Tyshaun Simpson.
To start the third quarter, Knott County Central pieced together a drive of their own. However, the MHS defense held strong. On the night’s best play, Ethan Barton ran down the attempted deep pass by KCCHS quarterback Kizer Slone and intercepted the throw on the MHS one-yard line. After looping back into his own endzone, Barton scampered up the field and found his way to the opposite endzone after evading several Patriot would-be tacklers on the runback. After the kick, MHS led 45-0 early in the third.
With a running clock, coach Larry French entered his reserves for the remainder of the game. Freshman Case Bayless handled quarterback duties and put together a strong possession completing the drive for the Jackets’ final score on a rushing touchdown.
Knott Central was able to add their only score late with time expiring in the final quarter. After the failed two-point conversion, the final score tallied 52-6.
MHS mounted 358 yards of offense and six scores and one more added by the defense. The defense held KCCHS to just 86 yards of total offense.
With the win, Middlesboro improved to 5-1 and is now ranked 9th statewide in 2A according to KHSAA’s RPI. In the 13th region, MHS passed Bell County for second place. French’s squad is slated to travel to Martin County on Oct. 30.