RICHMOND — Harlan County unleashed its air raid attack in beating host Madison Central 49-6 in the Roy Kidd Bowl on Saturday night.
OK. That's probably an exaggeration. Maybe even a lie.
Harlan County relied primarily on Coach Tom Larkey's first loves — power running and rock-solid defense — to win its season opener.
The Black Bears rushed for 324 yards and four touchdowns. Senior fullback Carson Whitehead led the way with 112 yards, senior halfback Zach Chitwood had 80 and senior quarterback Scott Bailey added 77.
But Harlan County also put the ball in the air 12 times, a huge number considering Bailey was 9-for-17 passing for 211 yards and three TDs all of last season.
Bailey threw seven passes in the first half against Madison Central, and his two completions went for TDs — six yards to Zach Chitwood and 32 yards to Cole Wilson.
Bailey finished the night 5-for-11 for 66 yards. His backup, Jarret Ford added 27 yards through the air.
"We work on it a lot in practice, but I never have the nerve to do it in a ball game," Larkey said. "We're known as filthy animals and we want to keep that reputation. We may lose that glory a bit if we spread it out and throw it.
"But I still know my running plays," Larkey added with a smile.
Bailey likes the more versatile attack.
"You know we run it 1,000 times a game. If we pound it up the middle and teams bite on that, it'll open up our passing. And we've got all kinds of athletes — Cole Wilson, Zach Wilson, Zach Chitwood, Fred Massey — who can catch the ball."
Harlan County's defense was outstanding. Madison Central had only 89 total yards, including minus 21 on the ground.
Massey led the Black Bears in tackles.
Madison Central's only highlight of the night came early when Kameron Pressnell hit John Williams in stride on a 75-yard TD bomb.
Harlan County didn't slip up again, however. Presnell finished 3-for-8 for 89 yards and an interception.
The Black Bears went 11-3 last year and lost to Cooper in the state semifinals.
Bailey said they're "real determined to get back there and get to the finals.
"If we work hard every day in practice, we're going to get there."
Harlan Co. 49, Madison Central 6
Harlan County 7 22 14 6—49
Madison Central 6 0 0 6— 6
HC—Zach Chitwood 6 pass from Scotty Bailey (Cole Wilson kick). MC—ohn Williams 75 pass from Kameron Pressnell (kick failed). HC—Chitwood 20 run (Wilson kick). HC—Kelin Gist 2 run (Wilson kick). HC—Wilson 32 pass from Bailey. HC—Bailey 22 run (Carson Whitehead run). HC—Whitehead 1 run (Wilson kick). HC—Dylan Cornett 1 run (kick failed).
Records: Harlan Co. 1-0; Madison Central 0-1.