Jimmie Lewis knew Harlem's tie for first place in the region meant little until Friday night's game.
The Bulldogs kicked off a three-game sprint to the Region 3-AAA title by beating Jefferson County (3-5, 2-2) 35-28.
The win, coupled with Westside's 17-15 loss to Washington County, means Harlem sits atop the region all alone. Harlem (5-1, 4-0) is the only undefeated team in region play.
Leading the way for Harlem was junior Kevin Sturgis. He had three touchdowns in the first half alone on the way to 69 yards rushing and 42 yards receiving for the game.
The one sore spot for the Bulldogs was the punt team. Jefferson County's Gary Farmer scored two of his four touchdowns off blocked punts. Farmer also rushed the ball 17 times for 118 yards.
"That about killed us," Harlem Head Coach Jimmie Lewis said. "We are going to have to work on that before next week's game."
Because of those two miscues, and a Jefferson County team that refused to give up, the game was in doubt with 1:30 left in the game. The Warriors had the ball on their own 27-yard line with the score 35-28.
Warrior quarterback Jermaine Lane threw up a pass that would have taken Jefferson County into Bulldog territory. But Donnie Demore, filling in for an injured Bulldog, intercepted Lane's pass and put the game away.
Harlem plays host to Washington County next week, then finishes the regular season at Westside.
"We won't be big headed against Washington County," Lewis said. "We are going to prepare like we do for everyone else."
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