"I don't think at this point anything defines our season. We told our kids there would be naysayers and bandwagon-jumpers. They can't listen to that," said Harp, who still needs five wins to reach the 300-win mark in his career. "I don't care what the scoreboard says, we are improving. As long as we get better, that's all I can ask."
The Danville coach says the competition has played a major role in his team's start.
"The kids are still playing hard. There is no loafing going on. We have just played good teams. Mason County is ranked No. 1 in 3A, Franklin County is young like us and Corbin is No. 2 in 2A," Harp said. "Somerset undefeated and ranked in 3A. Then we take on a very good Class 5A team in Southwestern and the No. 1 team in 4A in Boyle County that looks like it will win the state.
"If fans want to jump off the bandwagon and get back on later, that is their choice. But this game does not define this season. What it defines is will we get better."
Somerset has narrow wins over Knox Central and Pulaski County to go along with its 40-20 victory last week over Russell County for interim coach Robbie Lucas.
Lucas, a former Lincoln County player and head coach, took over the Briar Jumpers just before the season started when coach Jay Cobb resigned over a dispute with school officials. Lucas had been Cobb's defensive coordinator.
"They are well-coached. He's doing a good job just like he always has," Harp said. "Robbie was already doing the defense, and they had everything in place when Jay left. It's no surprise to me that Robbie has them playing well."
Somerset impresses Harp
Somerset's offense, which is averaging 27 points per game, has impressed Harp. The Jumpers returned their top three rushers and receivers from last year's 5-6 team, along with four starters in the offensive line.
"They have looked awfully good. They do a good job spreading the ball around in that spread offense," Harp said. "The quarterback (junior Eric Manning) has a good grasp of the game plan. He throws well and is dangerous when he gets out running."
The top receiver is 6-2 J.P. Henderlight, who had 29 catches for 567 yards last year.
"They are all good receivers and they will throw to any of them, but the others are not quite as big and tall as Henderlight," Harp said. "They will run some to keep you honest, but their forte is passing.
Somerset has allowed 18 points per game, and Harp says the Briar Jumpers' defense probably isn't quite as good as the offense.
"But they have been pretty solid defensively," Harp said. "I am more concerned with their offense, but that doesn't mean they don't play good defense."
Harp says both teams have similar speed and that mistakes and playing intensity could determine who wins Friday's game.
"We just have to block better and quit making mental errors. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself," Harp said. "We've had some personnel issues with injuries that have not helped, either."
Quarterback-linebacker Will Dunn, who was the quarterback for most of last week's game, likely won't play this week — or in the foreseeable future.
"Will is out of the picture until he is 100 percent healthy. He will not practice or anything," Harp said. "He won't play any more until he gets 100 percent, and that's up to him.
"When he can show me he can sprint full speed without any kind of limp or lingering problems, then he can play again. Now he can't do that. He is hobbling. His hamstring is pretty tender. He's out indefinitely. It could be two weeks or the last half of the season before we get him back."
Harp is turning the offense over to freshman Devonta Alcorn, who has played sparingly this season.
"He is tall and has the body to be a good quarterback," said Harp, who has never started a freshman at quarterback during his years at Danville. "He has a good arm. There's a big upside to him. He's just young. He's going to make freshman mistakes, but he will learn and get better. We might tweak the offense a bit for him, but we can't change a lot."