By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The South Laurel Cardinals may not have righted the ship completely yet, but Matt Rhymer’s squad put itself in the win column last week with a 19-8 victory over Rockcastle County at home.
The win came thanks to a pair of early touchdowns through the air by the Cardinals, as well as a 55-yard score by Taylor Morris.
This week the Cardinals travel to face a Clay County team that sits at 0-3 on the season and is coming off a 33-6 loss to rival North Laurel.
Rhymer said he was excited to get his first win as a head coach and said he feels a lot better going into preparation for the next opponent with a win under his team’s belt. Rhymer was quick to give credit to his team, but cautioned that the win was only one game in the grand scheme of things.
“I was excited, but I was more excited for the kids,” Rhymer said. “I think they deserved the win because they have worked so hard toward this.
“We know that every win we can get is going to be huge in the process of getting the program where we want it to be,” he added. “They’ve (the team) been kind of grounded because we have a 24-hour policy where we can celebrate for 24 hours and then we have to get ready for our next opponent.”
Coming in to the season, the Cardinals were expected to primarily be a running team and after 36-7 loss to Wayne County, showed no sign of abandoning that thought, even though most of his team’s points came via the air.
Despite the two passing touchdowns this past Friday, Rhymer said teams shouldn’t necessarily expect the Cardinals to go to the passing game on a regular basis in the future.
“Our guys did a good job of taking what was given to us,” Rhymer said. “We had some opportunities and the guys took advantage and made some plays.
“Rockcastle County was a good team and we kind of knew what they would try to do defensively, so I think our coaching staff did a good job of getting our kids ready to play,” he added. “I think Clay County is going to be a little bit different for us because they play a different defense than what we have seen so far this season.”
Speaking of the Tigers, it looked as though Evan Napier’s squad was poised to pull off the upset against North Laurel last week, but several penalties and a few turnovers wound up costing Clay County in the end.
The loss was the third straight to start the season, but the Tigers managed to get on the scoreboard for the first time this season when halfback Sam Carr scored in the first half.
Rhymer said Carr would be one of his team’s main focuses this week as they get set to head to Manchester to face the Tigers.
“They are a big team and they have a really good back in Carr and I think they’ll try to get him the football,” Rhymer said. “They really like to run the football, but they also like to spread you out a little bit as well.
“When it comes down to it, we have to protect the football, win the line of scrimmage and limit our penalties and turnovers,” he added. “If we can do that, I feel like we’ll have a good chance to win the game.”
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
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