Times-Tribune Staff Report
Casey County at Corbin
Where: Campbell Field
Date: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Team Records: Corbin 6-2, Casey Co. 1-7
The inside scoop: When the Corbin Redhounds face off against Casey County today, the team will have two goals in mind.
The top priority will be to recover from last week’s 7-0 district loss to Bell County, while number two on the list will be for the Redhounds to get healed up for the last week of the regular season and a potential playoff run.
The good news for Steve Jewell’s squad is that if this week’s progress in practice is any indication, the effects of the loss to Bell County are fading as the days go by.
“We’ve suffered two really close losses, so it’s kind of a mindset thing we’re focused on right now,” Jewell said. “We want to take some steps as far as feeling positive again as we get closer to the playoffs.
“The first step is this week as we try to get a win against Casey County,” he added. “Monday was a little bit slow for us starting out, but we’ve picked up the pace. Wednesday was about what we expect out of our kids in practice, so we’ve done a good job of getting past the loss.”
Knox Central at Russell Co.
Where: Finley Field, RCHS
Date: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Team Records: KC 6-2, RC 7-1
The inside scoop: Knox Central coach Scott Russell and his Knox Central Panthers are hoping the third time is the charm when they meet up with Russell County on the road Friday in a district championship match-up.
Friday's contest between the two teams will mark the third straight time the Panthers and the Lakers will face-off for the district title.
Unfortunately for Knox Central (6-2 overall, 2-0 against district teams), things haven't turned out well for them during the previous two meetings. The Lakers have won both games, picking up a 26-22 win two years ago while taking advantage of four Panthers turnovers last season in a 35-19 victory.
“Hopefully things will turn out better for us this time around,” Russell said. “This is a huge game for us. The past two years they have beat us, and in both games we have turned the ball over a lot. For us to win Friday, we've got to take care of the ball.”
Knox Central will also be looking for someone to step up in place of starting quarterback Matt Barger, who will miss this week's game due to having a AC separated in his shoulder.n
Barger's absence will play a big role in Friday's game. He's got more than 400 yards rushing, thrown for close to 300 yards from behind center while leading the Panthers in pass receptions and receiving yards. On defense he's the team leader with three interceptions and is second with most fumble recoveries with two.
“It's big,” Russell said about Barger being out with an injury. “He does a whole lot for us, and he's going to be missed. That's a big loss for us, but it's the nature of the beast, things happen.
“We have challenged our kids this week,” he added. “We've told our kids that there isn't a better place to step up and answer the bell than right now in the district championship game.”
S. Laurel at N. Laurel
Where: The Jungle, NLHS
Date: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Team Records: NL 6-2, SL 2-6
The inside scoop: All of Laurel County will fill the stands of the North Laurel Jaguars’ stadium this Friday night when the South Laurel Cardinals travel to take on the Jaguars in the annual cross-town showdown.
While the game carries a great deal of meaning to the fans of Laurel County, the players and coaches know it is just another game on the schedule, and one that both teams want to win.
“We want to win every game we play. We know this is a big game, but every game is a big game for us,” South Laurel Coach Matt Rhymer said. “We’re approaching this game like any other game. We’re practicing hard and we’ll be ready on Friday.”
The teams have played to completely opposite records this season. South Laurel has compiled a record of 2-6, while North Laurel comes into the game at an impressive 6-2. While prognosticators will likely go with the Jaguars in the game, Coach Chris Larkey knows his squad cannot overlook the Cardinals.
“We don’t overlook anyone. We are usually the underdog, and that is how we look at each game,” Larkey said. “We’re never the biggest or the fastest team on the field, so we can’t take any game for granted. In a game like this, a rivalry game, you can go by records or how good one team or the other is. It’s always a tough game against them, and that’s what we’re expecting.”
For each coach, this game is not so much about the rival as it is about finishing the season on a high note. For the Cardinals, they want to prove that their program is improving, and a win over the Jaguars would do just that.
“Right now, for us, every win is a big win. A win this week would be good for us, and I’ve been telling our boys that we need to get a couple more wins before the season ends,” Rhymer said. “We’re focused. We’ve not changed philosophies this week because of who we’re playing. These boys know that we have to get better at the things that we do and keep working hard.”
For Larkey’s group, a win means continuing to improve before heading into the playoffs.
“We try to win every game that we play, but we want to make sure that we’re getting better each game, too. We want to finish the season strong before the playoffs,” Larkey said. “It’s really about getting better. We want to keep getting better and get that first playoff win. I told our boys that we need to keep winning because pretty soon, when you lose you go home. That time’s almost here.”