By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
As his team heads into Friday's road game against Wayne County, North Laurel head coach Chris Larkey said there's two things his team, which is ranked 11th in the state in 5A, has to do if they expect to win the game.
“We absolutely have to shut down the passing game and run the football well,” Larkey said.
Those are good ideas, but one of them may not guarantee a win.
Wayne County was held to just 53 yards through the air last week against Estill County, but managed to gain 208 yards on the ground en route to the 54-6 victory. The week before however, it was all about Cardinal quarterback Tyler Guffey. The junior threw for 185 yards and four touchdowns, completing 6-of-7 pass attempts.
What it boils down to, Larkey said, is that the Cardinals are a really good all-around football team and he thinks the Jaguars are in for the toughest test of the season to this point.
“They are going to be the best team that we've played so far this season,” Larkey said. “They have a really good defense and they like to hit you.
“They will line up and try to stop the run and have quite a few athletes that can do that,” he added. “They are going to be a really good team in 3A. They've got everybody back from last year and I think they are really going to surprise a lot of people with the way they play football.”
For the Jaguars, the scene is a familiar one. Just like this season, when the two teams faced off in week three of last season, they both stood at 2-0 to start the year. A 28-25 overtime loss seemed to derail the Jaguars as they lost six of the next seven games to finish the season 3-7.
Larkey hopes to avoid the same fate this year with a win.
“Just like us, they've got a lot of kids back, so it's a similar match-up to last year,” he said. “We had some struggles in that overtime game and we just couldn't get the kicking game down and that's what cost us the win.”
Larkey's biggest weapons come in the form of what he likes to refer to as a 'double barreled' threat in Gabe Blair and Michael Nelson. The two have combined for 509 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground (259 yards, one TD for Blair and 250 yards, seven TDs for Nelson).
“We are going to run the ball because that's really what our kids like to do,” Larkey said. “I call our back combo 'thunder and lightning' because of the difference in their styles.”
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
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