TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By John Stepp / For The Times-Tribune
The South Laurel Cardinals did not fare well in the first district game, falling to Madison Southern 47-7 last Friday. But Matt Rhymer’s squad has a chance to get their first district win in two seasons when they take on the Lincoln County Patriots this Friday.
The Patriots are also coming off their first district loss of the season, losing to Pulaski County 61-35 last week. A win for the Cardinals would not only be a huge momentum boost for the young team, but will also be one stop closer to a playoff berth – something they did not accomplish last year.
“We’re not out of this thing. I told our boys that if we win this Friday, we’re sitting at 3-3 and have a chance to win some games,” said Rhymer. “This is a district game and would be a big game for us. We’ll have to come out and play well, but it’s a game we can win.”
Rhymer’s team has been difficult to judge this season. After an opening loss to Wayne County, the Cardinals were able to win back-to-back games against Rockcastle and Clay Counties. But they will head into the Lincoln County game on a two-game skid, after losing to Corbin and Madison Southern.
Despite three losses on the year, the Patriots will be no pushover for the Cardinals. Lincoln County poses a good running offense and Rhymer knows his defense will have to control the game on the defensive side of the ball if they want a chance to win.
“Coach Settles does a great job with that team. They have a couple good running backs and do a really good job of running the dive,” said Rhymer. “We’ll have to be disciplined on the defensive side of the ball. We have to do a good job of stopping their run game.”
The Patriots are not the only team on Friday night that will feature a great running game. The Cardinals also pose a threat running the football with their triple option attack. Unfortunately, the South Laurel offense may not be at full strength against Lincoln County. Rhymer is hopeful that three of his offensive backs – quarterback Jon Jenkins and running back Jake Hale and Tanner Morris – will be back before kickoff.
“We have some kids banged up, but we’re hoping to have them back this Friday,” said Rhymer. “That’s a big part of our offense, and it’s looking like we’re going to have most of them back, but we’re still not sure.”