TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Week Six of Tri-County football action is over, and we no longer have any undefeated teams left in the Tri-County. Yep folks, both Corbin and North Laurel lost their respective district games, but not before turning in impressive efforts during their losses to Wayne County and Pulaski County. The Redhounds are now 5-1 and so are the Jaguars.
With that said, keep an eye on both of these teams this week and see how they respond.
Player of the Week
His team might not have won, but North Laurel tailback Gabe Blair put his team on his shoulders and almost carried them to a win against Pulaski County. With quarterback Michael Nelson out with an injury, Blair led the Jaguars with 194 rushing yards and one touchdown along with 30 yards passing during Week Six action against the Maroons.
I was really impressed with the way Knox Central came out and took care of business against Clay County. I really thought the Tigers would hang tough with the Panthers, but Knox Central received a 105-yard rushing effort from Jonathan Gist along with three touchdowns to knock off the Tigers, 47-16. The Panthers put the game away early by jumping out to a 40-0 lead.
Biggest surprise Part 2
I was also surprised to see both Corbin and North Laurel almost come away with wins on the road in their respective district match-ups. The Redhounds fell to Wayne County, 35-28, but not before putting a scare into the Cardinal faithful. I expect to see these two meet again in the playoffs with Corbin coming away with the win. The Jaguars were without the services of quarterback Michael Nelson and a couple of other players and hung tough with the high-scoring Maroons, who were without some of their starters from what I understand. If Nelson would have played, though, the game would have been even closer.
Making a statement
Scott Russell’s Knox Central Panthers have been up-and-down the entire season, but their 47-16 win over Clay County might be the win they needed. Russell said his team played its best game of the season, and it came at the right time with Rockcastle County and Russell County up next on the Panther schedule.
You gotta give credit to Phil Russell and his Lynn Camp Wildcats. They are making believers out of everyone. Lynn Camp is now standing at 3-3 on the season after knocking off Clinton County 50-28 this past Friday. The 50 points is the most scored under a Russell-coached team at Lynn Camp and is the first time the Wildcats have scored 50 points since former coach David Mitchell’s squad tagged Clinton County with a 52-point effort on Sept. 9, 2008.
Like I said, both Knox Central and Lynn Camp picked up impressive wins, and gaining momentum coming out of those games will prove to be huge for both teams with important district games coming up.
Both Corbin and North Laurel saw their chances of winning their respective districts take big hits. The Redhounds’ 35-28 loss to Wayne County dropped them to 0-1 in district play while the Cardinals are 2-0. Wayne County’s final two district games are against Casey County and McCreary Central who are a combined 1-11 this season.
The Jaguars are now 1-1 in district play while Pulaski County is 2-0 along with Madison Southern.
North Laurel will need to win out if they want to even have a chance to host a home playoff game for the first time since 1994.
Big game this week
Lincoln County (4-3) at North Laurel (5-1)
Will Michael Nelson be back for Friday’s game? That’s the big question the Jaguars face going into their game against the Patriots. Lincoln County hung tough with Pulaski County two weeks ago, so this isn’t going to be an easy game to say the least for Chris Larkey’s squad.
Off this week
Scott Russell’s Knox Central Panthers will take a week off before playing a big district game against Rockcastle County. A win over the Rockets would set up a district title showdown with Russell County in Week Eight.
Tri-County Rankings for Oct. 7-11
Despite losses by North Laurel and Corbin, the Jaguars remain at the No. 1 spot while Corbin remains at the No. 2 position. Williamsburg is No. 3, Knox Central is ranked no. 4 while South Laurel is at the No. 5 spot. Lynn Camp moves into the No. 6 position and Whitley County wraps up the Tri-County rankings at No. 7.
They Said It
“We hope to see them again. It means we’re in the playoffs and it means we won a game in the playoffs. But we aren’t guaranteed anything and our kids know that. I’m real proud of our guys. They played a super game tonight. They were in it to the very end. The game was closer than what it looks like on the scoreboard.” – North Laurel coach Chris Larkey after his team’s 42-26 loss to Pulaski County.
“For the first time this season, we played a complete game. It was an important game for us. We’ve played in spurts here and there this year. We’ve come out and played well early or started out slow and turned it on. This is what you want to have once district time comes around. You want your team to start out good and then just continue throughout the ball game. I feel like we pushed the pedal to the metal this week and took care of them early.” — Knox Central coach Scott Russell after his team’s 47-16 district win over Clay County Friday.
“We installed the best offense we could come up with for our kids considering the guys we had at our disposal this week. I give the credit to these kids for stepping up and playing through the adversity we’ve had all week because that’s what winning football teams do. We picked up a good win for our team and now we go into district play with a 3-3 mark as opposed to a 2-4 record if we had come up here and got ourselves beat. I’m proud of my kids and the way they played tonight, but I’m more proud of the way they’ve handled the stuff they’ve been faced with all week.” — Lynn Camp coach Phil Russell after his team’s 50-28 road win against Clinton County.
“I told the guys I'm not in this for moral victories. But tonight we could have laid down and quit. But we didn’t. I didn't think we played hard or was fundamentally strong in the first half, and that’s my fault. I want my team to play hard, and they responded in the second half.” — South Laurel coach Matt Rhymer after his team dropped a 37-6 district decision to Lincoln County.
“We’ve always had good rivalries with Campbellsville, Berea, and Lynn Camp, and our kids will be excited to play those games. Hopefully we’re fortunate enough to win some district games and get the first seed. Our goal is to get back to the regional finals and we want to win it, but we have to take care of our district games first. We’ve been fortunate to make it there the past two years and our guys are hungry to get back there. We just take it one game at a time and keep getting better.” — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron during his team’s off-week.
“It really is a new season and that's what we're telling our kids and how we're approaching the situation. You're going to get a chance to right all the wrongs from the previous games and play better football overall. The important thing is that you're playing for a spot as far as seeding in the playoffs and the kids get a chance to decide if you play on the road or if you play at home. Hopefully we can come back in energized and ready to go and try to salvage the season with some positive things.” — Whitley County coach Jim Black on his team’s upcoming game against Perry Central.