TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By John Stepp For The Times-Tribune
Matt Rhymer’s South Laurel Cardinals have already won more games than they did all of 2012, but are looking to take a bigger step in the right direction this Friday when they take on the Southwestern Warriors.
A win over Southwestern this week would give the Cardinals their first district win under Rhymer and the first in two years. While South Laurel has two more wins than the winless Warriors’ team, Rhymer and his crew know it will not be an easy task.
“Southwestern is a good football team. Each week they say they’re the best winless team in the state. I don’t know if that is true, but I know there aren’t many teams in 5A that aren’t any good,” said Rhymer. “They’ve played a lot of good teams and been right in the game with them. They are a hard team to prepare for.”
Despite the Warriors seven-game losing streak, they have played some of the Tri-County’s top teams in Corbin, Knox Central, and North Laurel, and done a fairly good job. Southwestern even took Knox Central into overtime before losing by three points.
While being the favorite to win is always a good thing, the Cardinals will not take their game versus Southwestern lightly. Rhymer said his team will continue to prepare each week, regardless of the record of their opponent.
“We don’t even talk about records. I try to keep the boys as grounded as I can,” said Rhymer. “We’re going to work hard and prepare each day and each week whether we’re playing a 0-7 team or a 7-0 team. That makes no difference to us. We’re going to keep working to get better.”
South Laurel has been bitten by the injury bug this season, but will be close to full strength this Friday. The Cardinals got two of their leading rushers back against Lincoln County last week in quarterback Jon Jenkins and running back Jake Hale. Despite falling to Lincoln 37-6, Rhymer liked what he saw from his team and hopes they can build on that this week.
“We got off to a bad start there in the first half against Lincoln County, but I thought we probably played the best half of football we played all year in the second half of that game,” said Rhymer. “Our boys continued to play hard and we did some good things in the second half. We have to put together a complete game this week in order to win.”