TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
Phil Russell's Lynn Camp Wildcats are looking to head into postseason play with some much-needed momentum, but to do so, they're going to have to find way to accomplish the feat on the road against a very good Middlesboro Yellow Jacket team.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 35-19 loss to Somerset, but they'll enter Friday's game against Lynn Camp as a heavy favorite.
Middlesboro is led by tailback Ryan Pittman, who has rushed for 1,064 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while teammate Seth Barton has 639 yards on the ground, including a team-best 14 touchdowns.
“They are a very good team,” Russell said. “They are playing really well right now and their only losses have came against good teams – Pikeville and Somerset.
“We know we are going to have our work cut out for us, but we're going to continue to improve and hopefully gain some momentum for the playoffs,” he added. “It's not going to get any easier for us, that's for sure, with Middlesboro this week and Hazard in the first round of the playoffs next week, but we still have two guaranteed games left, and we're going to try our best to win both of them.”
After starting the season with a 3-3 record, things looked to be going in a positive direction for the Wildcats, but three straight district losses, including being shut out the past two games, has Lynn Camp riding a three-game skid into Friday's contest against Middlesboro.
“We haven't scored in two games, and we need to really get back on track,” Russell said. “We're going to go back to what made us successful earlier in the season. We're continuing to practice hard, and we are continuing to improve.”
But with that said, Lynn Camp will be without some players, due to suspensions from the Williamsburg game, but players such as Keanu Nolan, Aaron Mills and Tommy Hatfield will be playing, which is good news for Lynn Camp.
“We've got some kids out due to suspensions, but that just means we need some other kids to step up,” Russell said. “That's what is going to be the key. We've got to have some kids step up and play.
“We really need to have some positives happen because like I said earlier, things aren't going to get any easier next week against Hazard,” he added. “It is what it is, they are the elite team in the region right now, and we didn't win any district games, and now we have to play them in a couple of weeks. I really thought we would be able to pull out some district wins, but we didn't and now we have to play with the hand we're dealt.”
But at the present time, Russell said his team needs to worry about the task at hand – finding a way to beat Middlesboro.
“They're going to spread us out and they run a lot of formations, so we're going to have to be ready for that,” Russell admitted. “Defensively, they do a good job of attacking the football, so we're going to have to stay away from turning the ball over. We might be 3-6, but we're going to come into this game as if we're 6-3. This game is huge for us. We need some momentum going into the playoffs and can get it with a win this week.”