By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Week Zero was kind to our Tri-County teams, with Corbin, Knox Central, North Laurel and Williamsburg picking up wins in fine fashion. It wasn’t as kind to Lynn Camp and Whitley County, who both dropped their season-openers.
Player of the Week
We had a lot of players step up in Week Zero, but no one had a better opening week than Williamsburg senior quarterback Dalton Sizemore, who picked up where he left off last season as the Yellow Jacket signal-caller. Sizemore torched the Halls, Tenn. defense for 415 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he added another 70 yards on the ground, and three more touchdowns. That’s six touchdowns, folks — pretty darn impressive.
I was surprised with the way Powell County had its way with Lynn Camp. I picked the Wildcats to win, but Lynn Camp just couldn’t stop the Pirate offense. Coach Phil Russell’s squad moved the ball on offense at times, but struggled at times, too.
Making a statement
A lot of teams made a statement during Week 0, but none more than Chris Larkey’s North Laurel Jaguars. For a team that has never won a playoff game, North Laurel wanted to show everyone they are as good as advertised and they did just that, defeating visiting Claiborne County, Tenn., 48-20.
Both Lynn Camp and Whitley County dropped their season-openers, but both teams still have nine games in front of them. The Wildcats might struggle more than I thought they would this season, while the Colonels will be fine. I’m sure Whitley County coach Jim Black is disappointed his team fell to Morristown West, 43-14, but the Colonels lost to a very, very good team. Whitley County will be fine, the only problem — the Colonels play a very tough schedule.
Williamsburg traveled to enemy territory this past Friday, and surprised many, not by winning, but by how many points. The Yellow Jackets were playing in front of a packed house at Halls, Tenn. and never seemed shaken by the atmosphere, blitzing Halls, 43-14.
Has to be Lynn Camp’s 48-16 loss to Powell County. The Wildcats were hoping to open the season with a win under Coach Russell for the second straight season, but just couldn’t get things going against the Pirates in the Pioneer Bowl.
Rare field goal
Seeing a Williamsburg Yellow Jacket kicker kick a field goal through the uprights has been a rare sight in recent years, but it looks as if they’ve got a pretty good kicker in Brently Patrick, who connected with a 27-yarder during Friday’s 43-14 win over Halls, Tenn.
“It’s been a long time since we kicked a field goal. I think it was back in 2004,” Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron said. “That’s a new weapon for us this year. If we get in there close, we have a good chance to get three.”
Corbin recorded its first shut out in 29 games by blanking Southwestern Friday, 14-0. The last time the Redhound defense had accomplished the feat? Try a 49-0 road win over Leslie County on Oct. 15, 2010.
If you like bowl games, then you’ve got to of the very best in the state taking place in the Tri-County beginning with Friday’s Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic. Knox Central will face-off against Southwestern to start things off at 6 p.m. while Corbin and Perry Central will follow. The Corbin/Perry Central game is interesting because a familiar face will be back in the Tri-County in former Lynn Camp coach David Mitchell. Mitchell is now the Commodores defensive coordinator, and I for one, will be happy to see him. On Saturday, Cumberland Valley Bowl XIII will take place at South Laurel and boy, oh boy, do they have two solid games on schedule. North Laurel and Williamsburg will play each other at 5:30 p.m. (I’ll talk more about that game below) and a match-up between two Cardinal teams, South Laurel and Wayne County, will take place at 8:30 p.m. Whoever did the scheduling with the Cumberland Valley Bowl this season did a great job with the match-ups.
Big game this week
North Laurel (1-0) vs. Williamsburg (1-0), at South Laurel, 5:30 p.m
Picking this as the game of the week is a no-brainer. It’s North Laurel’s “Thunder and lightning” rushing attack of Michael Nelson and Gabe Blair going up against Williamsburg’s air attack of Dalton Sizemore, Corey Shelton and Skyler Griffith. But a word to the wise — the Jaguars are dangerous throwing the ball, too — they’ll keep you honest with receiving threats Cole Lewis and Jaythus Riley. High school fans could be treated to an offensive explosion at South Laurel’s Gilliam Field Saturday. This game is going to be a dandy.
Tri-County Rankings for Aug. 26-29
Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets claim the top spot while the Knox Central Panthers are in at No. 2. Whitley County is No. 3 with North Laurel coming in at the four-spot. Corbin is ranked fifth while South Laurel and Lynn Camp round out the rankings.
They said it
“It was a win, but an ugly win. But as a coach, you'll take a win any way you can get it.” — Corbin coach Steve Jewell after seeing his team shut out Southwestern Pulaski, 14-0.
“I think we have a lot of work to do. A coach is never happy. I’m happy that we won. I’m happy that we got through that ballgame injury free. I’m just not happy the way we executed. We have to have a better showing for our fans. I don’t think they got what they deserved.” — North Laurel coach Chris Larkey after seeing his team hand Claiborne County, Tenn. a 48-20 loss Friday.
“I thought Dalton (Sizemore) did a good job tonight. There were a few mistakes, but when they’re sending five, six, seven guys at you, it’s hard. Offensively, we did some things wrong, missed a few blitzes and protections. But, I thought our offensive line protected well and I thought all of our fullbacks did a good job, too.” — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron on quarterback Dalton Sizemore’s six-touchdown effort against Halls, Tenn.
“In all reality it’s kind of been the Jeff Canady show for the last couple years and everybody knew what we had in him. I’ll tell you this, we’ve got some playmakers this year. Jonathan (Gist) came out and played a heck of a game and Matthew (Barger) did the same thing and this really tells you what kind of athletes we have all-around on this team.” — Knox Central coach Scott Russell after his team’s 51-7 win over Atherton in Friday’s Pioneer Bowl.
“We’ve had some suspensions this week, which we’ll leave names disclosed, and a dismissal that hopefully will return, so it’s been a rough week. I felt like our focus was there early in the game. I knew Powell County would come in and run the football at us and they did. We did some things early, but we gave up some points and I think that got in our head in the second quarter.” — Lynn Camp coach Phil Russell after his team’s 48-16 loss to Powell County.
“I felt very good at halftime — but we came out in the second half and, I mean the wheels fell off and bam, it was over.” — Whitley County coach Jim Black on his team’s 42-13 loss to Morristown West, Tenn.