By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Whitley County Colonels (5-2, 1-0) are one of the hottest teams in the Tri-County, riding a four-game win streak after last week’s 47-28 district win over Perry County Central.
The Colonels will take that streak on the road this week against a team that is a mirror image of them on paper in the Harlan County Black Bears (5-2, 1-0), but Colonel coach Jim Black is quick to point out that comparison on paper can be deceiving.
“That’s true, but when you look at them on film it’s not a mirror with how physical they are,” Black said. “We’ve got to try and match them when it comes to physicality they bring to the game.”
The two teams are close in comparison when it comes to points scored. Harlan County has averaged 37 points per game, while Whitley County has scored 29 points per game this season. Defensivily, the Black Bears have only allowed 17 points per game, while the Colonels are a shade under that number at 16 points per game.
The two teams are similar in the fact they like to run the football and they both do it well.
Harlan County averages 327 yards on the ground, while the Colonels have tallied 308 yards per game rushing. The difference may be the fact the bulk of the Black Bears' numbers have come from senior running back Jake Middleton, who has put up impressive numbers all season.
Middleton has amassed 1,350 yards and 20 touchdowns on 163 carries this season. He comes in at 193 yards per game. The Black Bears do have two more backs in Austin Maggard and Cole Wilson, who have racked up 269 and 347 yards on the year, respectively.
Black said even though Middleton gets the bulk of the carries, he knows his team will not be able to slack off when the other two get in the game.
“They have several guys that will go in and give the Middleton kid a break and they can hurt you as well,” Black said. “Against a team like this, you can’t afford to take any plays off at all because that’s when you get in trouble.
“Our kids have done a good job of not letting up on defense and they’ll have to do even better this week,” he added.
For the Colonels, the running game has been a back-by-committee style of late. In gaining Whitley County’s 2,157 yards, three backs, Zack Mills (548), Austin Hooper (496) and Boston Bryant (413), have all gone over the 400-yard mark. Quarterback Austin Ysidro has done his part as well, tallying 349 yards on the ground so far this season as well.
That trend will have to continue if Black and company hope to come away the winner Friday.
“We have to continue to do the things we’ve been able to all year and one of those is move the football,” Black said. “Our kids have done a good job at knowing their assignments and doing what we’ve asked of them on the field.
“If you execute and do the things that work, it gives you a shot to be in the game in the late stages,” he added. “This game is no different than any other in the fact we have got to execute if we want to have a shot to win.”
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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