By Chris Parsons
LONDON — By the time sweltering midday temperatures started to creep up on the Tri-County, the North Laurel Jaguars football team was halfway through the day’s practice session.
Despite a grueling first two days of practice to start the week, Jaguars head coach Chris Larkey seemed hell-bent on getting his players into shape before the actual football activities began.
The team practiced in groups and as the backs came out for their turn on the track, assistant coaches spouted off what the players could expect (10 100-yard runs, six 50-yard runs and 10 20-yard sprints), all before the actual practice began.
“It’s exciting to get the kids back in here, but there’s work to do,” Larkey said. “We don’t focus too much on getting the kids in shape before they come in here at this point, because they’ve got that two weeks off during the dead period.
“Kids these days aren’t going to do anything except maybe mow the grass, and that’s only if their parents make them get out and do it,” he added. “We get them in here and get them used to running and get them close to being back in shape and that’s what we do the first few days.”
Larkey and the Jaguars are in a different position coming into the season as opposed to the past few seasons. After finishing the 2012 season with a 6-4 regular season mark before falling to Whitley County (40-20) in the first round the playoffs, expectations are high.
Factor in Michael Nelson (1,250 yards rushing) and Gabe Blair (1,058 yards), who both finished the season in the top 15 in the state in Class 5A’s rushing leaders and Larkey said he knows if the Jaguars are going to reach their potential, the work starts with these early practices where players have to withstand the extreme conditions.
“We’ve got a good group of kids, our guys are working hard and everybody had big expectations out of this team,” Larkey said. “You can take those expectations though, and write them down on a piece of paper and they aren’t any good to us, because you can throw that paper in the garbage.
“It comes down to how the kids are going to respond on Friday night and what they’re able to do on the football field,” he added. “That’s why we’re here now trying to get them physically in shape and try to make them a little bit tougher mentally.”
Though it’s still early as far as the practice season goes, Larkey said he feels like his team has a little more confidence than it had at this point last year. Having lost only a handful of seniors from a team that both made the playoffs and finished the season with a winning record for the first time since 2004 means Larkey’s squad will be focused on getting better as opposed to learning the basics over the next few weeks.
“We have a lot of our kids back this year, which is always a good thing,” Larkey said. “From a coaching aspect what that means is a lot of our guys come in knowing their job and what to do, which is a lot better than having to start from scratch and teach them the basics.
“Hopefully the experience will pay off down the road, but for now we have to get these guys in shape,” he added.
Pressure may be on North Laurel following 2012 playoff appearance
By Chris Parsons
- Local Sports
It’s hard to imagine anybody as big as Corbin head coach Jason McDaniel having any trouble filling shoes.
Here we go again
It'll be a matchup between two of the most historic programs in the 13th Region tonight when the Clay County Tigers defend their 13th Region title against the Corbin Redhounds.
The Way It Is
We’re not even through with the 2013-14 season yet, but it’s never too early to talk about next season. Since we’ve crowned a 13th Region champion on the girls’ side of things, let take a glimpse of what might be for the 2014-15 campaign.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
Well, here we are, Corbin vs. Clay County for the right to see who will represent the 13th Region next week at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
For the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, the Corbin Redhounds are headed to the 13th Region finals, after their 56-48 win over the Bell County Bobcats in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Like It or Not
I hate to steal an idea, but I guess in the end that's what everyone seems to be doing these days. After reading Les Dixon’s list of what he thought were the top five upsets in recent memory of the 13th Region Tournament, I decided to rank my top five basketball movies in today's column. With that said, here goes.
Williamsburg sees Cinderella run come to an end
For the third straight year, the Clay County Tigers are playing for the 13th Region Championship and the opportunity to play in the Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena, after their 79-58 victory over the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
- 13th Region Tournament Schedule
Clay County, Bell County fall in semifinal round
Both Corbin and Harlan had to withstand battles during the 13th Region semifinals, but when all was said and done, they both won, punching tickets into the finals of the 13th Region Girls Tournament title game.
Pick Up Game
Six straight 50th District titles and a 10-game winning streak were not enough to place the Corbin Redhounds as the favorite heading into their matchup with the Jackson County Generals in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament.
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