By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Much like last week, the North Laurel Jaguars find themselves in what head coach Chris Larkey called a must-win situation against Southwestern.
The bad news is that last week the Jaguars came up short against Pulaski County as they had what Larkey called a mental letdown in the fourth quarter. The good news is that Larkey said he doesn’t believe that type of thing will happen to his team again.
“We talked to the kids and they really thought they had the game won,” Larkey said. “We told them the importance of fighting until the end in everything you do.
“In the end, this will end up being a valuable lesson not only in football, but in life,” he added. “You have to give 100 percent in everything you do or else you’re going to come up short most of the time.”
As they head into this week’s match-up against Southwestern, Larkey’s team is sitting at 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in district play. A loss would seriously damage the Jaguars hopes of a playoff spot, while a win will go a long way as far as confidence.
Much like North Laurel, the Warriors bring with them a strong running game with Logan Campisano leading the way with 791 yards and eight touchdowns on 138 carries for an average of 132 yards per game. Jordan Maggard and Austin Smiddy are also weapons Southwestern will look to occasionally. The pair combines for an average of 89 yards per game, close to 500 yards on the ground between the pair.
For North Laurel, the duo of Michael Nelson and Gabe Blair have handled the majority of the team’s workload on the ground. Nelson is averaging 129 yards per game with 876 yards and 15 touchdowns on 101 carries. Blair has tallied 690 yards and three touchdowns on 101 carries. Combined, Nelson and Blair have accounted for 75 percent of the team’s scoring.
“Both of those guys have done a good job running the football and we have to continue to do a good job if we want to win this week,” Larkey said. “A lot of the credit goes to our offensive line and really the whole team because the kids have done a good job of working together as a whole.
“At the same time, we have got to BE ready for Southwestern’s running game on defense,” Larkey said. “Instead of a dual threat like we have, they actually have a triple threat when it comes to running the football. If you stop one of them, one of the other two can sneak in and have a good game on you.”