CORBIN — By Le Dixon / Sports Editor
Week Nine of high school football is in the books and now it’s time to take a seat and look at what we learned this past week.
Player of the Week — This week I’m going with the Whitley County Colonel offensive linemen and freshman tailback Zack Mills. Whitley County’s big line was a big reason the Colonels ran for 617 yards during their 55-19 win over Letcher Central last week. Mills also ran for more than 200 yards and continues to be the frontrunner for the Times-Tribune Newcomer of the Year award.
Tough district loss — The Knox Central Panthers saw their perfect record come to an end along with winning their first-ever district championship when Russell County beat the Panthers Friday, 35-19. The Panthers turned the ball over three times and didn’t have an answer on how to stop Laker tailback Nick Britt, as Russell County won by 16 points.
Perfect no more — Knox Central was trying to become the first Tri-County team to go undefeated since Corbin captured the feat in 2008, but the Panthers fell to 8-1 after losing to Russell County, 35-19. The Redhounds went 10-0 during regular season play in 08 with wins over teams such as Pikeville, Knox central, Middlesboro, North Laurel, Lexington Christian and Somerset. Corbin advanced all the way to the Class 2A State Semifinals before losing at home to Newport Central Catholic, 26-7. The Redhounds finished the season with a 13-1 mark.
Biggest surprise — I really didn’t think North Laurel would go on the road and beat Lincoln County, but the Jaguars proved me wrong. Chris Larkey’s squad struck early with a 95-yard touchdown pass from Michael Nelson to teammate Cole Lewis and never looked back. The Jaguars are a dangerous team and could make some noise once post-season play begins.
Run away — Jim Black’s Whitley County Colonels had a good day running the ball against Letcher Central last week. The Colonels ran for more than 400 yards during the game’s first two quarters before finishing the contest with 617 yards on the ground. It’s safe to say that’s a lot of rushing yards.
Playoff picture — It looks as if the only team that will not be participating in the state playoffs this season will be the South Laurel Cardinals, who finished the year with a 1-9 record. Who would have ever thought the Cardinals would follow up last season’s 5-6 playoff-appearance season with only one win? Especially since South Laurel returned a lot of skill players back from last season’s squad. But injuries took their toll on Larry Welch’s Cardinals, who were picked by many to make a run at a district championship this season.
What are the seeds? — It looks as if Williamsburg will be the lone No. 1 seed, while Whitley County and Knox Central will be No. 2 seeds. So with that said, those three teams will be at home during the first week of state playoff action. Corbin and North Laurel will be No. 3 seeds, which more than likely means the Redhounds will be traveling to LaRue County while the Jaguars will go on the road to Whitley County. Lynn Camp garners a No. 4 seed and more than likely will play at Hazard for the second straight season during first round action of the Class A state playoffs.
Taking a break — Both North and South Laurel will be taking off this week, which could be a plus for the Jaguars, who will have two weeks to rest their players before the playoffs begin.
They keep on rolling — Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets continue to impress by defeating Lynn Camp, 49-6, this past Friday. The win gave Williamsburg its third straight district title, which turned out to be a program-first.
Biggest win this past week — This biggest surprise was also the biggest win, as North Laurel defeated Lincoln County on the road, 35-14. The Jaguars had a big game out of Michael Nelson, who scored three touchdowns while Gabe Blair also ran for more than 100 yards on the ground.
Biggest game this week — Boyle County at Whitley County — This is going to be a good test for the Colonels going into post-season play. The Rebels are winners of two straight after starting the season with a 1-3 mark.
Tri-County Rankings for Oct. 22 - Oct. 26 —
Knox Central remains at the top spot, while Williamsburg is No. 2. Whitley County stays at No. 3 while Corbin, North Laurel, South Laurel and Lynn Camp round out the rankings.
They said it — “I gained a totally new respect for Coach Herron for what he did tonight. He could have very easily left his starters in there and run up the score on us, but he took a knee. I called a timeout to let our kids know that they had better go over there and show him some respect for what he did. You talk about football, education and life, and putting it in perspective for young men and I really feel like the true side of that kind of stuff came out tonight,” Russell added. “If more acts of kindness were done like Jerry Herron did tonight, our country and our world would be a much better place.” — Lynn Camp coach Phil Russell after his team’s 49-6 loss to Williamsburg.
“This goes back to the fact we are really blessed to have such a strong feeder program. We bring the kids up so that they expect to win a district championship and it starts young. We owe a lot of credit to our boosters and everybody that helps support this program because it’s a group effort.” — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron after his team’s 49-6 win over Lynn Camp.
“They didn’t stop us. We stopped ourselves every time. On the three turnovers we had, they probably would have been scoring drives because they never stopped us. We came in wanting to play ball control, and we were doing that, but when you turn the ball over, you give them the ball in the short field and that makes it tough on you.” — Knox Central coach Scottie Russell after seeing his team fall to 8-1 with a 35-19 loss to Russell County.
“This was huge. We were facing a third-and-20 situation and needed something positive to happen and it did. Michael found Cole in a one-on-one situation and he managed to score. This win will go a long way for us. I thought that touchdown gave us some momentum and it allowed us to pull away from them. I was really pleased with the way we played. I thought we really played good tonight.” — North Laurel coach Chris Larkey after his Jaguars defeated Lincoln County, 35-14, on the road.
“It was a good offensive effort. We could have probably had more. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. We’ve got to clean that up. I thought it was a great job by the line on the execution and then the backs for the most part — good execution on their blocks.” — Whitley County coach Jim Black on his team’s 617-yard rushing performance during the Colonels’ 55-19 win this past Friday.