TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Although it’s still early in the season, the Lynn Camp Wildcats are riding a wave the team hasn’t seen the likes of since September of 2009.
That’s the last time a Wildcats team had picked up consecutive victories before last week’s 29-28 win over Harlan at Mitchell Field.
Second-year head coach Phil Russell has his team one win away from matching last year’s victory total (3-8) and said that he feels like the Wildcats’ confidence is as high as it has been since his arrival at the school.
“I noticed this week our guys kind of sitting together in the cafeteria at lunchtime, talking about the big plays from our win over Harlan, kind of reminiscing,” Russell said. “You can really see a difference in their attitude and their confidence as they carry themselves down the halls at school.
“We knew last week was going to be a battle and I told my guys at halftime I wouldn’t be surprised if the game wasn’t won in the last few minutes,” he added. “That’s exactly the way it played out and our guys were able to do what they needed to do to be able to come out on top.”
This week the focus turns not only to a familiar foe in the Pineville Mountain Lions, but also a familiar face as Russell and company go up against a team coached by his good friend, Bart Elam.
While the two are as close as family members off the field, Russell said it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand.
“Me and Bart come from the same tree and he’s one of my best friends in life, not just coaching,” Russell said. “His kids call me Uncle Phil and some day my kids will call him Uncle Bart, so we’ve got a lot of history.
“We snuck in there and picked up a win over them last year, so I’m sure he’ll be trying to return the favor this week,” he added. “We have to be able to stay focused and keep doing the things we’re doing, which is look to our leaders to make plays for us.”
Pineville poses a dual threat offensively thanks to running back Conner Ford and freshman quarterback Tuck Woolum.
So far this season Ford has rushed for 404 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries for Pineville, while Woolum has thrown for 607 yards and six touchdowns, completing 34-of-65 pass attempts. Four of those touchdowns have come via Dalton Ledbetter, who has racked up 261 yards and four touchdowns on 14 catches.
Given the fact the Mountain Lions can move the football, Russell said he’s got his defense on high alert as Friday approaches in hopes of securing the team’s third win of the season.
“They are a very dangerous football team and that’s what we’re telling our guys,” Russell said. “They do a lot of the same stuff that we do on offense and he’ll run a trick play at any time to try and catch the defense napping.
“He tries to out-scheme you and if he knows what you’re going to give him on the defense, he usually has two or three things he can go to,” he added. “It’s going to be a battle that’s for sure, but I expect our kids to be ready for the task at hand.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lynn Camp’s Mitchell Field.