By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
Week Seven of Tri-County football action only had one surprise with most of our local teams taking care of business on the gridiron. Lynn Camp’s 34-26 loss to Berea surprised many, including myself. It seems when I pick Lynn Camp to win, they lose, and win I pick the Wildcats to lose, they win.
Anyway, the loss to the Pirates put a big dent in Phil Russell’s squad’s hopes of hosting a home playoff game.
With that said, we’ve got a lot of important district games that will take place this week, and I’m sure everyone can’t wait to see who will come out on the winning side of things.
Player of the Week
Gabe Blair, North Laurel
For the second week in a row, North Laurel tailback Gabe Blair will take home top honors. Blair ran for a career-best 318 yards and two touchdowns during the Jaguars’ 48-21 win over Lincoln County Friday. Blair has now run for 512 yards and three touchdowns during the past two games, and is putting up a big case for being named this year’s Tri-County Football Player of the Year.
I was surprised to see just how easy North Laurel had its way with Lincoln County Friday. The Jaguars dominated the action thanks in part to a very good running attack. The duo of Blair and Jake McFadden dominated the action with Blair running for 318 yards while Jake McFadden added 166 yards on only six carries. Yes, you read that right, six carries for 166 yards. The Patriots dropped a 61-35 decision to Pulaski County earlier in the season, but led early in the fourth quarter.
Biggest surprise Part 2
I really thought this might be the year Lynn Camp got to host a playoff game, but its 34-26 disappointing loss to Berea Friday might have hurt those chances in a big way. The Wildcats couldn’t get on track against a revenge-minded Berea squad, who lost to Lynn Camp in 2012.
Making a statement
Corbin showed everyone the loss to Wayne County was a bump in the road by responding with a 60-0 blowout win over outmanned McCreary Central. The Redhounds scored early and often and dominated the action against the Raiders.
The shutout is Corbin’s third this season.
Under the radar
Williamsburg picked up a 47-0 convincing win over district foe Campbellsville, but continues to receive no love when it comes to the high school rankings. I believe the Yellow Jackets are one of the top three teams in Class A, but many continue to rank them as the eighth, ninth or 10th best team. Williamsburg’s lone two losses are against unbeaten Wayne County (7-0) and North Laurel, who is 6-1.
Both Corbin and North Laurel received some much-needed momentum after coming off losses in Week Six. Both teams responded with big-time wins, which sets both the Redhounds and Jaguars up good with key district games looming for both Friday.
This week it has to go to Lynn Camp. The Wildcats were favored going into their game against Berea, but in the end, dropped a 34-26 decision to the Pirates.
The Wildcats were hoping to keep hopes alive to host its first playoff game since 2007, but the loss to the Pirates might have put an end to those hopes.
Big games this week
North Laurel (6-1) at Madison Southern (6-1);
Corbin (6-1) at Bell County (4-3)
Both games have home field advantage in the playoffs on the line Friday, and if both of our local teams are going to win their respective games, they’re going to have to accomplish the feat by winning on the road.
The Redhounds will enter their game against Bell County as the favorite to win, but picking up a win on Log Mountain isn’t an easy task. The last time Corbin played there, the Redhounds dropped a 42-14 decision in 2011. Actually, Corbin has been outscored 83-27 during its last two games in Bell County, and the Redhounds' last win on Log Mountain came in 2003 when they defeated the Bobcats, 24-14.
On the other side of things, North Laurel will have to find a way to contain Madison Southern’s Damien Harris, which is going to be a hard task to accomplish.
North Laurel hasn’t hosted a playoff game since 1994, and a win against the Eagles would move them one step closer to accomplishing the feat.
Tri-County Rankings for
No changes were made with the rankings, as North Laurel remains at the top spot while Corbin is No. 2. Williamsburg is at the No. 3 position while Knox Central, South Laurel, Whitley County and Lynn Camp round out the top 7 teams in the Tri-County.
They said it
“Gabe had a tremendous game. Jake McFadden had a tremendous game. Hagen (Hodges) controlled the offense for us. Our receivers went downfield and blocked for us. First of all, I think I’m ready for a Disney World vacation. It was very stressful tonight. People need to start listening when I tell them the teams are pretty good that we play.” — North Laurel coach Chris Larkey after his team’s 48-21 win over Lincoln County.
“We just didn’t execute when we had to and that’s the difference in the game. We had too many guys standing around watching other guys make plays instead of trying to make the plays themselves. Like I said, they wanted it more than we did and that’s why they won.” — Lynn Camp coach Phil Russell after his team’s 34-26 loss to Berea.
“The kids really played hard. We have some bumps and bruises, but I loved the way they’re running down the field and making plays. I’m pleased with that. I told them I wanted them to look me in the eye after the game and tell me they did everything they could to get the one seed tonight.” — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron on his team’s 47-0 road win over Campbellsville Friday.
“I told the radio before the game that I don't look at records, I look at film. They (Southwestern) are good. They executed well, ran the ball hard, and threw the ball efficiently when they needed to.” — South Laurel coach Matt Rhymer after his team’s 51-0 loss to Southwestern.
“We just got to get better. We had a good game plan. We’ll just get back at it — get back to work.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” he added. “We’ve got Harlan (County) coming in.” — Whitley County coach Jim Black after seeing his team fall to 0-7 on the season with a 67-22 loss to Perry Central.
“They are 4-3, which really isn't a bad record, and we're 6-1. Any time you lose a few games, people want to say you're having a bad year or whatever. The fact remains that we have to go over to Log Mountain and try to get a win in a tough place against a tough team,” he added. “We have some film on them, so we'll be hard at work this week trying to get our kids prepared for what we're up against.” — Corbin coach Steve Jewell on his team’s upcoming game against Bell County.
“We know we’ve got to take care of business first with Rockcastle County. That game is now the most important game of the season for us. If we win that game, we guarantee ourselves a home playoff game, and you always want to play at home as long as you can. If we get past them, then we can focus on Russell County, but for now, we’ve got to find a way to get past Rockcastle County first.” — Knox Central coach Scott Russell on his team’s upcoming game against Rockcastle County.