By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Chris Larkey’s North Laurel Jaguars could reach unfamiliar territory if they can get past Leslie County in a road test today.
The Jaguars are off to their best start (3-0) since 2009, and a win over the Eagles would allow them to get off to their best start in the program’s history, which has only been accomplished once when former coach Greg Duncum guided North Laurel to a 4-0 start in 2001.
“The big thing for us is that we’ve gotten better each week,” Larkey said. “This bunch is having fun and we’re doing things to get better. We know we have another tough game coming up. Leslie County is 2-1, and we know they’re going to be tough to beat at their place, but we are playing good.
“I know I sound like I’m not happy after a game, but after watching the film, I can see we are improving,” he added. “Our run game has improved, our defense has improved and our kicking has, too. Our kicking game is making us that much better.”
North Laurel will try to continue its success today against a Leslie County team that has recorded wins over both Harlan (26-21) and Knott County Central (41-24). The Eagles suffered their first loss last week, a 34-7 decision to Morgan County.
“We can’t overlook any one, and I believe we know that,” Larkey said. “This day and age the kids see stuff on the Internet and things like that, but we also know we’ve got to be ready to play, no matter what.
“Leslie County likes to throw the ball,” he added. “They don’t run the ball as much, but they’ve got a lot of skill kids that are tall and that can catch the football. They might not be the best team we’ve faced this season, but we can’t overlook them.”
The Eagles will have to try to find a way to slow down the Jaguar rushing attack.
Quarterback Michael Nelson leads the way with 369 rushing yards and six touchdowns while Gabe Blair has ran for 365 yards and four scores. Another threat in the backfield is Jake McFadden, who has ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Nelson is also a threat throwing the ball. He’s connected on 11-of-23 pass attempts for 185 yards while Cole Lewis leads North Laurel with four receptions and 80 yards.
“Going to Leslie County will be a disadvantage because it’s tough playing on the road,” Larkey said. “We just need to continue to play well, and play like this is our last game.”
A win today over Leslie will give North Laurel its first 4-0 start since 2001
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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