By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
The Knox Central Panthers will try to run their record to a perfect 2-0 while participating in their second straight bowl game Friday in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic.
The Panthers are coming off a 51-7 blowout win over Atherton in the Pioneer Bowl, and will go up against Southwestern at Corbin’s Campbell Field at 6 p.m.
The Warriors are coming off a 14-0 loss to Corbin, which saw the Warriors’ offense get stifled by the Redhounds while being limited to only 150 yards of total offense while turning the ball over one time.
Even though his team will enter Friday’s game as a heavy favorite, but Knox Central head coach Scott Russell was quick to point out that his team can’t overlook Southwestern.
“They are a dangerous team, and better than what people think,” he admitted. “They are a team that if you let them get out on you, they’re going to be hard to stop.
“We can’t get off to a slow start like we did last week against Atherton,” Russell added. “We need to come out and be ready to play.”
Russell said he believes his team might be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after turning in a subpar effort in their scrimmage game against Harlan County two weeks ago.
“I believe they are,” he said. “We are trying to create our own identity, I guess you could say, our own legacy.
“We know we can’t live on our success that happened in the past,” Russell added. “We have to create our own legacy and continue to play well.”
The Panthers did just that against Atherton with tailback Jonathan Gist not missing a beat in the backfield, rushing for 192 yards and two touchdowns while receiver Matt Barger finished the game with 69 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
“We played well at times last week, and I saw improvement,” Russell said. “We just need to build on last week and do a good job on both offense and defense against Southwestern.”
The success freshman quarterback Casey Diamond had last week (threw for close to 100 yards and three touchdowns) might allow Russell to open things up more on offense Friday.
“Casey is improving and he had a lot of positives come out of the game last week,” Russell said. “He is getting more comfortable and that will allow us to open things up some for him. We’re not going to throw it 40 times a game, but we will open things up a bit more this week.”
The key for the Panthers, according to Russell, is for his team to understand things are going to get tougher as the season progresses.
“I think the kids realize what we have in front of us,” he said. “They understand our schedule just gets tougher each week, but I also think they are ready and they know they have to get ready and prepared for Southwestern. If we do the things we are capable of doing, I believe we will be fine.”
Panthers looking to stay unbeaten
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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