TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
CLAY COUNTY – The North Laurel Jaguars may have pulled away for a 33-6 win over the Clay County in the Appalachian Bowl Saturday, but head coach Chris Larkey was none too pleased with his team's effort when all was said and done.
After leading just 10-6 at halftime, the Jaguars had to mount a 16-point fourth-quarter effort to pull away late, improving to 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2009 and the second time under Larkey’s watch.
After the game though, you would’ve never guessed that Larkey's squad had come out on the winning side of things by the way he talked.
“I thought we played uninspired today,” he said. “I don’t ever know why teenagers do what they do and I just can't figure them out. It's 2013 and I can't figure it out.
“We played uninspired and we played flat and it was just like we came over here and it just threw us all out of whack coming over on a Saturday,” he added. “We stayed out here for an hour and not being able to go back to the locker room and this whole TV thing just threw the time off for us completely.”
Regardless of whether his team was out of whack, the Jaguars managed to put things together late in the game when the outcome could have gone either way, especially when the two teams each fumbled four times in a minute-and-a-half during a third-quarter stretch with the score standing at 10-6 in North Laurel’s favor.
Neither team seemed to want to capitalize on the turnovers before North Laurel finally managed to piece together a mini-drive that saw the Jaguars go 23 yards, capped off with a three-yard touchdown run by Gabe Blair to stretch his team’s lead to 17-6 with six seconds to play in the third quarter.
Once the fourth quarter started, the Jaguars seemed to be fine.
North Laurel used a seven-play drive to find paydirt on an 11-yard touchdown run by Jake McFadden, giving his team a 23-6 lead with 6:26 to play in the game.
Clay County fumbled the football for the fourth time in the game on its next possession, giving the Jaguars a chance to extend their lead
The Jaguars took advantage of the turnover in a big way when Michael Nelson broke free for a 76-yard touchdown, giving North Laurel’s advantage to 30-6 with 3:13 to play in the game
Clay County had one last effort to try and cut into its deficit, but the Tigers’ drive ended when the North Laurel’s Isaac Napier pulled down an interception to end the any hopes of a Clay County comeback with 2:01 to play in the game.
North Laurel looked poised to run the clock down, but eventually Larkey called on his kicking phenom, Keaton Kennedy, to take a chance on a 25-yard field goal attempt, which went through the uprights as time expired. Kennedy connected with a 41-yard field goal earlier in the contest.
Nelson and Blair continued to share the load for the Jaguars as Blair tallied 134 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, while Nelson ran the ball 13 times for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jake McFadden came up big as well with a touchdown in the fourth quarter, managing 41 rushing yards in the game.
With his team sitting at 3-0, Larkey said he’d take the win, but he's concerned with something that may be affecting the squad. Russell said the possibility of coming into some of the games overconfident is something he expects to handle come Monday.
“I don’t know if our kids are reading these websites or message boards or if it's the media telling them how good they are, but we're going to fix that because we still have a long way to go if we want to be considered a good football team this season,” he added. “We’ll get back to work and fix some of the things that have hurt us and try to move on from here and get better as a football team.”