TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Les Dixon For The Endzone
The bye week came at the right time for the Knox Central Panthers.
After seeing his team jump out to a 5-2 record and 1-0 mark in district play, Knox Central coach Scott Russell said this past week has been a blessing for his team.
“We needed this week off,” he admitted. “We needed to heal some of our injuries, and now we’re ready to go. We always try to play four or five games and then a district game before taking a bye, and that is what we did this season.
“It allows our kids to get refreshed a bit, and also allows them to be kids, too,” Russell added. “With the Daniel Boone Festival being this week, we thought it would be great to be off, and let our guys enjoy themselves a bit.”
But once the the bye is over, Russell said he expects his team to get back to its normal routine of business as usual.
“Kids are going to be kids, and I’m sure they are going to have some fun, but they also realize what we have ahead of us, too,” he said. “They’ll get back to business after this bye, and we'll prepare them for what's ahead.”
What’s ahead is two crucial district games for the Panthers.
Knox Central will host Rockcastle County Friday, and a win over the Rockets will assure Knox Central of at least one home playoff game, and a district championship match-up with defending district champion Russell County the following week.
“We know we’ve got to take care of business first with Rockcastle County” Russell said. “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.”
One positive that has came out of the bye is tailback Jonathan Gist is at 100 percent now.
“He’s 100 percent and that's a plus for us,” Russell said. “We’ve made some moves on defense, and that really helped in the Clay County win, and right now, I'm happy with where we are at. We just need to continue to play well, and I believe positive things will happen for us.”