TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon
For the Times-Tribune
It seems like it started just yesterday, but with that said, the high school football regular season is over, and once again, the Tri-County will be well-represented with Corbin, Knox Central, Lynn Camp, North Laurel, Whitley County and Williamsburg each making their respective class' playoffs. For the second straight season, the South Laurel Cardinals won't be participating in post-season play, but Matt Rhymer has done a fantastic job with the Cardinals, and they'll be back in the playoffs before you know it.
There were a lot of positives that came out of the 2013 regular season, and now it's time for our respective teams to continue to make noise in the playoffs.
I believe they will.
Player of the Week
Gabe Blair, North Laurel
I'm starting to think we might as well hand Blair the Player of the Year award already. He's now won three of the last four Player of the Week awards, and he captured it again this week, and deservedly so.
Blair ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns during North Laurel's 35-0 win over Grant County, and he also made some history in the process by breaking former Jaguar Brian Durham's single-season rushing record of 1,604 yards. Blair now has 1,643 yards heading into the playoffs.
One of the big reasons the Corbin Redhounds are 8-2 on the season is because of a top-notch defense. The Redhounds recorded their fourth shutout of the season during their 27-0 blanking of Knox Central, and is only allowing 7.6 points per game.
That's right, 7.6 points a game. That's a pretty impressive number.
Want to see something else just as impressive? Corbin has held eight of its 10 opponents it faced this season to under 10 points. Wayne County (35 points) and Casey County (13 points) are the only teams that have scored in double digits against the Redhounds.
I was surprised to see Corbin roll past Knox Central as easily as it did. The game was close until the end of the first half when the Redhounds scored, and the Panthers could never recover. It's a big win for Steve Jewell's squad and a big loss for the Panthers. This game might not have had any playoff implications, but it was meaningful because the winner of the game could gain even more momentum heading into the playoffs.
Making a statement
Williamsburg has flown under the radar in Class A the entire season, but now the Yellow Jackets are beginning to receive the attention they deserve.
If their 47-0 blow out over Pineville doesn't grab the attention of the Class A media, then I don't know what will. Pineville held its own against defending region champion Hazard last week, and Williamsburg led the mountain Lions, 47-0, at halftime before putting in reserves.
This team is good, folks.
Wait and see if the Yellow Jackets aren't the last Tri-County team standing when all is said and done.
No quit in South Laurel
I said it last week, and it's worth repeating this week — Matt Rhymer will turn things around at South Laurel.
The rebuilding process began in Week 0, and he has the Cardinals heading in the right direction. South Laurel picked up a huge come-from-behind win over Leslie County in Week 10, and will build on that in 2014.
Wait and see if the Cardinals don't make some noise next season.
Struggling at the wrong time
No team in the Tri-County needed a win Friday night more than Scott Russell's Knox Central Panthers.
Because the Panthers needed some momentum heading into the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, but they didn't get it. Now Knox Central is trying to find a way to not only end a two-game skid for the second time this season, but also find a way to score some points.
The Panthers will enter their game against Mercer County with an eight-quarter scoreless drought. The injury bug has taken its toll on Russell's squad.
The playoff picture
Want to know who is playing who and where?
Well, here you go.
In Class A action, Jenkins will hit the road to face Williamsburg while Lynn Camp will hit the road to face-off against defending region champion Hazard.
In Class 3A action, Corbin will make a long trip to play Henry County while Knox Central will host Mercer County in a game that is a toss-up. North Laurel will be in search of its first playoff win ever on the road against Perry Central in Class 5A playoff action while Whitley will face the task of trying to be the first team to beat Pulaski County.
So who will advance?
The winners — Corbin, North Laurel and Williamsburg.
The losers — Knox Central, Lynn Camp and Whitley County
Big Game This Week
North Laurel at Perry Central
The Jaguars are trying to capture the program's first-ever playoff win, and it's not going to be easy. It's always hard to win at Perry Central, and it's not going to be any different Friday. Chris Larkey's squad will try to figure out how to score against Dave Mitchell-coached defense. This game should be a thriller.
Tri-County Rankings for Nov. 4 to Nov. 8
North Laurel finishes the regular season as the Tri-County's top team. The Jaguars have shown the entire season they have been the Tri-County's best thanks to a solid running game. Williamsburg comes in at No. 2 while Corbin remains at the No. 3 position. Knox Central stays at No. 4 despite a two-game losing skid while Whitley County, South Laurel and Lynn Camp round out the rankings.
They said it
“Our goal was not to win eight games. Our goal was not to tie the school record for wins. Our goal was to break the school record. Our goal was to get to the playoffs, but our main goal has always been to win a playoff game.” — North Laurel coach Chris Larkey after his team's 35-0 win over Grant County.
“This was one of those nights where the kids did every single thing we asked them to do and it showed. We are really lucky here at Williamsburg to have such a great group of coaches who do a fantastic job getting our kids ready every week and this week was no different.” — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron after his team's 47-0 blow out win over Pineville.