TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
SOUTH LAUREL — Matt Rhymer’s debut as the South Laurel Cardinal head coach was spoiled thanks to the big-play offense of Class 3A power Wayne County, which torched the South Laurel defense for touchdown scores of 90, 30, 70, 51 and 23 yards during its 36-8 win during Monday’s Cumberland Valley Bowl XIII.
Wayne County (2-0) racked up 344 total yards on offense, as Cumberland Valley Bowl XIII Offensive MVP Tyler Guffey threw for 320 yards and five touchdowns in the win.
“You take away the big plays — I saw some good things,” Rhymer said. “I thought they were getting tired some there, too. I knew this was going to be a process. Just to finish a game and act right and do it with pride, class and character.
“I’m proud of the team, and I’m proud of the coaches,” he added. “I hate losing. We’re not going to continue to lose and we’re going to fix ourselves in this process and win football games I can assure that. I’m glad I’m here and I’m excited about the kids.”
The Cardinals held their own early against Wayne County, until big plays on offense, combined with South Laurel’s struggles on offense led to a 28-0 deficit for Rhymer’s squad.
The Cardinals managed only 20 yards of total offense in the first half while being limited to -1 yards rushing on 22 carries.
“It’s going to take a long time to learn how to play smash mouth football,” Rhymer said. “This place has been so far from that. We’ve not played. This is our first game.
“We’ll make a lot of corrections and we’ll go at it again Friday,” he added. “We’re going to run the same plays. I’ve won championships running these plays. It is what it is — great teams win running the football. We’re going to work on our play-action some, but we’ve got to learn how to run the football and that’s all I’m worried about. I’m worried about how to run block and things like that. We just got to fix ourselves.”
Rhymer’s squad managed to get things going on offense in the second half, and scored its lone touchdown with 7.1 seconds remaining in the game.
Wayne County outgained South Laurel in total yardage, 344-122.
South Laurel will be back in action at home Friday against Rockcastle County.
“We’re going to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for Rockcastle,” Rhymer said.