“It’s another big test for us,” he said. “Somerset is a very good team and many believe No. 1 in their class. They do everything right.
“They are well-coached, they play hard and they are hard to stop on both sides of the ball — they are very good team.”
The Briar Jumpers (4-1) are led by quarterback Tanner Gadberry and running back Will Lange, while Lange also can do some damage catching the ball along with Cam Cheuvront.
“They have a lot of weapons on offense,” Black said. “We’re going to have to play well over there. They do a lot of things very good, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Whitley County is led by the tailback duo of Zack Mills and Boston Bryant while quarterback Austin Ysidiro can also do some damage on the ground.
Austin Hooper is another player to watch out for. He had a breakout game during last week’s 49-0 win over Lynn Camp.
He ran for 240 yards and two touchdowns while the Colonels rushed for 439 yards on the ground.
“We’re going to have to run the ball this week, too,” Black said. “We need to play a good game on offense and not turn the ball over and defensively, we’ve got to stop them from making the big plays. If we can do that, we’ll be fine.”
The Colonels aren’t going to be pushovers by no means. Whitley County has won two straight games while playing the toughest schedule in the Tri-County.
The Colonels’ lone losses have come against Class 4A’s No. 4 ranked team (Russell County) and Class 3A’s No. 2 ranked team (Bell County).
Whitley County dropped a 49-20 decision to the Lakers, but hung tough against the Bobcats before losing 21-14 at Log Mountain.
“We’ve played tough teams and we’re happy to be where we are at,” Black said. “Last year, we were exactly opposite. We know what we are up against, so we’ve got to be ready for them.
“I know our kids are looking forward to this game,” he added. “I know they are very excited where we are at. We just need to come in and control the clock. We also need to take away the big play, too.”
Knox Cen. at Clay Co.
Where: Clay County High School
Date: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Team Records: K.C. 6-0, Clay Co. 3-2
The inside scoop: The Knox Central Panthers might be off to their best start ever at 6-0, but that doesn’t mean anything at the present time, according to head coach Scottie Russell.
“It’s great to start 6-0, but now we are 0-0 because we are starting district play and we know if we want to accomplish our goals we’ve got to win our district games,” he said.
Knox Central will get a tough test Friday at Clay County when the Panthers will pay a visit to play the Tigers.
“They are a very good team and our guys know what is at stake,” Russell said.
Even though Knox Central has been making history with a 6-0 start, Russell said his players want to continue the feats by winning the school’s first district championship.
“That starts Friday,” Russell said of his team’s goal of winning a district title. “In our district, you can’t afford to lose any district games because it’s such a tight race with everyone.”
Knox Central is coming off an impressive 12-6 win over Harlan County, which has garnered the Panthers a No. 5 ranking in Class 4A, but Russell said his team's focus is now shifted to Clay County.
“We’ve done our best to make sure our players don’t let their guard down this week,” Russell said. “Our guys know we can’t afford to have a letdown against Clay County. It’s a brand new season now.”
The Tigers (3-2) are led by University of Kentucky signee Jacob Hyde, who has been impressive on both the offensive and defensive line while Sam Carr leads Clay County with 708 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Joey Dezarn has 319 yards on the ground while quarterback Ryan Holland has completed 34 of 45 pass attempts for 545 yards and four touchdowns.
“Clay County has a lot of weapons,” Russell said. “We’ve got to do our best to contain them.”
Even though the Tigers have put up some impressive numbers individually, so has Knox Central.
The Panthers are led by senior Jeffrey Canady, who has 1,54 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns on the ground, while teammate Jonathan Gist has 688 rushing yards and five TDs. You also have to keep an eye on quarterback Devon Evans, who has rushed for 300 yards while passing for 580 yards and five touchdowns.
“For us, it’s very important to get off to a good start on the road,” Russell said. “We know we’ve got to win every district game to accomplish our goal and you can’t reach that goal if you don’t win this game, so it’s very important.”