CORBIN — By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Second round action of high school football is in the books and now it’s time to take a seat and look at what we learned this past week.
Player of the Week — There is no doubt about who will be getting this award during second round playoff action. Williamsburg quarterback Dalton Sizemore flexed his muscles running and passing the ball during the Yellow Jackets’ 34-15 win over Harlan. Sizemore led the team with 115 rushing yards on 18 carries while connecting on 14-of-25 pass attempts through the air for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
Moving on — For the second year in a row, Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are the lone team standing in the Tri-County. The Yellow Jackets improved to 11-1 on the season after upending Harlan at home, 34-15. Many expected Herron’s squad to have a big season and they haven't disappointed.
Tough loss — Many believed Knox Central would get past Lexington Catholic during second round action of the Class 4A playoffs, but they just couldn’t get anything going. The Knights stuffed the Panther run game by limiting senior Jeffrey Canady to only 27 yards rushing during the 35-6 loss.
Ground game stuffed — Knox Central’s strength entering the playoffs was its highly-touted “Ground and Pound” rushing attack of Jeffrey Canady and Jonathan Gist. Lexington Catholic stacked the box on the Panther offense and Knox Central earned every bit of its 166 rushing yards. The Panthers averaged 3.9 yards per carry, as Gist led the way with 96 yards on the ground.
Tri-County teams eliminated on Friday — Both Knox Central and Whitley County were eliminated. The Panthers fell behind 21-0 at the end of the first half against Lexington Catholic and lost, 35-6. Whitley County jumped on Pulaski County first, but ended up dropping a 28-13 decision to the Maroons, who improved to a perfect 10-0 at home during post-season play.
Playoff picture — There isn’t much to explain with only one team remaining. Williamsburg will hit the road to play Hazard in the regional title game and the winner will go against either Fairview or Pikeville.
What are the opposing teams’ seeds? — Hazard will enter Friday’s game as its respective district’s No. 1 seed.
Defending state champions — Williamsburg will have a tough time knocking off the defending Class A state champion Hazard Bulldogs. Hazard started the season with a 1-3 record, but have reeled off seven straight wins since a 15-7 loss to Breathitt County on Sept. 21.
Red-hot entering second round play — Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets is the hottest Tri-County team entering the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets are riding a seven-game win streak while outscoring their opponents 313-45 during the process.
Biggest win this past week — It’s gotta be Williamsburg’s win over Harlan. The Yellow Jackets fell behind 7-0 early against the Green Dragons, but responded by outscoring the Green Dragons, 34-8.
Biggest game this week — Williamsburg at Hazard — The Yellow Jackets are two wins away from the Class A state title game. But first things first, they must get past the Bulldogs Friday.
Tri-County Rankings for Nov. 12 – Nov. 16 —
Knox Central held the top spot for over two months, while replacing Williamsburg in the process. Now the Yellow Jackets move into the top spot while Knox Central will finish the season at the No. 2 spot and Whitley County will finish No. 3. Corbin, North Laurel, South Laurel and Lynn Camp round out the rankings.
They said it — "I knew we were going to have to run the ball coming into this game. (Harlan's) Coach (J.B.) Donahue does a great job and he played the pass and tried taking it away, so we had to run the football. Our running backs did a great job, and so did our quarterback. We did a really good job running the football against them." — Williamsburg coach Jerry Herron after seeing his team rush for 281 yards during its 34-15 win over Harlan.
“It was a good effort by our kids and we played hard the whole game. We made some mistakes and you can’t do that in the big games against good teams. When you’re a run team like we are, it’s hard to make a second-and-20 or a third-and-20, so we put ourselves in a hole a few times. You really have to avoid those long yardage situations when you’re playing against a good team like Pulaski County.” — Whitley County coach Jim Black after the Colonels’ 28-13 loss to Pulaski County.
“We just came out flat. Any time you end the season without a state championship, it’s disappointing. I know we’re a better team than the final score showed, but we just didn’t get the job done. They did a very good job stopping our run game. We knew they would stack the box, but we just couldn’t get anything going. We just had too many turnovers and couldn’t execute on offense in the end.” — Knox Central coach Scottie Russell after his team’s 35-6 loss to Lexington Catholic.