LONDON — After having three weeks off, Chris Larkey’s North Laurel Jaguars are ready to hit the field Friday with hopes of knocking off top-seeded Pulaski County in first-round action of the Class 5A playoffs.
The last time North Laurel (3-5) stepped on the field to play a game was back on Oct. 30 — a 43-8 loss to Wayne County.
“Having an extra week which turned into three weeks hurts a team,” Larkey said. “It gets them out of shape, gets them out of sync, and it’s hard for kids to just practice knowing they won’t play for a long time. We did try to do fun things in practice these last two weeks and cut some of the practices short. We did get back to basics and just have fun.
“It has been a different season bust also has been the most difficult season I’ve ever dealt with,” he added. “I’m proud of the guys who stuck it out ever since June when they didn’t know if we would play or not. I’m proud of them for making the playoffs when most of the teams in Kentucky didn’t. I’m happy our kids get a game in the playoffs and for all that has happened this year, I’m proud of those guys still here working. People have to realize we are a very, very, young team.”
Pulaski County won the first meeting between the two teams, a 41-18 victory back on Oct. 9.
The Jaguars were outgained in total yardage, 423-313, while Maroon quarterback Drew Polston threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
“Pulaski has the most athletes and speed of any team we have faced,” Larkey said. “We have to be able to get a rush on their quarterback, cover the wide receivers, and be able to control the clock to keep their offense off the field.”
North Laurel did have success moving the ball against Pulaski County during the two teams’ first meeting but turnovers played a big role in the Jaguars’ loss.
Quarterback Tucker Warren threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns while Grant Woods ran for 86 yards and a touchdown.
“The keys to success are to move the ball and be able to cover their wide receivers,” Larkey said. “They have a great group of wide receivers and a very experienced and athletic team. Our kids are excited to get to play another game.”