LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Forget last year’s 1-10 record. The 2012 version of the Clay County Tigers are a much different team.
The Tigers come into South Laurel tonight with a 2-1 record. After losing its first game to Garrard County, 15-14, Clay County has won its last two, beating Washington County, 56-14, and last week, Perry County Central, 28-19.
“They are a big, physical team that has some really good linemen,” South Laurel coach Larry Welch said. “Jacob Hyde is just one of the five that’s good. They do a really good job blocking.”
Clay County likes to run. As a team, the Tigers have rushed for 753 yards in three games. They are led by the duo threat of Sam Carr and Joey Dezarn. Carr has carried the ball 37 times for 285 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 95 yards per game. His big game was the season opener against Garrard County where he rushed for 173 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.
Dezarn isn’t far behind with 29 caries for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He averages 85 yards per game. In last week’s win over Perry Central, Dezarn rushed for 237 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns, not too bad for someone who is primarily a wide receiver.
After catching just one pass for zero yards against Garrard County, Dezarn caught five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown against Washington County.
“They are a run downhill type of team that challenges teams physically,” Welch said.
Ryan Holland is the Tiger quarterback. He has thrown for 337 yards and three touchdowns while only being intercepted once. He’s also a threat to run with 68 yards and three touchdowns.
“They like to play action pass,” Welch said. When Dezarn isn’t catching the ball, Travis Smith is. He’s caught 12 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
After last week’s 62-13 loss at Russell County, Welch was disappointed in his team’s effort and execution. The Cardinal defense allowed too many big plays, and that’s something he wants to see an improvement on this week.
“We have to take away the big plays,” Welch said. “Make good decisions and play smart. All our defenders have to get to the ball with relentless pursuit.”
The Cards have been outscored this season, 108-88, while Clay has outscored its opponents, 98-48.
During practice leading up to tonight’s game, Welch said they have worked really hard on everyone giving their most. They came out of the Russell County game without any injuries, but they still have Austin Schaser, James Johnson and Jordan Hooker out. “We hope to get them back in a week or so,” Welch said.
As for the keys to winning tonight’s game, Welch said there are many.
“On offense we have to take what Clay gives us, be patient and smart with our reads, and through effort turn ordinary plays into big gains. Clay plays a sound, physical type of defense. On defense, good tackling, being physical, getting off their blocks, pursue the ball by all 11 players.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at South Laurel High School.