January 10, 2014

North's Nelson Border Bowl bound

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — North Laurel’s Michael Nelson has been named to the Kentucky All-Stars that will take on the Tennessee All-Stars Saturday in the National Guard Border Bowl at the University of the Cumberlands.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game will be at 12:35 p.m. and will air on FOX Sports South.

“He isn't just an athlete with tons of speed,” North Laurel coach Chris Larkey said. “He is a hard hitter and understands the game.  He is very competitive and wants to win at whatever he does.”

Nelson started at both quarterback and safety as North Laurel finished 8-3 and earned a playoff berth. Nelson played in nine of 11 games this season and was limited in others due to a high ankle sprain. He still rushed for 648 yards and nine touchdowns at quarterback. Nelson played in all 11 games as a junior and led the Jaguars with 1,340 yards and 23 touchdowns.

“There are college coaches at all of the practices and will be at the games, so this will be an opportunity for him to get more exposure,” Larkey said.

Where Nelson will play Saturday and in college is still a matter of debate. Larkey expects he will see action at receiver in the Border Bowl.

“Not sure on college, he has lots of offers and could play defensive back or wide receiver,” Larkey said.

Nelson is the fourth North Laurel player to compete in the Border Bowl since Larkey took over in 2009. Those players include Raymond Shears, Brandon Ball, Rashawn Andrews, and now Nelson.

North Laurel had other players honored this season with awards. Gabe Blair earned Associated Press All State, Courier Journal Third Team All State, WYMT All Mountain Team, and Tri-County Player of the Year. Hunter Gilpin and Keaton Kennedy were named Honorable Mention All State by the Courier Journal.

Joining Nelson in the Border Bowl are other local football players Taylor Waddle (Corbin), Tyler Guffey and Simon Vanderpool (Whitley County), Dalton Sizemore (Williamsburg), Kagen Skidmore (Somerset),  Aaron Smith and Will Mobley (Pulaski County).