LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
It would be easy to look at records and call this an easy win for North Laurel. The Jaguars are 4-0 and have outscored their opponents 196-46. Southwestern is 0-5 and has been outscored 147-94. You have to look a little deeper to get a feel for Thursday night’s opponent.
“The average fan may think they’re 0-5 and we’re going to beat that team real easy,” North Laurel coach Chris Larkey said. “They have definitely played a tough schedule.”
Three of the losses have been to Corbin, Belfry, and Wayne County. All three of those teams are still unbeaten. The Warriors lost to rival Somerset and then Knox Central by three points each. Somerset’s only losses have been to unbeaten Belfry, Pulaski County, and highly-rated Hazard. Knox Central only losses have been to traditional powers Harlan County and Bell County. The bottom line is Southwestern has faced a brutal schedule.
Larkey has faced Southwestern twice, including last year’s 17-7 win. The Jaguars trailed 7-2 at the half before scoring a pair of second half touchdowns.
“It was a tough game for us last year. We could have easily lost that game,” Larkey said.
The two teams also met in 2011 with Southwestern rolling to a 56-0 win.
Typically Southwestern football teams are known for being big and physical. This year’s team is no exception.
“They are real physical, which is not a good matchup for us because we don’t have a whole lot of meat on our guys. We’re just not a big football team. It’s going to present us some problems running the football. We just have to man up and play tough football because they are going to bring them all up there to stop us,” Larkey said.
The Warriors defensive scheme is a five-man front with two linebackers and four cornerbacks. Their emphasis will be on stopping the North Laurel running game.
“We’re going to have to be able to throw the ball some. I know I say it every week, but we’re definitely going to have to throw it some. We’ve been working on that in practice,” Larkey said.
On offense the Warriors will rely heavily on the running of Logan Campisano, who burned the Jaguars for 163 yards last season.
“They have one of the best running backs around in Campisano. He’s real, real shifty. He can bounce and be 100 miles per hour in a heartbeat,” Larkey said. “They have a lot of seniors on offense. They like to spread you out and run the football.”
There is one other factor that makes records obsolete going into this matchup. It is the first district game for both teams.
“Nobody’s lost and nobody’s won so it all starts brand new Thursday night.” Larkey said.
Kickoff is set for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at The Jungle at North Laurel.