By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
There was nothing typical about North Laurel’s final regular season game. The Jaguars defeated Wayne County 3-0, but they weren’t even supposed to play Wayne County.
“It was senior night, so we were very thankful Wayne County agreed to play the game,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said.
Hazard was on the North Laurel schedule for this night, but cancelled the game for lack of players. That left North Laurel scrambling to find an opponent. The Cardinals agreed to make the trip, although they already had a 7-0 loss at North Laurel the second game of the season.
That wasn’t the only reason this game was a little different. Since it was senior night the lineup was shuffled to favor the six seniors.
“We got them all in. We let them start and have most of the playing time,” Acampa said. “So we didn’t play like we normally would, but it was a good night.”
Although some players were out of position, there was no shortage of shots for the Jaguars. They fired 12 shots, with several near misses, before finding the goal.
“They still moved the ball pretty good and they certainly got plenty of shots,” Acampa said.
The Jaguars first goal came with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Josh Carter had already missed on two shots earlier in the half. This time he would connect from just inside the box.
Wayne County had still not taken its first shot of the half. That would come six minutes later and was more of a long pass than a shot that keeper Nick Herrmann scooped up. They managed just one more shot in the first half.
The Jaguars would make it 2-0 just before halftime when Hunter Riley scored on a nice pass from Will Bruner.
North Laurel’s third goal came midway through the second half on a pass from Keaton Kennedy to Evan De la Pena. De la Pena’s shot was so strong the keeper said he did not see it.
“It was a light-hearted atmosphere. They played loose and just tried to remember the good times they’ve had over the past four year,” Acampa said.
The North Laurel seniors will have at least one more game when they host the 49th District Tournament next week. The Jaguars will face Whitley County Tuesday at 7:30.