By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The South Laurel Cardinals didn’t really have too much time to prepare for tonight’s game with visiting Rockcastle County.
Since weather forced Saturday’s Cumberland Valley Bowl to be moved to Monday, that gave Coach Matt Rhymer’s team only three days to prepare for the 0-2 Rockets. Rhymer thinks the short week might have been a good thing.
“A short week might be good for us because we know we are going to get a lot of full speed reps which is what we need more than anything,” Rhymer said. “We need to get better every single day and the only way to do that is go at game speed.”
While the Rockets might not be the Rockcastle County of old, Rhymer said his team won’t be overlooking the Rockets. Rockcastle has been outscored, 89-32, in its two losses to Madison Southern and West Jessamine.
“Rockcastle will be a very hungry team,” Rhymer said. “They are 0-2 and looking for a win. They pass the ball a lot which seems like it would be a different style for them. The quarterback is a solid player, he can make plays both with his arm and feet. They have a nice running back that also plays middle linebacker, he is a big, physical kid.”
The quarterback Rhymer is talking about is Corey McPhetridge. In two games he has completed 40 of 71 passes for 477 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Isaiah Adams has rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries, while John Hughes has caught 14 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Harper has 10 receptions for 156 yards and one score.
The Cards (0-1) struggled to move the ball in their 36-7 loss to Wayne County in the Cumberland Valley Bowl. Despite the struggles, Rhymer said his team won’t change much for tonight’s game.
“We don’t plan to make any changes on offense or defense,” Rhymer said. “We believe in what we are doing on both sides of the ball. The only way you can learn to run block and run the football is do them both a lot. On defense we have to play responsible football; the scheme will take care of itself.”
Rhymer said despite the loss to Wayne, he felt like his team played with class and good character.
“Overall I thought we played hard and gave great effort,” Rhymer said. “We have to continue to believe in ourselves and get better at our crafts. Our theme is ‘Process to Success’ and we are really living by that. There may be some pains in that process but we are going to work everyday to change the culture around South Laurel football. I also think for us to be successful we need full support from our school and fans. At this point that has been great and I hope it continues.”
To beat Rockcastle County, Rhymer said there are a few things his team needs to do.
“We have to hold onto the ball, limit penalties, and win the line of scrimmage,” Rhymer said. “On defense we have to stop the run, get pressure on the quarterback, cover wide receivers, pursue the football for four quarters and don’t give up any big plays.” Against Wayne County the Cards gave up too many big plays which resulted in touchdowns. “This will probably work for every game if we can get to playing that type of ball.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Gilliam Field. This will also be South Laurel Football Homecoming night.