By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
South Laurel’s playoff hopes aren’t quite dead, but they are on life support.
“If we win our last two games it seems like it might be a possibility,” South Laurel coach Larry Welch said of his team’s chances.
But winning those last two games won’t be easy.
First off, the Cards visit Pulaski County tonight. The Maroons are the top team in the district with a perfect 3-0 record, including last week’s 37-36 win over Madison Southern, handing the Eagles their first district loss of the season.
Right now South Laurel’s in last place with an 0-3 record. North Laurel and Madison Southern are tied for second at 2-1, Southwestern and Lincoln are tied for third at 1-2. The Cards still have a little playoff hope alive, but they need to win out and get some help.
First things first. South has to beat Pulaski tonight.
To stop the Maroons, the Cardinal defense will once again have to shutdown the running game led by Tyler Goins, who has rushed for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns. He comes into the game averaging 118 yards per game.
“They have a really good running back in Goins,” Welch said. “He concerns me a lot.”
In last week’s win over Madison Southern, Goins rushed for 160 yards and three TDs. The Maroons average 173.8 yards on the ground, most coming from Goins. Alec Wooldridge has rushed for 180 yards and one score.
But Goins isn’t the only threat South has to worry about. Pulaski can also air it out when needed, led by quarterback Riley Hall, who has passed for 1,134 yards and five touchdowns.
“Their quarterback and receivers are good,” Welch said. “They like to spread you out and run screens and certain run plays. Hall is a very good runner when scrambling and on certain run plays.” Hall has rushed for 165 yards and one touchdown this season.
When Hall does throw, he has a number of receivers to choose from.
Goins has caught 28 passes for 277 yards and two scores. Aaron Hall has grabbed 27 passes for 261 yards and two scores. Caleb Cox, Aaron Smith and Mason Helton have all caught passes for over 100 yards this season.
“Their short passing and screen game really concerns me,” Welch said.
On defense, Pulaski plays physical and a 3-3 front and are good at covering the pass. The Maroons are allowing 162 yards passing and 201 yards rushing per game. They have also recovered 10 fumbles and intercepted the opposing quarterback three times. Pulaski averages scoring 27.4 points per game while giving up 25.7. South averages 24.1 points per game but gives up 40.1.
The Cards continue to be banged up and will be without the services of quarterback Tyler Detherage, Devin Pennington, Seth Stewart, David Byrd, Cam Shepherd, Jake Bush, Austin Rader and Zach Allen. With Detherage out, Jonathan Jenkins will see his first varsity start.
“We need to play without turnovers and take away big plays on defense,” Welch said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Pulaski County.