By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The only thing on the line for South Laurel tonight against Madison Southern is pride.
The Cardinals are out of the playoff picture in a season that started with high expectations but was derailed by, among other things, several key injuries.
What a difference a year makes.
Last season, when these two met, both teams were battling for a playoff spot, with the Cards prevailing, 37-17, to secure the No. 3 seed and knock the Eagles out of the playoffs. Madison Southern is in the playoffs this year, and will be looking for a little revenge for last year’s loss.
Even though South Laurel lost last week to Pulaski County, the Cards played a very good game, which pleased coach Larry Welch.
“We played hard which resulted in a better job on defense of tackling and stopping them,” Welch said. “On offense we had no turnovers and moved the ball well.” It was the only game this season that the Cardinals didn’t turn the ball over.
If the Cards are to be successful tonight in stopping Madison Southern, they will have to stop running back Damien Harris. This season, Harris has rushed for 1,605 yards and 32 touchdowns. He averages 229 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry.
“He’s an excellent running back,” Welch said. “Very fast and athletic.”
While Harris is a good portion of their offense, he isn’t their only weapon. Coty Russell has rushed for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Adam Simpson has throw for 610 yards and four touchdowns while only being intercepted once.
“They have two good receivers in (Devate) Linville and (John) Williams,” Welch added. Linville has caught 12 passes for 138 yards, while Williams has 15 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. Harris has come out of the backfield to catch three passes for 92 yards and two scores.
“Their offensive and defensive lines are also physical,” Welch said.
As of press time, Tyler Detherage is expected to return after missing last week.
“We need to play hard this week and stop the big plays, especially from Harris,” Welch said. “On offense we have to keep moving the ball and keep them off balanced.”
This is also Senior Night at South Laurel. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.