LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel opened the 2011 season strong with three wins in its first four games. With the only difference this season swapping Campbellsville for Lynn Camp, the Jaguars hope to get off to a similar start.
“Every team wants to win every game. Obviously you want to win your first game, but somebody’s got to lose,” North Laurel coach Chris Larkey said.
North Laurel opened last season with a 45-6 win over Pineville. The Mountain Lions were held to minus-12 yards total offense with both the running and passing games losing yardage. North Laurel racked up 384 yards rushing, led by Gabe Blair with 186. The running game worked so well that North Laurel tried just one pass. Michael Nelson connected with Rashawn Andrews on a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Although North Laurel dominated last year, Larkey said it is a more potent Pineville team in 2012.
“They’ve got a very dangerous football team any time they are on offense. We have our work cut out for us,” Larkey said. “Everyone is going to say you should beat a single A team, but they are a good single A team.”
The Mountain Lions return Andrew Douglas, who rushed for over 1,600 yards as a junior and also led the team in tackles. Douglas is joined in the backfield by senior quarterback Jamie Roan, who threw for 577 yards and four touchdowns last season. Roan completed less than 50 percent of his passes and was intercepted 11 times.
“Pineville has all kinds of skill. They have all their skill players back, plus they got a kid from Middlesboro that was their second-leading rusher and receiver,” Larkey said.
Although the Mountain Lions relied mostly on the running game last year, Larkey expects to see more passes in the air tonight.
“They like to run, but this year they have so much skill to spread it out. They are going to throw the ball quite a bit more,” Larkey said.
Pineville allow 39 or more points in six games on its way to a 4-7 record. It was a disappointing season for a Pineville team coming off an 8-4 record in 2010. Those eight wins included one playoff win before losing to eventual state runner-up Hazard.
The Mountain Lions are 26-39 under coach Bart Elam with their only winning record in 2010. Last year’s meeting between the schools was the first.
It will be the first time Larkey has played at Pineville. He can remember driving past the field with his dad hearing stories of when Tom Larkey played for London High School.
“Every game away is a tough game for us,” Larkey said. “Pineville has a lot of tradition. They are one of the most tradition reach teams in the state of Kentucky.”