By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Something has to give tonight.
When South Laurel travels to take on Lincoln County, it will be a battle between the final two teams in the district without a district win. Both enter the game at 0-2 and riding losing streaks. The Cardinals have dropped five in a row, including last week’s heartbreaking 42-41 setback in overtime against Southwestern. The Patriots have lost three in a row, with last week’s 47-19 loss to Madison Southern being the latest defeat.
Both remain alive in the playoff hunt, but a loss by either team, while not eliminating them from any post season play, would certainly make it harder to advance. The Cards still have Pulaski County and Madison Southern to face, while Lincoln has to battle North Laurel and Southwestern. The Maroons and Eagles face each other tonight with the winner being the only unbeaten district team.
While the Cards lost last week, coach Larry Welch did like the fact that his team was able to move the ball and score against the Warriors, something he hopes continues tonight at Death Valley.
“We need a carry over on what we have practiced and our offense needs to continue with effective drives like last week,” Welch said.
Like most of the teams South Laurel have faced this season, the Patriots like to run the football.
“They run from a three back set to one, so they use different formations,” Welch said. “And they have an offensive line that are good blockers, and the backs block well for each other.”
Logan Martin, Marvin Robinson, Deonte Coulter and quarterback Justin Hubble are all capable runners. Coulter can also catch the ball when the Patriots throw it, and is a danger on kickoff returns, as evident of his 81-yard return for a touchdown last week against Madison Southern.
The Cards continue to be banged up and will be without the services of Seth Stewart (broken foot), David Byrd (shoulder), Cameron Shepherd (separated shoulder) and Zach Allen, who suffered a grade three concussion and whiplash in last week’s game against Southwestern. Austin Rader is still out with a torn PCL.
Both teams have a tendency to give up the big play, something Welch said his team needs to avoid this week.
“On defense we have to limit the big play and do a good job tackling,” Welch said. “In all the tapes I’ve seen on Lincoln they have been in all their games they just gave up some big plays in the one’s they lost.” Welch noted that their defense is very aggressive and plays physical.
After the stunning OT loss to Southwestern last week, several South Laurel players were visibly upset. Welch noted that, to play so hard and come up short on the last play, was tough on his team.
“This week we have practiced hard and looked at some of the positive points, like how well we moved the ball at times last week,” Welch said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight in Stanford.