By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In what North Laurel fans hope to be a memorable season, coach Chris Larkey expects his team to get a test the first week.
“It’s a good team to open up with because they are a pretty good football team. We want to gauge and see how good we are,” Larkey said. “Every game we’ve got this year is a tough game, so we might as well go ahead and get started playing tough games.”
Larkey expects his team to be physically ready. After a tough preseason practice schedule, the Jaguars are ready to hit someone besides each other.
“We have made our practices this year as physical as we can make them. We run our kids hard and we hit every single day. I want our practices to be harder than our games,” Larkey said.
The concerns for the North Laurel defense are a quarterback that can complete some passes and a hard-running fullback.
“They run multiple sets on offense. They like to spread it out and throw the ball. The quarterback has a pretty good arm,” Larkey said.
Claiborne County will also line up in an I formation and run power plays and fullback traps behind a good-sized offensive line. Larkey does think his defense has a speed advantage on Claiborne County.
“They have a humongous tight end, but he’s not real fast, so I think we can cover him. The fullback trap worries me some,” Larkey said.
On defense look for Claiborne County to use a four-man front and play man-to-man on the North Laurel receivers.
“We’ve been working pretty hard on man-to-man routes and beating that guy deep. I think we’ve got some receivers that can beat those guys,” Larkey said.
Claiborne County also has good size in its linebacker corps, but not a lot of speed. A couple of hard-charging outside rushers do concern Larkey.
“We’ve been practicing hard on outside contain because they are going to try to keep us from getting outside,” Larkey said.
The game plan for North Laurel isn’t a surprise for a team that Larkey says gets mad if they don’t run the ball.
“We’re going to try to establish the run. Once you establish the run, you can start throwing the football because they are more worried about stopping the run,” Larkey said.