By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
WILLIAMSBURG—Whitley County was looking for their first win of the season and found it Thursday with a 4-3 overtime thriller with North Laurel. The Jaguars (3-2-1) were coming off a win over unbeaten Perry County Central.
“I was somewhat surprised, but not completely,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Whitley because I thought they executed a great game plan, but we did play with several injuries and I was forced to have some players out of position.”
Acampa said miscommunication gave Whitley County some opportunities and they converted.
“It was a tough loss, but not a bad loss. We played well in several areas, but didn’t match the intensity that Whitley brought to the game,” Acampa said.
Two of North Laurel’s goals came from Keaton Kennedy on a penalty kick and a free kick. Evan De La Pena scored the other with an assist from Elijah Whitenack.
“We had a couple of opportunities to score in OT but missed wide of the net each time, and with less than two minutes on the clock we missed coverage on the wing allowing Whitley to go unchallenged to the goal,” Acampa said.
The four goals scored by Whitley County equaled what they had scored on the season.
North Laurel was scheduled to play Saturday against a Pikeville team that has only lost once. Tuesday they travel to Middlesboro to face another team looking for its first win.
“(The players) are down as expected. But if they respond well, this will do more for their character than a win could have accomplished,” Acampa said. “After the game I watched Peyton Manning and the Broncos destroy the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens. Tough losses happen in all sports, the way we respond to the loss will define who we are as a team.† I have faith that our boys will grow from this loss and learn to play with more intensity and conviction.”