Coming off last week’s tough, 7-6 loss to North Laurel, coach Larry Welch looks to regroup his South Laurel Cardinals as they make the trek east on the Hal Rogers Parkway to battle Clay Co. tonight.

“Last week was a tough loss, but we’ve tried to instill the point if we not make turnovers and penalties, we would have had a better chance of winning,” Welch said.

The Cardinals and Tigers haven’t met since 2002, when South Laurel came away with a 23-20 victory. Clay Co. comes into tonight’s game at 1-1, having beaten Lynn Camp, 48-0, to open the season, then lost last week to Scott Co., 38-8.

“The season has gone well so far,” coach Shannon Arnett said. “We are working on ironing out the wrinkles in a new offensive scheme, and our kids are starting to understand what it is that we want.”

Arnett said his Tigers are more of a running team right now, but “we are working on becoming more balanced as an offense.”

Clay Co. has several good running backs, including C.J. Miller, Noah Reid, Tanner Gilbert and quarterback John V. Hooker, and they have several other players that Arnett feels could step in and get the job done if needed.

In the win over Lynn Camp, Reid rushed for 166 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 53 yards and a score. Hooker was 9-of-11 for 189 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran for 68 yards and a score. Against Scott Co., Hooker was 9-of-20 for 77 yards, one touchdown and one interceptions.

“Clay are big and physical with several talented, skilled players, like their quarterback and their running backs,” Welch said.

The Cardinals will be looking for Tyler Vaughn to continue his impressive ground game. The South Laurel back rushed for 227 yards two weeks against Williamsburg. Chase McWhorter and Nick Miller have also seen time carrying the ball for the Cardinals.

“Their backs are very hard runners,” Arnett said. “I know that South Laurel’s kids play hard. I think they have some of the same problems that we have had so far, inconsistency because of a new offensive scheme. I expect a very intense, physical game. I am excited about renewing the rivalry with South Laurel.”

“We need to work on securing the football, and our mindset on penalties,” Welch said. “I think our effort last week was consistent throughout the entire game.” It seemed like in the loss to North Laurel, every time the Cardinals threatened, they either turned the ball over and were hit with a penalty.

“We have to control the game by being able to run the football, and be sound on our special teams,” Arnett said. “If we can accomplish those two things, we should be competitive.”

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Clay Co.

Denis House can be reached at

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