NORTH LAUREL — North Laurel had hopes of ending the regular season with a momentum-building win over Class 4A power Wayne County, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Cardinals scored 42 points in the first half before recording a 63-32 win over the Jaguars.
Chris Larkey’s squad saw their record drop to 5-5 to end regular season play as they now prepare for Friday’s road playoff matchup with red-hot Whitley County.
The two teams played on Oct. 17 as the Jaguars built a 22-7 second-half advantage before seeing the Colonels rally to pick up a 28-22 victory.
“We had a chance to win the football game in the second half, but we had too many mental mistakes and too many turnovers,” Larkey said about his team's loss to Wayne County. “We can’t make these mistakes next week. We’ve got to come back and have a great week of practice.
“Overall, injuries have got to us the past two weeks,” he added. “We played great at times and defensively, we stopped the ball at times. We are going to fix things this week and hopefully come out next week and get a win against Whitley County.”
Wayne County didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard to take an early 7-0 lead during Friday's game.
The Cardinals marched 64 yards in five plays as quarterback Brody Weaver hit receiver Thomas Spencer with a 35-yard touchdown strike on fourth and two, giving Wayne County a seven-point edge with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Braedon Sloan continued his dominating ways running with the ball, and broke through three tackles while racing 51 yards to find pay dirt on Wayne County’s second offensive possession.
The Cardinals’ lead grew to 14-0 behind Sloan’s 30th touchdown of the season with less than eight minutes remaining.
North Laurel answered on its second possession of the game after putting together a long scoring drive that ate up a lot of time off the clock.
Quarterback Dalton Sizemore snuck into the end zone from one-yard out on second and goal to cut the Jaguars’ deficit to 14-7 with 2:25 left in the first quarter.
North Laurel’s score didn’t seem to affect Wayne County as Weaver threw a 66-yard touchdown pass on second and 17 to give his team a 21-7 advantage going into the second quarter.
The Cardinals’ 14-point edge didn’t last long, though.
Larkey’s squad once again put together another impressive drive and scored during the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Sizemore’s second rushing touchdown of the game cut the Jaguars’ deficit to 21-14.
The back and forth affair continued during Wayne County’s ensuing offensive possession.
Sloan found a hole and raced 35 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 28-14 cushion with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half.
The Cardinals had a chance to distance themselves from North Laurel even more after stopping the Jaguars’ offensive attack.
But North Laurel forced a fumble and recovered before seeing Konner Robinson find the end zone with a 35-yard touchdown run to make the score 28-20 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Another long pass completion by Weaver set up Wayne County’s fifth touchdown of the contest. The Cardinals scored from one-yard out to take a 35-20 lead with 4:40 left.
Sloan was able to extend Wayne County’s advantage to 42-20 after forcing a turnover which led to his 13-yard touchdown run with 3:27 left in the first half.
North Laurel continued to make things interesting by scoring right before the end of the half behind Sizemore’s one-yard touchdown run as the Jaguars trailed 42-26 at halftime.
The Cardinals began to pull away in the third quarter after Sloan added two more touchdowns from 52 and 13 yards out.
North Laurel’s Robinson added another rushing touchdown, a three-yarder, to make the score 56-32 in Wayne County’s favor with 12 minutes remaining in the game.
The Cardinals’ Sloan wrapped up the win by adding a 37-yard touchdown run, allowing Wayne County to roll to the 31-point victory.