All three local football teams prepare in much different ways

With high school football Week 6 upon us, three different local football teams prepare three much different ways.

For Southwestern, Week 6 will be a week of rest and recovery. Southwestern's off-week couldn't have came soon enough with the Warriors suffering substantial injuries almost every week. Now Coach Jason Foley will be given an extra week to hopefully get back an almost full team back on the field. And he will need a full team, as the following week will begin his four-week slate of district match-ups.

For Pulaski County, Week 6 will start the Maroons' district slate on the road with an always dangerous Whitley County. Over the years past, these two teams have always played some big post-season games. The good news for the Maroons, they have been battle tested on the road by starting the 2019 season out with six straight road games (counting the two scrimmages).

For Somerset, it is Homecoming Week against a winless Class A program. Russellville has lost all five of their games, and have been shutout in three of those losses. Hopefully, the Briar Jumpers will be able to take care of business this week to keep up their undefeated record and state's top ranking.

Russellville at Somerset

In Week 5, Somerset came out with the 41-13 win over Williamsburg to up their perfect mark to 4-0. Williamsburg kept the game close in the early goings, but Somerset's offensive power was just too much in the end.

The Briar Jumpers' 'Big Three' - Kaiya Sheron, Kade Grundy and Alex Miller - did most of the offensive damage. Sheron completed 17 passes for 300 yards, and threw a pair of TD passes. Miller carried the ball 26 times for 142 yards with three touchdowns. Grundy caught six passes for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns.

"Williamsburg was a quality opponent and were tough against the run," Somerset football coach Robbie Lucas stated. "They could throw the ball very well and threw over the top of us a couple times in the first half. In the second half, we were able to wear them down by running the ball. Our numbers were a little better than theirs and I think we had more bodies, which helped going into the third and fourth quarter."

Somerset will host the 0-5 Panthers of Russellville this Friday. Russellville has been outscored 221 to 43, but Somerset coach Robbie Lucas still has concerns that his opponents may be stronger than what their record indicates.

"This is going to sound like a coach speaking, but I can't figure out how Russellville is 0-5," Lucas said. "They have great size, great athleticism, and they've got a few kids that can take it to the house on any play. Their numbers might be down, but I am very impressed with what I see with them in size and athleticism."

Most of Russellville's offense comes from Jovari Gamble, who has rushed for 226 yards and has caught seven passes for 127 yards.

The other aspect that concerns Lucas is his team's focus amidst all the activities associated with the grand tradition of Somerset's Homecoming Week.

"Homecoming Week is a necessary thing for our school and its rich tradition, but it is sometimes a hindrance to the team with the focus and the time spent at school for Homecoming projects," Lucas stated. "We embrace Homecoming Week here at Somerset, but we talk to the kids how to best divvy up their time between football, school and Homecoming activities."

Somerset and Russellville will kick-off at 7:30 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 27 at William Clark Field.

Pulaski County at Whitley County

After a brief stop over at Maroons Stadium last Friday, the Pulaski County High School football team is back on the road to take on district rivals Whitley County.

Last week, the Maroons lit up the scoreboard, 56-34, with a win over Madison Southern. In that win, the Maroons put five different players in the end zone. Tristan Cox found the end zone three times (twice as a receiver and once as a rusher) and Jake Sloan caught two TD passes . Donovan Abbott, Braden Gipson and Grant Oakes scored one touchdown apiece.

"Madison Southern is a very good team," Pulaski County High School coach Johnny Hines stated. "That was our best offensive effort of the season. We were a little more consistent offensively and were able to finish drives, and that has been a problem earlier in the season. So, it is good to see we are improving there."

Pulaski County quarterback Drew Polston had a monster night with 407 passing yards and threw five touchdown passes.

"Drew (Polston) had a tremendous game,and is really going to be something special," Hines stated. "He works hard trying to be the best he can be every day. I don't think he realizes how good he is yet."

"Our offensive line had their best game of the season, after we had moved around some pieces, and that allowed Drew more time to sit back in the pocket to decide where he is going to throw the ball and he had a great game because of that," Hines said.

"Jake Sloan had another big night, Evan Cherry had some spectacular plays, Donovan Abbott had a big night, Jake Shepherd, Cainen Daniels, Grant Oakes, Kaleb Adams and Braden Gipson, all contributed," Hines said.

The Maroons are hoping to continue that strong offense this Friday in an all-important district match up in Whitley County. The Maroons ended the Colonels season last year in the first round of the playoffs in a 61-0 blowout. However, Hines warned that this is a much different Whitley County team from last year.

"Whitley County is a pretty good team this year," Hines warned. "They kind of fell on hard times last year, and really struggled. At the end of the year, they cleaned house and brought in a new coaching staff. When you still have good players and a good coaching staff, teams get good pretty quick and that is what has happened down there."

"Going down there is a tough place to play and it is a district game for them, and everybody wants to start the district slate at 1-0," Hines explained. "All those kids played in that (61-0) game last year, and there is a revenge factor for them. I think it will be a tough struggle for us in this game."

Whitley County (2-2) is led by a strong quarterback in Seth Mills, who has already thrown for 516 yards and rushed for another 145 yards. Running back Woody Lawson is rushing close to 100 yards per game, and Caleb Irwin is their top receiver.

Pulaski County and Whitley County will kick off in Colonel Stadium in Williamsburg on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Southwestern is off on a bye week

After dropping back-to-back games, the Warriors pulled off a big win in their 29-20 road victory over Class 6A George Rogers Clark. The ground game duo of Austin Barnes and Chase Doan combined for nearly 300 years in rushing and all four of the Warriors' touchdowns, as they scored two TDs apiece.

With some much needed time off and some momentum, the Warriors prepare for next Friday - and beyond - when they start their four-game district slate.

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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