In Week 4 of the high school football season, Southwestern will be at home and Pulaski County will be on the road for the fourth straight week, while Somerset will be off on a bye week.
Wayne County at Southwestern
Last Friday the Southwestern High School football team found themselves in another tight battle, but the Warriors failure to capitalize in the red zone costed them their second loss of the season. Injuries and the loss of one of their top playmakers also contributed to the Warriors' demise on Friday night
"We came out really strong in the opening drive, and we were moving the ball," Southwestern football coach Jason Foley stated. "We got called for a lot of penalties, and had an unfortunate incident with Austin Barnes getting two unsportsmanlikes and he got ejected. That changed our whole game plan because we have him very involved with our offense."
"We fought hard but didn't capitalize three times in the red zone," Foley stated. "We were inside the 10 twice and inside the 15 three times, and did not capitalize on that. It came down to the fourth quarter and we din't make enough plays in the red zone."
Not only does Southwestern have a tough opponent in Wayne County coming into the Reservation, but they must play one of the top Class 4A football teams in the state without some of the top Warrior playmakers on the field.
"Austin (Barnes) will miss this week's game because of the two unsportmanlikes," Foley stated. "He got the first one, but we still haven't found what he was called for on the second on. Again, we are going to be relying on a lot of young kids, and unfortunately we had three guys go down with injuries last week with injuries. Right now we are fighting through adversity and we have a lot of young kids on the field.
The bad news is that the Warriors lost Ethan McGwire, Connor Crisp and Korbyn Goff last week. They will be out for awhile and they are just waiting to see how long. Maison Hibbard, Chanler Crabtree and Cody Harmon have been out for a while and they are still out
The good news that the Warriors' Maddox Mink and Cameron Pierce will be back in the lineup.
Wayne County (2-1) relies heavily in their standout running back Braedon Sloan, who is already averaging 200 years per game in rushing.
"Wayne County is an exceptional team," Foley boasted. "I think they're much better than people even thought they would be prior to the year. Coach Thompson does a great job over there. Braeden Sloan is a tremendous running back, and is one of the best in the state. Brody Weaver so a good quarterback. They are a very scrappy team and they are playing really well right now."
Southwestern hope to excited their home crowd with a win at the Reservation on Friday. However, Foley stated the Warriors have to play solid on defense to win the game. The visiting Cardinals are averaging 43 points scored per game.
"The big thing for us Friday is that we are going to have to bottle up Braeden Sloan, and trying to keep him from reeling off multiple big runs," Foley warned. "Hopefully, our secondary will play strong like they did last week. We are getting more healthy in the secondary so hopefully that will be a strong point for us."
"Offensively, we need to be able to run the ball, and hopefully we can win up front in the trenches," Foley added. "That will be a big key to the game if we can control the line of scrimmage."
(#12 Class 4A) Wayne County (2-1) and Southwestern (1-2) will kick off at the Reservation on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Pulaski County at Henry Clay
For the third straight week, the Pulaski County High School football team faced a tough opponent in a heavily-contested road game. In the past two road games, the Maroons pulled out two dramatic wins over Wayne County and Corbin.
"Playing all these road games is very frustrating, and is a tough way to start the season," Hines said. "We are looking forward to next week and playing out home opener. We are hoping for a huge crowd and hopefully we can rock the house."
Now, Pulaski County will be on the road for the fourth straight week and will be playing their strongest team to date in Henry Clay. The 0-2 Blue Devils are a powerful Class 6A team that has already played two of the best teams in Class 6A.
"Henry Clay is a 6A school and anytime you get into an inter-city Lexington football, you are talking about speed, speed, speed, and that will create a lot of match up problems for us," Hines warned. "Henry Clay is a very good football team that lost to Simon Kenton - which is one of the top 4 or 5 teams in Class 6A - and they lost to St. X - which along with Trinity and Male is one of the top programs in 6A. Henry Clay is a good football team and that is going to be a huge mountain for is to climb."
And making the Maroons' task against Henry Clay even tougher is the loss of a couple of their key players to injures.
Jordan Lanter is out with a knee injury and is questionable for Friday. Jericho Dixon is definitely out this week, but should be out back next week. Devon Tolson is out with a shoulder injury. However, Paul Judd will be back in the line-up this week.
Hines feels his Maroons must execute if they are to have any chance of pulling out their third straight road win.
"We have to play with great execution," Hines warned. "The first three games we played with great intensity, great hustle and great effort . Those are all wonderful things, but when you play a team with the elusiveness of Henry Clay, you have got to be great in execution. One little mishap and they can take it all the way, like playing a baseball team with a big home-run hitter."
(#8 Class 5A) Pulaski County and Henry Clay will kick off in Lexington on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Somerset is on
a Bye Week
The #2 Somerset High School football team will get to enjoy an off week after their impressive win over #5 Beechwood last Friday. After being defeated by the Tigers in the last four meetings, the Briar Jumpers got some sweet revenge on Friday at William Clark Field.
"We felt like our strength were with our offensive lines and defensive line," stated Somerset High School football coach Robbie Lucas. "Beechwood is a very good team but they are not the Beechwood of old, and they are young in some spots. They play a lot of kids both ways. We felt by lining up and trying to grind it out, by the late third and fourth quarters we would be able to take over. It turned out much earlier than I expected. I have to give credit to the kids they did exactly what the game plan called for.
Early on, Somerset went to their ground game out with a heavy dose of senior back Alex Miller carrying the ball. Miller racked up two touchdowns and 144 yards and 20 carries, which opened up other Somerset offensive weapons in Kaiya Sheron, Tate Madden and Kade Grundy
"Whenever Alex (Miller) gets his shoulders square and downhill he finds a crease and falls forward for yardage and in that game he was fighting for every inch," Lucas stated. "We are really excited about what the future holds for him."
Coach Lucas said the jumpers were working on themselves more than anything in this off-week.
"The heat has not really helped us much this week and if every coach is following the heat index rule their probably wouldn't be much practice," Lucas stated. "Our offensive line played well, but fundamentally we took a step back. We are rotating about eight offensive linemen in order to keep us fresh, which is something we rarely have a luxury to do."
"In this off week we are going back to work on basics and fundamentals," Lucas continued. "We are working on us and not looking on our opponents. Just trying to make us better."
Somerset did lose Ben Simmons to a knee injury, and the extra week off might help out some other injuries.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.