The Wayne County Cardinals, 12-0 on the season and coming off an
impressive 36-0 second round home win of Corbin, travel to Louisville
this Friday night to face the home-standing Yellow Jackets of
Central. The Cards, ranked #1 in the final regular season Associated
Press Class 3A Poll, are making the first ever appearance in a
regional championship game. Central continues what is an
unbelievable run of six straight region titles and has won the Class
3A state championship in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. This
year's squad is 9-3 and coming off a 14-11 second round home win over
Bell County, which marked their sixth straight win on the season.
The contest marks the 2nd ever meeting between the two schools as
last year Central rallied late in the fourth quarter and claimed a
21-18 second round win.
"That was as painful a loss as I've had as a coach and felt so bad
for our kids. No question the disappointment from that game was a
hunger for our kids all off season, in a positive way. That was our
first real taste of being competitive against an elite program and
that game I think helped raise our program to another level. This
week is certainly an exciting one to have the opportunity and
challenge of facing Central for a regional championship," said Wayne
County head coach Shawn Thompson.
Central, under the 7th year direction of Ty Scroggins, is enjoying a
run of success as good as any program in the history of Kentucky high
school football. The Yellow Jackets are 72-28 in his tenure and have
won five state titles, plus made the state semifinals in 2009.
"Coach Scroggins has such great discipline with his kids and make no
mistake about it they have great athletes, but to win five state
championships that speaks for itself. They always play a very good
schedule and come this time of the year the road to a title goes
through Central," said Thompson.
This year's squad has impressive regular season wins over 6A foes
Lafayette, Eastern and PRP, with their only losses coming to 6A
Manual (17-7), 4A Doss (33-19) and to St. Xavier (27-13).
"They have a program that is very respected statewide and just look
at the teams they play every year. Central is not only been a
dominant team in 3A, they match-up well with anybody in any class, so
we know this is a big challenge come Friday night," said Thompson.
Central is averaging 25.3 points per game paced by a strong running
game led by senior running back Phillip Francis. Francis leads the
team with 127 carries for 955 yards and 11 TDs, coming off a 15
attempt for 72 yard performance with a score in last week's win over
Bell County. Donovan Lovan and Davon Adams also figure in the mix
with 291 and 261 rushing yards with 6 TDs between the duo, on the
"Central likes to run the football and they have a bunch of very
athletic skill kids that do a good job making defenses miss. They
have three guys that are the primary backs led by Francis. Their
speed and athleticism certainly makes things tough on the defense, so
we have to swarm the football and make sure we wrap up on the initial
hit, plus they are equally dangerous with their passing game," said
The trio of Myron Norfleet, Sydney Tedford and James Simpson all
have started games this season from the quarterback position, with
Norfleet completing 6 of 13 passes for 90 yards with a touchdown and
an interception against Bell County. Norfleet is 19 of 32 on the
season with 311 yards and 4 TDs, while Tedford and Simpson have
combined for over 800 yards passing and 12 TDs against 9 interceptions.
"They have all kinds of talent at quarterback and anybody they play
are dangerous with their arm and can make big plays with their feet
scrambling as well. On the season they are close to 50-50 mix with
the run and pass, so we have to be ready and focused on our
assignments," said Thompson.
The Yellow Jackets are facing a Cardinal defense that allows just 12
points per game and in the playoffs and coming off their best effort
of the season, limiting Corbin to only 69 yards, on 51 plays.
"We know this could very easy be a defensive battle, so every play
matters. I really liked our intensity from the opening kickoff last
week, especially from our defense. We have to be intense again and
establish that we want to be the more physical football team," said
The Cardinal offense, which is netting 43.8 points per game, was
very efficient in last week's win totaling 377 yards in 38 plays led
by senior quarterback Tyler Guffey. The All State candidate
completed 4 of 9 passes for 201 yards with 4 TDs, plus rushed 16
times for a game high 106 yards with a score.
"They like to attack and are extremely aggressive on defense, so we
have to communicate up front as they love to bring pressure. We have
to establish our running game and make some quick passes, as their
defense is the best we've seen all season," said Thompson.
Central allows just 15 points per game and is led by the 105 total
tackles of Donald Styles, while Derquione Mobley is also a force with
98 total stops on the year.
"One thing about Central we know is they love to keep it close and
in the fourth quarter to their kids credit they find a way to win
games. They did that in the post-season last year and again last
week, they make big plays in the clutch," said Thompson.
What must the Cards do to claim their first ever regional
championship in 3A?
"We have to take care of the football, be sound in all areas of the
kicking game and establish control of the line of scrimmage on both
sides of the ball. This is the biggest game in our program's
history, so we need to embrace the moment and keep doing what we've
done all season long, we just have to keep grinding," said Thompson.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Louisville Central High
School's Jackets Stadium. For details, stats and photos of the
contest check out next week's edition of The Outlook.
The Wayne County Cardinals, 12-0 on the season and coming off an
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