The Wayne County Outlook

Local Sports

November 19, 2013

Wayne County faces Louisville Central Friday night in regional championship game

11-20-13 —    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 

season.

    "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 

Thompson.

    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 

Thompson.

    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.

   

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