The Wayne County Cardinals, 7-1 on the season and #4 ranked in the latest Associated Press poll, return to action this Friday night traveling to North Laurel.  The Cards are coming off an emotional 18-16 district-clinching win at Corbin, while the Jaguars are coming off an open week.  North Laurel owns a 5-4 record on the season and is looking to snap a two-game losing streak with losses to Pulaski County 35-14 and two weeks ago at Whitley County 28-22.  The contest marks the ninth meeting all time between the two schools with Wayne County owning a 6-2 series advantage, including a 55-0 win at North Laurel in 2016, the last time the teams met.

    Chris Larkey is in his eleventh season at the helm and has a 69-51 
record at North Laurel. The 2019 squad has a wealth of playmakers and 
some impressive wins.  The Jags own wins over Lincoln County 25-24, 
South Laurel 27-12 and at Southwestern 21-13, to highlight the slate 
and very close losses to Whitley County, Dunbar and Walton-Verona.
    "North Laurel has a good offense that can mix it up with the spread-
look and can line it up and run downhill with a talented group of 
skill kids. They do a good job of controlling the clock and have 
several different players that can make the big play.  Defensively 
they are very aggressive and both lines have good size and strength," 
said Wayne County head coach Shawn Thompson.
    The Jaguars average 22.7 points per game and 334 yards of offense 
per outing with 218 of that coming on the ground led by senior 
quarterback Dalton Sizemore.  Sizemore has completed 62 of 99 passes 
for 1018 yards with 9 TDs against 6 interceptions, plus has rushed 74 
times for 393 yards, with a team best 8 rushing TDs.  Sophomore 
running back Jacob Bowman leads a talented backfield with 117 rushes 
for a team best 571 yards and 3 scores, while junior Grant Woods has 
81 rushes for 500 yards with 2 TDs and 9 catches for 95 yards. 
Junior Konnor Robinson also figures in the mix with 79 carries for 
422 yards and 6 scores.
    North Laurel has a talented duo in the receiving corps as well as 
sophomore Eli Sizemore teams with junior Brody Brinks to pace the 
passing game.  Sizemore has a team best 20 catches for 281 yards with 
2 TDs, while Brinks has 15 receptions for 278 yards with 2 scores.
    The Cardinal defense, which is allowing 23.9 points per night, is 
led by the 74 total tackles and one sack of sophomore linebacker Lee 
Shelton, while Cody Roysdon is second on the unit with 73 total 
stops. Seniors Cody Vaughn and Riley Hancock are next with 56 and 51 
stops, as Hancock also leads the unit with a team high 3 
interceptions.  As the unit will look to build on last week's effort, 
allowing Corbin just 250 yards, in the win.
    The Wayne County offense, facing a North Laurel defense that allows 
a very stingy 19.4 points per game, is tallying 43.9 points per game 
and 427 yards of offense and that starts with junior running back and 
All-State candidate Braedon Sloan.  Sloan has rushed for 1752 yards 
and 29 TDs on just 159 carries and also leads the receivers with 17 
catches for 413 yards and 6 scores, while senior wide receiver Tito 
Ruiz adds 18 touches for 268 yards with 3 scores.
    Thomas Spencer also is a weapon that has totaled 15 catches for 317 
yards and 4 TDs, while Carson Simpson has 143 yards rushing with 99 
yards receiving on 18 touches with 4 TDs.
    "We've had to mix things up pretty well the past few weeks as teams 
are really keying on Braedon and that has allowed some other guys to 
step up and make big plays.  Brody is doing a great job of running 
the offense and we continue to take good care of the football. 
Credit our offensive line as well, they are outsized almost every 
game, but their effort continues to improve," said Thompson.
    Junior quarterback Brody Weaver has completed 67 of 124 passes for 
1253 yards with 14 TDs, against just two interceptions and has rushed 
53 times for 168 yards and two scores.  Another wrinkle to the 
offense has been the emergence of sophomore kicker Patrick Radilla. 
The first-year player has connected on 37 of 39 extra points and is 3 
of 4 on field goal attempts, after kicking a 27-yard game-winner last 
week.
    "Special teams have been huge the past two games and that's always 
so important in close games.  Patrick has been a great addition to 
our program and we have all kinds of faith in his leg, when drives 
stall," said Thompson.

    Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at North Laurel High School.

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