The Wayne County Cardinals, 0-1 on the season and coming off a 35-0 home

loss to Rockcastle County, open district play this Friday night at rival

Casey County. The Rebels enter with a 0-2 mark and are coming off a 21-6

loss to Russell County. The contest marks the 26th meeting between the two

schools and in an odd twist, the third time the teams have met in just over

10 months.

Wayne County ended their regular season with an 18-0 win at Casey County

and followed that up with a 20-14 home win over the Rebels the next week in

the opening round of the state playoffs. Both teams combined with Garrard

County, Somerset, Taylor County and Jackson County to form the new Class 3A

District 5.

³The last few years our district games were at the end of the season,

but now that we stay in the district for the opening two rounds of the

playoffs that has changed the way everybody schedules. I like starting the

district play earlier in the season,² said Cards head coach Shawn Thompson.

Casey County and Wayne County enter this week¹s matchup both very

familiar with each other.

³Well, I don¹t think either team has any real secrets. Casey County has

one of their typical hard-nosed football teams. They play hard on both sides

of the ball and Coach Stephens has been over there for 7 years as the head

coach so they haven¹t changed a whole lot. I do like the way all the guys on

the field play hard through the whistle. That stands out on the tape we¹ve

watched,² said Thompson.

The Rebels have struggled on offense, in losses to Henry County (31-6)

and Russell County.

The squad bases their offense out of the I-formation led by quarterback

Shannon Wethington. Wethington teams with three year starter John Barter, a

senior wide out, to pace the unit.

³They come off the football pretty well and stay on their blocks until

the whistle. Last week our defense played well in spots, so getting off the

field after third down is a key,² said Thompson.

Wayne County¹s defense allowed 276 yards in last week¹s loss to

Rockcastle County.

³I thought on defense we gave a good effort, we just made some mistakes

that killed our momentum. We have to be focused this week in practice and do

a better job with our assignments. Our focus and tackling must improve, plus

we can¹t line up out of position. Little things with some intensity should

help improve our defense,² said Thompson.

The Cards offense will look to improve on last week¹s meager showing

against Rockcastle County. Wayne County totaled just 71 yards of offense and

rushed 33 times for 30 yards, led by the 26 yards of D. J. Hall.

³Offensively we have to simplify some things and go back to what we

know. We have to control the line of scrimmage, cut out our negative plays

and clean up the penalties. Last week we missed some holes, blocked the

wrong guys and didn¹t have the focus needed. Our intensity has to step up on

both sides of the ball,² said Thompson.

Look for the Cards to be in the I-formation more this week.

³We have to use the packages that best fit our personnel on the field.

We¹ve struggled in the spread, so we¹ll be in the I-formation more this

week, but it still goes back to winning the battle up front,² said Thompson.

A bright spot for Wayne County last week was the play of the special

teams.

³Our special teams played well. We had some good returns that gave us

some good field position, plus our punt game was pretty solid. That must

continue this week, Casey County also has good special teams play,² said

Thompson.

What must the Cards do to notch their fifth straight win over Casey

County and improve to 1-1 on the young season?

³We have to have a great week of focused practice and take that to the

game on Friday night. Our intensity and focus needs to be there starting on

Monday. I think we can do some good things, we just need to forget about

last week and go back to work,² said Thompson.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Casey County¹s Rebel Field.



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