The Wayne County Cardinals, 4-1 on the season and coming off an open week, return to action this Friday night opening district play at Lincoln County. The Patriots are 3-3 on the season and also coming off an open week, after a 28-14 loss at highly regarded Anderson County. The contest marks just the third ever meeting between the 12th Region rivals, as Wayne County has won the previous two matchups, including a 37-19 decision at Jewell Field, in September of 2012.
Wayne County is coming off an open week, which is common every
season, but the Cards game with Danville was canceled the week
earlier, leaving the squad with the rare three-week break between
"Open week is always something we battle around, but couple that
with our Danville game being cancelled and it's concerning to have
gone so long without a game. Add that with we've had a couple
running-clock games before that and we're probably not in the shape
we need to be for this time of the season. Anytime a team is in
rhythm on both sides of the ball and then have this kind of break, we
have to do what we can to be sharp as possible for a very good
Lincoln County team," said Cards head coach Shawn Thompson.
The Patriots were the biggest surprise of Class 5A under then first
year head coach Spencer Crutchfield, as the squad finished 7-5 and
won a road playoff game. The second season under Crutchfield, a
former stalwart player at Garrard County, has continued the
progress. Lincoln County is 3-3 on the season but is just a couple
plays from being 5-1 with heartbreaking overtime losses to East
Jessamine (42-35) and at North Laurel (25-24).
"Lincoln County really is just a couple plays from being 5-1 and
they have good mix of size, speed and strength in the backfield and
an offense that mixes the run and pass pretty well. We scrimmaged
last season and their guys were just starting to buy-in to Coach
Crutchfield's system and now in their second season together, we know
we'll have to play well," said Thompson.
The Patriots average 29.7 points per game and 286 yards of offense
per outing with 159 of that on the ground led by senior quarterback
Nick Harris. Harris has completed 48 of 90 passes for 776 yards with
7 TDs against 9 interceptions, plus has rushed 46 times for 103 yards
and 4 scores. Senior running back Dylan Burchfield leads a deep
rotation in the backfield with 55 rushes for a team best 304 yards
and 2 scores.
Junior Rodney Alcorn has totaled 223 rushing yards and 2 scores,
while senior Zack Hazlett is a threat in the ground and on the air.
The stalwart has 200 rushing yards and two scores, plus leads the
squad 319 receiving yards and 4 TDs, on 14 catches. Clayton Davis
has a team best 21 receptions for 289 yards with 3 scores, while Levi
Daugherty has 21 carries for 123 yards and a team best 5 TDs.
The Cardinal defense, which is allowing 24 points per night, is led
by the 47 total tackles and 1 sack of sophomore linebacker Lee
Shelton, while senior linebacker Cody Vaughn is second on the unit
with 41 total stops. Seniors Riley Hancock and Tito Ruiz have 32 and
21 tackles with a team high two interceptions each respectively,
while Cody Roysdon has 31 stops with a team best 6 tackles for a
loss, as the unit looks for improved play, as district season is just
two weeks away.
The Wayne County offense, facing a Lincoln defense that allows 23
points per game, is tallying 45.8 points per game and 416 yards of
offense and that starts with junior running back and All-State
candidate Braedon Sloan. Sloan has rushed for 934 yards and 18 TDs
on just 73 carries and also leads the receivers with 9 catches for
275 yards and 5 scores, while senior wide receiver Tito Ruiz leads
the team in receptions with 10 and has 152 yards with 2 scores. A
new wrinkle added the past month is 6-4 senior Thomas Spencer, as the
first-year varsity member has totaled 5 catches for 181 yards and 3
scores the past three games.
Junior quarterback Brody Weaver has completed 41 of 77 passes for
858 yards with 11 TDs, against just two interceptions and has rushed
30 times for 111 yards and 2 scores. Versatile offensive weapon
Carson Simpson has scored touchdowns three straight weeks and now has 111 rushing yards on just 10 attempts, plus two catches for 66 yards
and a touchdown.
"We have to play well on both sides of the ball every week and this
game will certainly be no different. We know the guys are on fall
break, but we must have a focused week of practice. We did that
against Harlan County and Southwestern with very good results, while
I was very disappointed in our preparation for the Danville game. We
know Lincoln County has a good team and this is what we play all
those other games for, to get ready for district. Everyone is 0-0
and it starts for real Friday night," said Thompson.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Lincoln County High School's Death Valley Stadium.