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 
scheduled games.
    "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.

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