The Wayne County Cardinals, 8-1 on the season and ranked #5 in the latest Associated Press poll, returned to action last Friday night traveling to North Laurel.  The Cards were coming off an emotional 18-16 district-clinching win at Corbin, while the Jaguars were coming off an open week.  North Laurel owned a 5-4 record on the season and was looking to snap a two-game losing skid that included losses to Pulaski County 35-14 and two weeks earlier at Whitley County 28-22. 

The contest marked the ninth meeting all time between the two schools 
with Wayne County owning a 6-2 series advantage, which included a 
55-0 win at North Laurel in 2016, the last time the teams met.
    The Cards used 49-plays to net a season high 564 yards of offense 
with 20 first downs to total a season high nine touchdowns, rolling 
to a 63-32 regular season finale win at North Laurel.  Junior All-
State candidate Braedon Sloan eclipsed the program's all-time single 
season rushing record with 24 carries for 320 yards and 6 TDs, as the 
stalwart now has 2,072 yards and 35 rushing TDs, on the season. 
Sloan scored on runs of 51, 36, 13, 13, 53, and 30-yards in the win, 
while junior quarterback Brody Weaver completed 8 of 10 passes for 
188 yards with two scores and finished the regular season with 16 
TDs, against just two interceptions.
    "We didn't come out ready to play and I accept all the 
responsibility in that.  We had a good week of practice, but it 
didn't carry-over into the game.  Offensively we scored a bunch of 
points, but we have some things that we must clean-up pretty 
quickly.  Defensively we didn't do a very good job in the box and 
they were able to move the football all night.  From this point on 
everyone is 0-0 and we're a poor effort away from the season being 
over," said Wayne County head coach Shawn Thompson.
    Senior Thomas Spencer added a big night in the win, grabbing four 
receptions for 82 yards, which included a 34-yard touchdown catch, 
while Carson Simpson added a 67-yard scoring reception.  Sophomore 
Lee Shelton added a 1-yard scoring plunge with a 21-yard reception, 
as the Cardinals ended the regular season with an impressive 8-1 mark.
    "We're certainly proud of this team and proud of our guys, we've had 
a lot of guys step-up and do some big things, but all that won't 
matter on Friday night against Lincoln County.  We have to stay 
humble and hungry, when we do that good things happen," said Thompson.
    North Laurel, which dropped to 5-5 on the season, used 56 plays for 
313 yards of offense and 18 first downs led by the tandem of senior 
quarterback Dalton Sizemore and junior running back Konnor Robinson. 
Sizemore completed 11 of 19 passes for 96 yards with an interception, 
plus rushed 15 times for 55 yards with scores from 1, 17 and 1-yard 
out.  Robinson led the team with 12 rushes for 103 yards, which 
included scoring runs from 34 and 5-yards out.
    "North Laurel has a good football team and they have a good stable 
of running backs, along with a nice play-maker at quarterback.  We 
didn't do a good job on the line of scrimmage, add that with not our 
best job of tackling and we gave up too many big plays.  We'll go 
back to work and see if we can get better at all the little things," 
said Thompson.
    Wayne County opened the game with the football and used 6-plays to 
travel 64 yards and score on a Brody Weaver 34-yard connection to 
Thomas Spencer.  Patrick Radilla booted the extra point the score was 
7-0 with 8:51 left in the opening period.
    After the Cards forced a quick punt, the offense scored just four 
plays later on a Braedon Sloan 51-yard touchdown scamper.  Radilla 
was a perfect nine of nine on kicks on the night and Wayne owned a 
14-0 edge with 6:03 left in the first period.
    The Jaguars responded on their second possession of the game, as the 
hosts used 9-plays to go 59 yards and score on a Dalton Sizemore 1-
yard keeper.  Mark McDaniel added the kick and it was 14-7 with 1:54 
remaining in the opening frame.
    Wayne County answered back with another score on their next 
possession as Weaver hit Carson Simpson in stride for a 67-yard 
touchdown pass, which pushed the score to 21-7, with still just over 
a minute left in the quarter.
    North Laurel answered right back as Konnor Robinson rushed 18 and 21-
yards, which setup a Dalton Sizemore 17-yard touchdown run, which 
closed the gap to 21-14 with still 11:49 remaining in the first half.
    The offensive fireworks continued on the next possession as the 
Cards needed just three plays to answer with a Braedon Sloan 36-yard 
touchdown run, which left the score 28-14 with 10:45 left in the 
second period.
    Wayne County's first and only turnover of the night setup North 
Laurel with great field-position and the Jaguars used a Konnor 
Robinson 34-yard scoring run to close the gap to 28-20, as the extra 
point failed with 8:06 left in the half.
    The Cardinals answered right back with two quick scores of their own 
as a Weaver 31-yard pass to Thomas Spencer setup a Lee Shelton 1-yard 
touchdown at the 4:40 mark and after a Jaguar fumble Wayne County 
scored at the 3:27 mark on a Braedon Sloan 13-yard touchdown run to 
push the score to 42-20.
    North Laurel managed to close the gap just :04 before intermission 
as Sizemore added his third touchdown of the half, on a 1-yard run 
and the conversion pass failed, leaving the halftime score at 42-26.
    After the Cards forced a fourth down turnover on the opening North 
Laurel series, Braedon Sloan rushed 38 yards, which setup his 13-yard 
touchdown run and the kick made the score 49-26 with 8:37 left in the 
third quarter.
    The Jaguars answered right back on their next possession as the 
squad used 12-plays to march 64 yards and score on a Konnor Robinson 
5-yard touchdown run.  The kick was blocked which left the score 
49-32 with 2:44 left in the third period.
    Braedon Sloan added a couple more electrifying plays before the horn 
would sound, as Sloan scored on a 53-yard run on the next play from 
scrimmage and followed that up with 30-yard touchdown run with just 
under 11-minutes to play, as Wayne County pushed to a 63-32 lead with 
almost a quarter remaining in the game.
    Neither team would score again, as Wayne County improved 7-2 all-
time against the Jaguars with the 63-32 road win.
    A review of the defensive stats credit linebacker Lee Shelton with a 
team best 11 tackles, while seniors Cauy Wallace and Cody Vaughn 
registered 8 stops each.  Tito Ruiz and Riley Hancock finished with 7 
stops each, while Cody Roysdon and Carson Simpson both had 6 tackles 
and a fumble recovery each.
    "We've had a great regular season and we certainly have a lot of 
things to be proud of.  To play this schedule and finish with just 
one loss is an outstanding, but we enter the new season Friday 
night.  We will go back to work and do everything we can to get ready 
for a very dangerous Lincoln County-team.  The game was much closer 
than the score indicated the first time, so we know that we have a 
lot of work to do," said Thompson.
    Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Wayne County's 
Jewell Field.  For a complete preview of the matchup see related story inside this edition of The Outlook.

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