LOG MOUNTAIN — Bell County’s recipe for success has been simple this season. Start with stout defense, mix in a heavy dose of senior running backs Jonathan Polly and Ryan Collett and top it all off with team that believes in what they’re doing.
So far it’s led to a 5-1 record and a number three ranking in the latest Class 3A Kentucky AP poll. Coach Wayne Mills says you can expect more of the same from the Bobcats as the season heads down the stretch.
“Our kids believe in each other, they play good defense, we’re sound in our kicking game and our offense is going to ground and pound,” he said. “We’re just going to run behind those big offensive linemen with Polly and Ryan and we’ll mix it up when we need to. Just move the chains and I feel like our kids are doing a better job of that.”
Polly has run for over 700 yards and six touchdowns while Collett has around 600 rushing yards to go along with 11 scores. That’s been more than enough offense for a team that’s giving up just 10 points per game over the last four.
“We kind of win ugly at times. We’ve got a young quarterback and we want to protect him and give him chances to be successful,” said Mills. “When our defense is playing like they’re playing then we’re going to keep ourselves in game. This may not be a year when we blow people out by 30-40 points. We may only win by a couple scores, but it’s just the way we’ve chosen to do things.”
The offense erupted last week, Polly scored three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half and the Bobcats went on to a 54-13 rout at Casey County.
Tonight, Bell’s challenge may be a little stiffer as they host an improved Clay County team for homecoming. The Tigers won just one game last year, but are 3-3 at this point under first year coach Evan Napier.
“They’re a 3-3 ball club, they killed Perry Central over in the Appalachian Bowl. The Knox game last week was just a 7-0 game with about a minute to go in the half,” Mills said. “They’re going to run behind those big offensive linemen. They’ve got that UK signee in Jacob Hyde and a couple of nice backs.”
Sounds a little like Mills speaking of his own team, but the Tigers do things a bit differently. They have a workhorse back in Sam Carr, who has run for 759 yards and nine touchdowns on 83 carries. Joey Dezarn (355 yards) and Travis Smith (123) provide compliments in the running game.
Meanwhile, quarterback Ryan Holland is 37-of-51 passing for 574 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Holland has also run for five TDs.
Again, much like his own team, Mills says the Tigers’ real strength is on defense.
“They’re playing really good defense, I feel like it’s the strong suit of their team. I tell our kids that anybody can play defense and their coach has got those kids believing they can play. If they go give a good effort they can keep themselves in ball games,” he added. “We’re looking for a good contest. It’s homecoming and we’re challenging our kids to play well this week. We’re getting ready to hit our stride in the last few weeks and I feel like it’s time to start showing improvement.”
With all the other area schools playing away from home today, Mills says everyone should feel welcome to pay a visit to Log Mountain to watch his Bobcats play.
“Everybody come out tonight. We’re the only game in town so come out and be with us,” he said.
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.