With both teams suffering lopsided defeats last week, Middlesboro and Whitley County will be looking to get on the winning track Friday. The Yellow Jackets lost to rival Bell County 41-7, while Whitley County lost to Corbin 35-14.
Prior to this week, Middlesboro head coach Zach Massengill said the team needs to go back to the fundamentals.
“At this point, it’s not about who we play. It’s about how we play,” said Massengill. “We’ve got to get better up front on both sides of the ball in a hurry. We’ve got some mistakes we’ve got to fix in both skill sets on offense and in our secondary.”
Massengill said Colonel head coach Jason Chappell does a good job with Whitley County. He said the coach is more of a “spread guy.”
“They’re going to do what they do,” said Massengill about the Colonel offense. “They’re going to throw screens and throw the ball downfield and run the perimeter.”
Chase Elliott was mostly contained last week against Bell County with the exception of a 62-yard touchdown run. The sophomore quarterback completed four of his 10 passes for 10 yards. He led the team in rushing with 91 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts.
Whitley County’s Luke Woods didn’t have much luck against Corbin. He completed five passes on 14 attempts for 59 yards and one touchdown. He also threw two interceptions.
In addition to that, Woods led the team in rushing with 118 yards on 14 carries.
Massengill complimented the quarterback’s ability.
“I know they have a dandy at quarterback,” said the coach.
Outside of Woods, Whitley County was contained against the Redhounds. Nathan Jackson was the second leading rusher with 37 yards on eight carries. Dawson Swain scored the only rushing touchdown for the Colonels.
Cameron Johnson and Cameron Rose led Whitley County in receptions with 32 and 25 yards, respectively. Jacob Paul scored a touchdown on his lone reception.
For Middlesboro, Parker Evans was the second leading rusher for the team against Bell County. He finished the game with 11 yards on four carries. Logan Capps had nine yards on four carries.
Corey Hairston, Anthony Jackson and Owen McWilliams each caught at least one pass from Elliott. Hairston led the team in receiving yards with five.
Defense could be the key to winning on Friday for both teams. With both teams harbouring athletic quarterbacks, the defense who shuts the QBs down could walk away with the victory.
“Our linebackers have to come up and play more physical,” said Massengill.
Last week, Middlesboro was led by Dylan Pratt and Capps on defense. Pratt finished the game with 13 tackles, and Capps totaled 12 of his own. Cody Hurst was able to gather seven tackles while Hairston and Jackson where able to get six each.
Whitley County’s defense was led by Tristin McKiddy and Jackson against Corbin. McKiddy had 15 total tackles while Jackson gathered 14 of his own. Hunter Asher was able to grab eight tackles as well.
The Colonels allowed 363 yards rushing and only 30 yards passing last week.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN