The Lynn Camp High School football team enjoyed great success a year ago when the Wildcats posted a winning record for the first time in more than a decade while coming out ahead on the scoreboard in six consecutive games for only the third time in thee decades.
But the Wildcats were not satisfied and will be looking to further their rise to prominence in Class A football by winning their season opener for the first time in five years when Lynn Camp hosts Knott Co. Central on Friday.
Third-year head coach Allen Harris is stressing the importance of getting a win in week one not only to help build momentum and confidence, but also to show continued growth in a program that went winless as recently as 2011.
“Your goal is always to win every game, but winning this first game is especially important for our team where we are still growing up a little bit,” he said. “We experienced some success last year, so it’s important for us to pick up where we left off and build our confidence before we begin district play.”
Keys to success for the Wildcats against Knott Co. Central, according to Harris, are simple. Just be themselves and play Lynn Camp football.
“We have to minimize our mistakes, especially our penalties,” he said. “And we have to control the tempo and work together as a team and not give up when bad things happen. We have to keep our heads up.”
As for what to expect from Knott Co. Central, it’s no secret that the Patriots like to throw the ball. Junior quarterback Cameron Jones returns as one of the top signal-callers in the Bluegrass after completing 167 passes in 280 attempt a year ago for 2,549 yards. He tossed 27 touchdown passes in 11 games, while allowing only five interceptions.
Jones has some very talented targets at his disposal, including senior wide receiver Tyler Kidd, who pulled down 69 receptions a year ago for 1,154 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“Knott Co. has a very talented quarterback,” commented Harris. “He’s a big boy and throws the ball real well. He will throw it all over the field. And he’s got some very good wide receivers that he throws to who are dangerous weapons. If we don’t come out and play a solid football game, we could be in trouble. Knott Co. is a well-coached team. If we don’t show up, we could get beat.”
While he is not overly concerned, Harris acknowledges the fact that Knott Co. Central is a 3A team absolutely factors into the game.
“Football is always a numbers games and a 3A school is going to have more players to chose from than a 1A school,” Harris said. “But I think this game will come down to who is the best conditioned team. A lot of our players have to play both ways. I’m sure Knott Co. also has kids that play both ways. But with them being a bigger school they have more resources to pull from. But we’re not going to think about 1A versus 3A and just go out and play good football and see what happens.”
While Lynn Camp is mostly injury-free coming into the season, the Wildcats could be without the services of star running back Dalton Cook, who is listed as a ‘maybe’ in week one. Among the top talents in Class A, Cook has been nursing a hamstring injury in recent weeks and was held out of the Wildcats’ SEKC Grid-O-Rama game a week ago. Even if he is cleared to play against Knott Co. Central, Cook is likely to see limited touches due to a lack of conditioning from missed practices and to ensure he does not re-aggravate the injury.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lynn Camp stadium.