Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Highlands opponent is playoff fixture

AA or AAA, Lawrence Co. gets plenty of W's

Enquirer contributor

        One year, Lawrence County is a large Class AA football program. The next, it's a small Class AAA school.

        For now, it's the latter. The Bulldogs (12-1) visit Highlands (12-1), a school also on the low end of AAA enrollment numbers, in a state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

        “It seems like what we've run into here is everybody's got a few more numbers,” eighth-year coach Charles Williams said. “It seemed like the teams at AA had 45 to 50 players, while they have 65 to 70 at AAA. They can put a lot more fresh bodies on the field.

        “We're one of the smallest schools in AAA, but we only have two players who go both ways.”

        The Bulldogs were in AAA as recently as 1996, when they lost to Highlands in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. They then were dropped to AA by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for 1997 and 1998, before being bumped back up this year.

        One constant is winning. Lawrence County has reached the playoffs every year of Williams' tenure as coach, including trips to the AA state semifinals in 1997 and to the regional finals last year.

        Another constant is the Bulldogs' option offense, which is operated primarily out of the I-bone formation. It has produced 731 points this season, an average of 56.2 per game. They are nearing the single-season state record of 801 set by Highlands last season.

        The offense starts with senior quarterback Allen Short, who has rushed for more than 700 yards and passed for more than 1,500 this season. The leading rusher is sophomore Michael West, who has gained more than 2,500 yards.

        West's primary target is senior Gerad Parker, who has 4,668 career receiving yards, the second-highest career total in national history. The four-year starter also has state records for career receptions (233) and touchdown catches (50).

        Lawrence County's 5-3 defense is led by linebackers Josh Diamond and Sean Murphy.

        “They've been two key people, but we're really sort of like Highlands,” Williams said. “There's a lot of synchronized timing. We're a unit out there, and everybody's got to do their part.”

        Lawrence County has several returning starters on offense, but many defensive players were new starters.

        Their only loss came in September, a two-point defeat to Inez Sheldon Clark, which finished the regular season unbeaten.

        “We've gotten better as the year went on,” Williams said.


Sports Stories
Southview shotgun unique challenge for Edgewood
Edgewood flying on Wing-T and prayer
Edgewood's Osborne answers the call
Trenton agog as Edgewood aims for title
Lawrence County (12-1) at Highlands (12-1)
Highlands linebackers leave mark
- Highlands opponent is playoff fixture
Pikeville (12-1) at Beechwood (11-2)
Beechwood's Mercer here, there, everywhere
Beechwood, Pikeville renew rivalry
Ohio state semifinal schedule
Indiana championship schedule
Kentucky state semifinal schedule
Indiana football playoff scores
Kentucky football playoff scores
Ohio football playoff scores

Xavier 81, Louisville 79
Kansas 88, Georgia 78
Xavier's menu not just hoops
Not just a day at beach for UC
Bengals fans staying home
Bengals as bad as old Bucs?
Steelers share doom, gloom