The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets travel to Sneedville, Tenn., Friday to take on Hancock County as the high school football season continues.
The Jackets won last year’s meeting between the teams 62-7 at Lee Majors Field and Friday’s game should present an opportunity for Middlesboro’s young group to rebound from their season-opening loss to Bourbon County.
“There’s no question we’re a big-time favorite here (but) we’re playing a team that hustles and they bring eight to the football every play,” Jacket coach Randy Frazier said. “It’s a time that we’ve got to get better. We have to stop people defensively and we have got to punch it in the end zone offensively. That’s our focus this week. If Middlesboro can get better, then we’ve done what we’re supposed to.”
Still, Frazier says he’s not overlooking Hancock. The Indians, who compete in Class A in Tennessee, won their opener against Oakdale by a 40-15 count. They run a version of the Wing-T that is similar to the Jackets’ new offense but they just don’t quite match up physically with MHS.
“You look on film and watch them play. They’re not as big as we are, they’re not as strong as we are, but I tell you what — they’ve got effort running out their ears,” Frazier said of the Indians. “They get out there and play zero coverage and they fly around. That tells me that they’re coached well and they could pose problems for anybody.”
The Jackets are also dealing with some injuries along the front line. Sophomore defensive tackle Camre Stephney is out with a knee injury while Tyler Prater and Matt Schneider who start on both offense and defense are also dealing with various ailments.
“All week Prater has not practiced, Schneider has not practiced, Camre Stepheny is out. We feel like we’re deep. We’ve worked kids in that are vying for a starting spot and have been since the spring. We’re not healthy, but at the same time it doesn’t matter. We expect to go on and we expect the next guy to do as well as the guy in front of him,” Frazier said.
Middlesboro was hard at work Wednesday with the front lines going full speed to get their timing down. If they can open up a few holes Friday, the Jacket running game should have a big night with Jake Brock, Parker Uhl, Seth Barton and company all capabale of breaking some long runs.
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.