Cougars to face road test against Hopkinsville on Friday
A run that no one would have ever expected from Logan County is still alive and well.
After winning just one game from 2013 to 2016, the Cougars saw a complete about-face of their program when they rolled to a 10-0 regular season record in 2017.
It’s been much of the same this season as they roll into the Stadium of Champions on Friday evening to take on the Hopkinsville Tigers with an untarnished 6-0 record thus far.
A look back
Ironically, both teams enter Friday night’s contest facing the exact same situations that they were in when they met in the regular season on Oct. 5 of last season.
Hopkinsville had struggled out to a 1-5 lead while Logan County was playing to the tune of a 6-0 start when the teams met at Cougar Stadium. An exciting contest saw the Cougars pull out a 13-12 win in the final seconds.
Following first-round playoff wins from each team, they met for a rematch on Nov. 10, 2017, much to the delight and anticipation from fans on both sides following October’s exciting ending.
Unexpected by most, Hopkinsville stomped into Russellville and stymied the Cougars with 43 first-half points and a running clock by the intermission, bringing Logan County’s dream season to an end, 43-8.
Records? We’re talking about records?
Don’t let Hopkinsville’s 1-5 start to the 2018 season fool you. When in the same situation last season, the Tigers took Logan County down to the wire and showed that they could be the better team when they met in the playoffs in 2017.
The teams that the Tigers have lost to are fairly household names: South Warren (49-17), Mayfield (35-7), Christian County (16-7), Paducah Tilghman (47-13) and Madisonville-North Hopkins (14-0). The combined record for all of those teams as of Oct. 4 sits at 27-7.
Additionally, Hopkinsville’s only win thus far was a comfortable 35-20 victory over Caldwell County, who currently sits at 5-2 on the season and has beaten area powerhouses such as Graves County, Henderson County and Tilghman.
On the other end, the six teams that Logan County has beaten have a combined record of 15-25. None of the teams that the Cougars have played against in the 2018 regular season have a winning record. All teams that the Tigers have faced are above .500 by three games or more with the exception of Christian, who sits at 3-3.
Cougars dominating all-around
Coming off of a bye week, the Cougars should have fresh legs rolling into Hopkinsville on Friday.
The Logan County offense has again proved potent, as the Cougars are averaging 52.6 points per game and hung 68 points on Hopkins County Central before entering the bye week.
In total, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 316-58 this season and have accounted for 1,646 yards on the ground (274.3 rushing yards per game) and 1,158 yards through the air.
Junior running back Gary Hardy leads the pack with 819 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 72 carries. Junior quarterback Tyler Ezell follows behind with 360 yards and nine touchdowns on 32 carries.
On the season, Ezell has completed 66-of-102 passes for 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions. Sophomore receiver Maurice Gordon has 266 yards and two touchdowns on 16 catches for the Cougars, who have six receivers over 100 yards on the season.
The Cougar defense has clamped down to hold opponents to 500 rushing yards and 308 passing yards in 2018.
Senior defensive lineman Caden McKinnis leads the Cougars with 42 tackles and his nine tackles for loss ties senior linebacker Collier Kempf for the top spot on the team. Kempf leads the team with four sacks while junior linebacker Tristan Blake has three interceptions, one for a touchdown.
Logan County (6-0) @ Hopkinsville (1-5)
Stadium of Champions, Hopkinsville, KY
Friday, Oct. 5, 7:00 pm CDT
LIVE STREAM: WHOP 1230 AM/95.3 FM (Link to broadcast)
Clay Manlove; @ctmanlove58