Lone Oak game a battle for home field advantage in playoffs
by Scott Brown, Sports Editor Email Scott
Oct 25, 2004 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s been a long time since the final regular season home game actually held playoff implications for the Trigg County Wildcats.

In fact, it may be the first time.

Past seasons have seen the Wildcats enter the postseason fresh off games with Madisonville and South Fulton, Tennessee.

But this year, it’s important for both teams.

While both Trigg County and Lone Oak have qualified for the playoffs, their seeding and chance to host a first round playoff game will be determined when they meet Friday at Flash Field in Paducah.

Lone Oak enters the game with a 6-3 record, while Trigg County is 8-1. Both teams are 5-1 in district play, and both have lost to Fort Campbell.

The Wildcats lost to the Falcons 27-6 on Sept. 14, while the Purple Flash lost 49-3 the following week.

"Our playoffs actually start this week," Wildcat head coach Curtis Higgins said. "This may be the biggest game ever for Lone Oak since they’ve never had a home playoff game. We just need to come out like we have the last two weeks, and we’ll be fine."

Jack Haskins, who has coached at Heath, Ballard Memorial, Fulton County, and Graves County among other places, took over a program that had losing seasons in 16 of their previous 17 years.

This year, the Purple Flash are guaranteed their first winning season since 1992 and back-to-back trips to the playoffs for the first time since 1991-92.

The Flash feature a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Elliott Treece and running back Ricky Hall.

Treece averages 135 yards passing per game and is fairly accurate, boasting a 4-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio.

The Wildcat pass defense has tightened up in recent weeks, holding three of their last four opponents to under 120 yards passing. Trigg County has picked off nine passes in their last four games.

"We’re pretty solid on defense, and I feel good about what we’ve been doing," said Higgins. "The secondary has come around, and we’ve made some adjustments I’m pleased with."

Treece’s favorite target is Matt Hopper, who averages 45 yards receiving a game and has six touchdowns.

Brandon Phillips is another favorite target, hauling in 36 yards a game.

Hall, who transferred to Lone Oak from Paducah Tilghman last year, averages nearly 100 yards on the ground. Last week, Hall broke through the porous Reidland defense for 179 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Flash won 48-8.

The Purple Flash average nearly 161 yards rushing and another 136 through the air.

Trigg County’s defense is giving up just 107 yards on the ground and 106 yards passing in nine games.

However, Lone Oak has been spotty on defense, giving up 23 points and 255 yards a game.

The Flash must find a way to contain Trigg County’s running attack, which averages 220 yards on the ground.

Steven Wadlington passed the 1,000-yard mark last week and is averaging 135 yards of total offense per game. Last year, he was a double threat in Trigg County’s 41-7 win over Lone Oak in Cadiz, rushing for 94 yards on 14 carries and catching a career-high seven passes for 81 yards.

Tommy Woodall has completed 55-percent of his passes this year for 1,048 yards. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns but has also thrown 11 interceptions.

Jamaal Boyd leads all Wildcat receivers with 20 catches for 380 yards and eight touchdowns.

While Lone Oak gives up around 85 yards a game through the air, they have been torched in their three losses to Murray, Fort Campbell, and Brentwood Academy of Tennessee to the tune of 440 passing yards.

"We need to keep passing, but we’re starting to do some different things, and I like what I’m seeing," said Higgins.

Trigg County has won 14 of the 16 career meetings with the Purple Flash, losing back-to-back games in 1991-92. The Wildcats have won the last three games in the series by an aggregate score of 113-21.

"We went to Daviess County (two weeks ago) with the intention of learning how to win on the road. Winning this week will make things easier for us in the playoffs, but I think we can go on the road in the playoffs and win," Higgins said.

Friday’s kickoff at Lone Oak is set for 7:30 p.m.

Playoff picture becoming clear

The four playoff teams in District I have been settled, with Fort Campbell wrapping up their second straight district title. Heath is the fourth seed, while Friday’s winner will be the second seed.

In District II, things won’t be etched in stone until after Friday’s games are played.

There are two scenarios dependant on the Glasgow/Monroe County game.

Owensboro Catholic, by virtue of last week’s win over Glasgow, has virtually wrapped up their third straight district title and will host Heath next week barring an unexpected loss to Hart County Friday.

If Butler County handles Edmonson County as expected and Glasgow loses to Monroe County, then Monroe will be the #2 seed, Glasgow the #3 seed, and Butler County the #4 seed.

If Glasgow wins along with Owensboro Catholic and Butler County Friday, Glasgow will be the #2 seed, Butler County will be #3, and Hart County will be a #4 seed and make their third playoff appearance since 1980.

If Trigg County wins Friday and claims the #2 seed, they will host either Butler County or Glasgow in what will likely be their only home game of the playoffs.

Because the western districts and regions move east this year, Owensboro Catholic and Fort Campbell will await the Wildcats after week one.

The Region I winner will advance to play at the Region II winner, which will likely be Elizabethtown, Corbin, or Garrard County.
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