The LaRue County Hawks have made no secret about who they are or what they’re going to do.
They are going to run the football.
And they’re going to keep doing it.
Over and over again.
It might not be flashy, but it works.
It’s the reason the Hawks are in the Class 3-A state semifinals tonight at Louisville Central.
“The line has blocked amazing the past three games,” LaRue County senior Anthony Adkins said. “It’s all the line. They’re doing it all.”
LaRue County has churned out more than 400 yards in back-to-back playoff games in come-from-behind wins over Caldwell County and Elizabethtown.
“Our line doesn’t give up,” LaRue County sophomore Jeremiah Belton said. “They keep going for 48 minutes.”
The Hawks have rushed for a staggering 4,158 yards this season.
Adkins, the Louisville commit, leads the attack with 1,906 yards and 27 touchdowns on 219 carries. Belton has added 1,263 yards and 10 scores on 162 attempts.
Senior Russell Young gives LaRue County a third option with 550 yards and six touchdowns on 91 attempts. Senior Zach Duvall has been used in the backfield in the playoffs, including a touchdown against Elizabethtown.
“It’s an attitude,” Belton said. “We’re going to do it the whole time. It’s something the coaches have instilled in us.”
The Hawks will have their stiffest test against the Yellow Jackets, who have allowed just 910 rushing yards this season. Only three players have rushed for more than 100 yards against them, the last one coming seven games ago.
“They are so athletic and they have size and speed,” Jaggers said. “People have moved the ball against them, but this is a typical Central defense. They do a good job of creating turnovers.”
Central (11-2) has given up just 74 points, the fewest in 3-A. Only two teams – Louisville Ballard and Louisville St. Xavier – have scored in double digits.
The Yellow Jackets have nearly scored as many points on defense as they’ve allowed. They have returned eight interceptions and two fumbles for touchdowns.
“They are just like Alabama last year,” Jaggers said. “They capitalize immediately on your mistakes. They come for you and try to knock the ball away from you. But they don’t just want to cause turnovers, they want to score.”
Coach Marvin Dantzler said the Yellow Jackets try to take advantage of any miscues by the opposing offense.
“We just try to be very sound defensively and make sure that we understand the importance of what is being asked by the coaches,” Dantzler said. “Turnovers and field position will be very important on Friday.”
The Hawks (8-5) aren’t going to change what they’ve been doing against Central. It obviously has been working.
“I think we can do some things that will cause them problems,” Jaggers said. “They’re Central. They’re tough. We definitely can’t give them extra possessions. We have to take care of the football.”
After losing to Elizabethtown on Oct. 12, the Hawks have won four of their last five games.
“We came together,” Adkins said. “I think everyone was tired of losing. We didn’t come ready to play. But after that game, we’ve been playing much better.”
Dantzler said the Yellow Jackets have to be ready to try to slow down a rushing attack averaging 319.8 yards per game.
“We are similar to LaRue offensively,” he said. “I think both teams do what we do well and believe in our preparation. LaRue has a good rushing offense with a big running back.”
The Hawks don’t plan on changing anything despite facing one of the top defenses in the state.
“We’re going to do the same thing,” Adkins said. “We’re going to run the ball. We believe we can really win this game if we can run the ball.”
The Yellow Jackets figure to get a heavy dose of Adkins, who has three straight 100-yard performances. He has carried the ball 76 times for 613 yards and nine touchdowns in the playoffs. Belton has rushed for 326 yards and three scores on 41 attempts.
Central hasn’t allowed a point in the playoffs, but the Hawks hope they can change that.
“We’re going to keep doing the same thing,” Belton said. “We’re going to keep doing it and make them stop it.”