SALYERSVILLE - Magoffin County will look to end a three-game losing skid when it hosts preseason favorite Knott County Central for a Class 3A, District 7 football game on Thursday night.
Longtime rivals, Magoffin County and Knott County Central are familiar football foes.
Magoffin County is 2-5 overall and 0-2 in Class 3A, District 7. The Hornets have posted wins over East Ridge and Betsy Layne while dropping games to East Carter, Lawrence County, Harlan, Powell County and Morgan County.
Through seven games, opponents have outscored the Hornets 289-144.
The Hornets will be looking to shake off a recent district loss to Morgan County when they take the field for the game versus Morgan County.
"We're going to have to find some defense," Magoffin County Coach Justin Combs said, following the Hornets' loss to Morgan County. "I know when you lose some of the players that we have lost it's hard but we're going to have to find some guys that will step up. Our motto here lately has been - next man up. We have battled the injury bug this season but we're going to have to step up and play. We had a big game out of Nolan Arnett and Brady Whitaker this past week. We had loads of offense from them. Defensively, we just really haven't found our identity yet seems like. We're going to have to get 11 hats to the football and take away the cut backs. Hats off to Morgan County. They came ready to play."
Magoffin County suffered a setback earlier in the season when it lost leader Ryan Mullins to a season-ending injury.
Currently, Brady Whitaker leads the Hornets in rushing. Whitaker has rushed 51 times for 438 yards seven touchdowns for the Hornets.
Whitaker and Nick Caldwell have split time at quarterback since Mullins suffered his season-ending injury.
Defensively for Magoffin County, Buddy Collins has registered a team-high 60 tackles. Ranking second in the defensive category for the Hornets, Trenton Caldwell has delivered 51 tackles.
Knott County Central is 3-3 overall and 0-2 in Class 3A, District 7. The Patriots have been outscored 220-206 through their first six games in the 2017 season.
Knott County Central features a balance offense. Through the Patriots' first five games in the 2017 season, quarterback Cameron Jones had completed 78=-of-139 passes for 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions.
On the ground for Knott County Central, Luke Jacobs had rushed for a team-best 576 yards and four touchdowns in four games. Another Knott County Central running back, Ty Hollon, had rushed 41 times for 375 yards and three touchdowns through the Patriots' first five games.
Knott County Central has notched wins over Lynn Camp, Sheldon Clark and Shelby Valley. The Patriots have dropped games to Perry County Central, Breathitt County and Powell County.
Knott County Central has dropped back-to-back Class 3A, District 7 games to Breathitt County and Powell County.
Combs is looking forward to his team returning to the field for the district game versus Knott County Central.
"Knott County Central has big play potential every time they snap the football on offense," Combs confided. "They have an offense with some fire power and we are going to have to contain Cameron Jones and get pressure on him. He can't have time to throw the football or he will pick you apart. We've been focusing on some coverage and blitz packages this week to hopefully get some pressure on him. (Ty) Hollon in the backfield also runs the football hard. We're going to have to contain him as well. Should be a fun game to watch for all the spectators.
Magoffin County is still looking to advance to the Class 3A State Playoffs. The Hornets will need to knock off Knott County Central to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Kickoff for the Magoffin County-Knott County Central football game is set for 7:30 p.m.