TAYLOR-TIGERS GREAT UNKNOWN (AGAIN)

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TAYLOR (Ohio) At

LAWRENCEBURG

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at Dick Meador Stadium/Neary Memorial Field (artificial turf).

RECORDS: Tigers 0-1, Yellow Jackets 2-8 in 2017

LAST TIME: Tigers won 37-0 on Aug. 18, 2017, at Cleves, Ohio

30-YEAR SERIES: Lawrenceburg 6-3.

LAST WEEK: Class 3A No. 8 Tigers lost 38-7 at Class 4A No. 1 East Central.

FAVORITE: Lawrenceburg.

TEAM HIGHLIGHTS:

Lawrenceburg - Sure, the Tigers took their (expected) 38-7 thumping from defending Class 4A state champion East Central last Friday. But positive signs were everywhere, especially with the young offense with freshman QB Garrett Yoon under center. Although LHS scored only once, on a one-yard dive by FB Mason Kennedy following a EC turnover, the visitors were able to sustain the attack to the tune of 248 rush yards and 333 total offense, piling up 22 first downs to the Trojans' 14. Yoon rushed for 74 yards on 16 carries, with a long run of 18, in his varsity debut, and completed 9-20 passing for 85 yards, with one pick. Sophomore Adam Burd netted 103 rushing on 16 tries, with a longer gainer of 20. Speedster Jalen Parks caught 4 passes for 47 yards, with a long one of 23. Almost all-rookie defense (9 new starters) held EC within 14-7 late in the first half until the size/strength disadvantage took hold late. ILB Andrew Roth led the D with 8 tackles (3 solos), while MLB Jack Fette had 10 and CB Blake Bartley recovered a fumble. Coach Ryan Knigga is 61-24 in his 8th year at the helm. Sagarin rates the Tigers at 59.9, 17th in Class 3A and 109th overall.

Taylor - Yellow Jackets, in their first season under young head coach Mark Miller a year ago, went 2-8, beating only Cincinnati Hills League rivals Deer Park 20-14 and Finneytown 12-9, in back-to-back weeks, Sept. 22 and 29. The eight losses, admittedly, all were blowouts, including five shutout losses. Taylor gave up 37 points each of the last two years in blowout losses to Lawrenceburg, but activated the 30-point continuous clock rule in the second half of a 41-7 romp at Cleves as recently as 2015. Senior QB Tyler Embry threw for 343 yards with one TD, 9 Int. a year ago and rushed for 213 yards on 74 carries, with 3 TDs. Senior RB Eric Meyer was leading rusher with 353 yards on 103 attempts and 2 TDs. Air game spreads the ball around, with junior Blake Brunswick last year's top receiver with 9 catches for 86 yards and one score. Jackets return home for three-straight after Friday, including their CHL opener vs. Wyoming Sept. 14.

COACHES' QUOTES:

Ryan Knigga, Lawrenceburg (8th year) - "We are healthy. No injuries to worry about and nothing that will keep anyone from playing. Like everyone after Game 1, we have bumps and bruises. But nothing major on our end. There were a lot of positives from the East Central game on both sides of the ball. The people that were there know it was 14-7 with three minutes to go in the half. We missed on a fourth down and EC scored on a fourth down from 20 yards out, making it 21-7 at half-time. They also started with the ball in the third quarter. We had some opportunities, not to win the game, but to keep it closer than it was. I was proud of our offense. They moved the ball. We ran a ton of plays, rushed for over 250 yards, won the time of possession. Those things don't matter if you don't score. But, when you are searching for positives, those definitely stand out. We knew our defense would need time to improve. We have nine new starters. We lack Friday night varsity game experience, and that will get better each week with practice and games. We had some alignment issues and a ton of missed tackles. EC is good on both sides of the ball. I expect them to do what they did to us to a lot of teams this year. Give credit where credit is due, they are No. 1 for a reason, and they are good in all phases. Taylor is under second-year Coach Miller and they are much improved. I really like their QB. He has a strong arm and keeps plays alive with his feet. His eyes are always downfield and he makes a ton of plays for them. Nothing we have matches film or roster, so it is a guessing game on who is who. Taylor is spreading it out more. They do a nice job of using formations and putting the defense in a bind with their schemes. They like the zone and zone read, but love to throw the flood routes, then take their shots down field. We just need to improve this week and get better. They say the most improvement a team makes is between Weeks 1 and 2. I hope that is true. I like our team, I like our kids and we have the tools to be good. I do not know when that will be, but I hope soon. We will need to get off the field defensively. Our tackling must improve and we must not have missed assignments. We must get stops. Offensively, we need to score. Time of possession and a ton of plays are good, but we must finish drives with points. I was proud of our effort and kids last Friday. I know this team will play hard and find a way to win. They will figure it out. And, hopefully, we can string a few Ws together.”