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The LaRue County Hawks packed a meaty offensive effort and focused on their defense in a preseason scrimmage against Nelson County Friday night in Bardstown.
Nelson County, returning 22 seniors and 34 juniors, starts the season with a new coach and different mindset from last year. The team is running more of a spread offense - just the kind of offense Hawks Coach Rodney Armes had in mind to prepare his football team for the upcoming year.
“We want to focus on our defense heading into the season,” Armes said. “That seemed to be our weakness last year.”
LaRue and Nelson both ran 10 play series against each other giving their coaches a chance to see their players in game situations and how they react after the snap.
“We implemented a new defense this year and the guys did a good job reacting to their reads and making tackles in open field,” Hawks assistant coach Kelly Sandidge said. “We wanted to be more aggressive defensively and I think we’ll look pretty good going into the season.”
The Hawks limited the Cardinals to three touchdowns, two by air, with one interception.
Offensively, the Hawks were aggressive and marched the ball down the gridiron against a much bigger 6A Nelson County squad several times during the scrimmage, connecting on passes and then utilizing speed around the corners for big gainers and then power up the middle. Nelson never could establish a defensive rhythm to stop LaRue.
Offensively, LaRue plays two quarterbacks, Jordan Brewer and Lucas Chaudoin, and uses six different backs that Sandidge describes as “equally talented.”
LaRue scored on three different series. A newcomer, Bo Haun, is the extra-point kicker for the team, made two of three. Haun also plays on the varsity soccer squad.
“He has great range and this was his first game,” Sandidge said.
LaRue did not turn the ball over against Nelson but they had two fumbles.
“We hung onto the ball well,” Sandidge said, “and I thought we did a real good job controlling the ball.”
This week, LaRue opens against Campbellsville 6 p.m. Saturday. The team uses the same offensive scheme as Nelson and has a first-year head coach.