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Chances are the mantra around both Anderson County and Henry County this week will be something to the effect of “It only takes 11.”
Anderson travels to Henry County on Friday night for what could be a major test against one of the state's better Class 3A teams.
However, many will point to the fact that Anderson is a 5A school and much has a much larger enrollment than Henry. Last year, Anderson enrolled just over 1,200 students while Henry was just under 700.
But Anderson will hear that only 11 can play at a time and Henry has some good talent, led by quarterback Luke Magness, who threw 72 passes, completing 38, in the Wildcats' first three games. He had 556 yards before Henry's 50-13 shellacking of Owen County on Friday night.
“Their quarterback is very good. He can run and throw. He throws the ball to several people,” Anderson coach Mark Peach says.
Trevor Raisor had caught the most passes (10) through three games but Erick Butler had the most yards (161 on eight receptions.) According to statistics provided by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, nine different Henry players caught passes in the Wildcats' first three games.
Running back Jaccori Baldwin is also expected to give the Bearcats some problems.
At 4-0, Henry has some talented skill players and has proved to be difficult to score upon. So far the Wildcats have given up just 31 points in four games, which, on paper at least, makes for an intriguing matchup against an Anderson team that is putting up 42 points a game and averaged just under that figure a year ago.
Peach expects Henry to line up in a 4-4 set and says, “They do a nice job of getting to the ball.”
To many, it is a given that a large 5A school will beat a 3A school but last year, Henry was at one time ranked atop 3A by one of the computer polls. This year, the Wildcats are widely ranked in the state's Top 10 Class A teams and have received some votes as the state's best this year. Last year, Western Hills, a 3A team, spanked Anderson 32-13 in the season finale. Earlier, Western Hills had squeaked by Henry.
However, Anderson is also ranked in the 5A Top 10 and should be the strongest team on Henry's schedule.
Peach challenged his team with a major schedule upgrade with the intent of toughening his team up for district play and the post season.
It is Anderson's final tuneup before getting into district play at Grant County next weekend.
“Everything we are doing right now in the regular season is in preparation for the post season. Hopefully you gain some valuable experiences along the way. Then when the post season come and things do get tough you have had some prior expcriences that you can draw from,” Peach says. “Playing on the road against a quality opponent like Henry can only make you better.”
*Anderson got a few scares late in the game with Mercer County as Seth Carmichael tweaked a knee and Jacob Russell and Ben Walker were limping some at the end of the game. Peach says all will be fine and ready against Henry. Peach said he does not know if Clayton Carney, hurt in the season opener against Garrard County, will be able to return to the lineup or not.
*Friday is Henry's homecoming night, according to the Henry County Local.
*Construction around Henry County High School is largely completed and fans should have little trouble parking. The football stadium is located behind the high school, near the baseball field.
E-mail John Herndon at firstname.lastname@example.org.