Headed to Somerset: Middlesboro fights for third place

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

This isn’t the first time Middlesboro and Somerset have found themselves fighting for third place in a loaded district.

Since 2014, the game between the Yellow Jackets and the Briar Jumpers has been for third place in a district that has overwhelmingly been dominated by Danville and Lexington Christian. This year is no different as the Admirals and the Eagles find themselves at the top of the district with victories over both teams.

On Friday, Middlesboro will make the trip to Somerset with their sights set on an upset over the No. 7 Briar Jumpers. Since these two teams were placed in the same district in 2011, it has been a one-sided series with Somerset holding a 6-1 lead over Middlesboro including a playoff game in 2013.

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The Yellow Jackets’ only victory over Somerset came in 2014 when Middlesboro handed the Briar Jumpers a 52-47 defeat. In their losses, the Jackets have fallen by an average of 21.6 points.

The winner of this game will move on to play Prestonsburg in the playoffs. The loser will travel to Leslie County.

Know the Briar Jumpers

Don’t let the four losses on Somerset’s record trick you. The Briar Jumpers are one of the top teams in Class 2A. The combined record of the opponents they have lost to is 28-5 with district foes Lexington Christian and Danville being undefeated at the moment. The other two losses came against Class 1A power Beechwood (7-0) and Bourbon County (36-29).

Throughout the year, Somerset has knocked off some big names. They handed Hazard a 20-9 defeat, Rockcastle County a 12-6 loss and beat Raceland 16-13. The also gave North Laurel a 16-14 loss.

Similar to LCA and Danville, the Jumpers utilize a balanced offense. The team has thrown for 1,423 yards and rushed for nearly 1,200 yards. The catalyst for that balance is senior quarterback Mason Reece.

Reece leads the team in both passing and rushing. When throwing the ball, the senior has racked up 1,329 yards and nine touchdowns while throwing five interceptions. Josh Cornett is hands down the main target with 55 receptions for 581 yards and four touchdowns.

When running the ball, Reece is just a part in a three-prong attack. The quarterback leads the team on the ground with 401 yards and five touchdowns. Alex Miller and Ty Tevis round out the backfield with 334 yards and 329 yards, respectively.

Tevis averages 37 yards a game to go with his three touchdowns. Miller has found the end zone once on the ground will rushing for 37 yards a game.

Peyton Hatcher leads a defense that has allowed 1,192 yards rushing and 1,231 yards passing. The junior linebacker has 100 tackles on the year. Cornett leads the secondary with a team-high four interceptions.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN