Eagles host Grayson, looking for first playoff win since '14

JAIME PRINCE/Special to The Messenger

Sophomore running back Clint McKee runs through a gap on a 48 yard touchdown run in the Eagles' 28-21 win over Marshall County. McKee rushed for 120 yards on 21 carries as he scored two touchdowns in the win.

The temperature is rapidly dropping, injuries are beginning to pile up and a chance to make history is at stake for every team in Kentucky this weekend. This can mean only one thing: it's time for some playoff football.

The Graves County Eagles enter the first round of the class 5A playoffs in pursuit of their first postseason win since 2014 as they welcome Grayson County to Eagles Stadium on Friday night.

Graves County finished its 2019 regular season with a 6-4 record, winning five of their last six to secure home field advantage in week one of the postseason.

With a familiar opponent coming to them this time around, Graves County head coach Nick Kemp says his team will look to do much of the same in their second meeting but with better weather conditions.

"We ran the ball really well against them last time, even with the rain," Kemp said. "They seem one dimensional, more so than we are, so we're excited about spreading the field and getting guys out of the box that way we can open up our running game."

In addition to sticking to the same gameplan, the Eagles will get back in important offensive weapon this week.

Junior wide receiver and deep ball threat Race Richards will be back for the Eagles against the Cougars following a shoulder injury that sidelined him against Marshall County last week.

On defense, the Eagles will look to stop a Cougars' run game that is the majority of their offense.

Grayson County ran for a total of 79 yards against the Eagles in their week eight 21-10 loss while throwing for zero yards on just one passing attempt.

Despite the team's lack of production the first time around, running backs Jacob Kerr and Hunter Gibson will be the two players to watch come Friday night.

Gibson leads the Cougars in rushing yards with 948 on 154 carries with 15 touchdowns while Kerr has seen his share of success as well, accumulating 421 yards on 80 carries with three touchdowns.

Kemp says the plan for his defense will be simple, rush the quarterback and stop the run game.

"We feel like in the secondary we can man them up and load the box. Their run game is their best aspect of, their quarterback is a great runner but not much of a pocket passer. Our biggest thing will be making him hand the ball off and forcing the ball out of his hands."

With sights set on a second round rematch with Owensboro, Kemp says his team is using that as motivation but will be solely focused on Grayson County this week.

"Last week against Marshal we didn't play real well, so our focus this week is to take things one week at a time. All of the guys on this football team haven't won a playoff game so that's another thing we're focused on, trying to go 1-0 in the playoffs and taking care of Grayson, Owensboro is on our minds but right now it's all about Grayson County."

Graves County will host Grayson County at 7:00 p.m. tonight at War Memorial Stadium.