The Clay County Tigers have begun the season 1-0! They will aim to remain undefeated as they will square off with Mason County in the 2019 Don Franklin Appalachian Bowl. Tiger Coach Mike Sizemore knows his team could have their hands full with Mason. “We are going to be tested this week against a very good Mason County team,” he said. “We need to go into this game with a focused and business-like attitude in order to have success.”
Coming off the bye week, Clay County has had some time to ponder upon their game plan and get some rest after their contest with Floyd County Central. “We have had two weeks for our kids to think about how well they played in the opener and the success they had in that game,” said Sizemore. “We will have to be able to put that behind us and be willing to do the little things we done in that game in order to have success this week. Mason County is extremely athletic on the perimeter with their receivers, they will put a ton of stress on our secondary to cover and our guys up front to get a pass rush. They also have an exceptional quarterback, he’s a big strong kid that can run all over the field and has the arm to push the ball down the field.”
Playing as a team, along with accepting roles/doing jobs will be essential on Friday night says Sizemore. “We will have to play as a team on the defensive side of the ball and every player must be willing to do their job for us to have success against these guys,” he said. “We will have to be physical and play with the same pride that we opened with when we hit the field Friday night. When your program starts to turn the corner and you start to experience some success you have to have the maturity and leadership within the team to take one game at a time and be prepared to pay the price that comes with being successful on the field every time you’re out there.”
The Appalachian Bowl is a staple amongst Clay County football teams, as our success has been unparalleled. Coach Sizemore wants to continue that tradition. “As a team, I think our kids get excited to play in the Appalachian Bowl,” said Sizemore. “The Appalachian Bowl is a great opportunity to show off our school, our pride, our facilities, etc. We bring in multiple out of county schools on the night of the Appalachian Bowl and it is a great opportunity for our community to show the pride that we have in our school and our kids at Clay County High School.”
As for the future of the Appalachian Bowl, Sizemore wants it to be a premier game not only for Clay, but in Southeastern Kentucky. “I don’t think we should ever take a back seat to anyone and that’s the mentality I’ve been trying to develop in our kids since I have been here,” says Sizemore. “I’d like to see the Appalachian Bowl continue to be one of the top bowls in the state, we have had multiple regular state title contenders and teams with great history come through our bowl and that’s something to be proud of, that we are able to attract those types of schools to come play a bowl game in our stadium.”
The Tigers had a wonderful bye week from a rest standpoint, but also got in some much-needed work as well. “As a coach, I feel like we have had a productive open week,” stated Sizemore. “Being cliché, we have had a great week of getting back to the fundamentals, as we have prepared for our opponents. Our open week occurring so early in the season this year, there is really not a lot out there yet on the teams you will be playing so we have done more focusing on us than anything else and I feel it has helped our understanding of what we are asking our kids to do schematically.”
The Appalachian Bowl is set for Friday, September 6that Tiger Stadium. Perry County and Whitley County will kick off at 6:00PM, while Clay County and Mason County will square off at 8:30PM.