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Eric Graves begins his second season as head coach at Taylor County High School and despite losing several key offensive performers, the Cardinal mentor expects a good campaign.
“We saw some good things and some things we need to work on,” Graves said after last Friday’s scrimmage at Adair County.
“I did tell the guys that this week (in the 7:30 opener tomorrow at home vs. McCreary Central) when we held them after three or four plays, it would be our ball.” (The first part of the scrimmage consisted of teams keeping the ball for 10 plays.)
Sophomore quarterback Hunter Christie, gained valuable experience down the stretch in 2011, but will have to start this campaign without three graduated offensive weapons — multi-purpose back/receiver Blake Dudgeon, hard-nosed runner Cody Newton and huge lineman Lucas Bradshaw.
Christie, who guided the Taylor County past Hart County 41-39 in the regular-season finale last season, will depend on senior Daulton Turpin as his main offensive threat. Turpin, who started last season at quarterback, had two touchdown runs and two TD receptions from Christie in the Hart County triumph.
Taylor County does return four starters on the offensive line in seniors Jason Reynolds, Austin Wise, Austin Harris and junior Hunter Willis, who will be joined by fellow junior Blake Mardis.
The Cardinals’ biggest problem again is their district alignment where they must finish in the top four of a five-team district that also consists of Lexington Catholic, Boyle County, Marion County and Mercer County.