HOPSPTS-11-06-21 HOPTOWN FB-PHOTO1

Hopkinsville’s Daisjaun Mercer catches his second touchdown pass of the night in the Tigers’ 52-14 rout of Hopkins County Central.

The Hopkinsville Tigers’ offense has a completely different look than it did early in the season.

While head coach Craig Clayton didn’t put the offense on full display in Friday night’s 52-14 win over Hopkins County Central, that unit has come a long way from the early stint in the season.

“I think a lot of it is confidence,” he said. “We’re running better routes, we’re catching the ball better, the offensive line is blocking better. I think there are just a lot of things teams will need to defend if we’re all on the same page.”

While the last couple of weeks it has been quarterback Trey Jefferson doing the running and really bringing that punch the Hoptown offense didn’t have early on, Friday night’s star was Jay’Den Dillard.

The senior halfback exploded for 224 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries in the game, all of which came in the first half.

When Dillard is putting up yards like that, it adds another dimension on top of the Tigers’ offense and another wrinkle that opposing teams have to try to stop on the defensive side of the ball.

“He’s probably our second or third best receiver too,” Clayton said. “I was really worried about the weapons we had but it’s all starting to come together.”

With the offense giving the defense more time off of the field, it allows the Tigers’ best weapon to be even more dominant.

Hopkins Central’s scores came off what should have been an intercepted pass turned into a 77-yard touchdown from Adrian Stringer and a score against Hoptown’s second defensive unit.

It was yet another game — much like the win over Paducah Tilghman last week — that the Tigers owned the game in all three phases, showing Clayton’s team is once again peaking at the right time.

“We’re on a pretty good roll offensively,” he said. “We’ve played well on defense all year long but now we’re putting a lot of points up. … I was really proud of KC Cabiness. I decided I was going to try to get him the ball. … I think he has really taken that last step to become a really dominant player.

“Next week it’ll be all hands on deck.”

Now Hoptown gets exactly what it has been asking for — a rematch against Logan County.

The Cougars defeated the Tigers 14-13 in a game that Clayton and everyone else in the Hoptown locker room believes it should have won.

Clayton said he won’t have to do any extra motivation to get his players ready for a rematch with Logan County.

“I think Logan County has turned into a big rivalry for us,” Clayton said. “We respect their coaches and players a lot.

“There won’t be any problem motivating them this week.”

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