Lincoln's Lucas eager for season to start

August 20, 2003|JILL ERWIN

STANFORD - Now that he has made it through his second preseason as Lincoln County's coach, Robbie Lucas is ready to see what improvements his Patriots have made.

Lucas will measure his team against East Jessamine in the second game of the Death Valley Bowl Friday night. Casey County takes on Harrison County in the opener at 6:30 p.m.

The Patriots didn't have much success against the Jaguars last year, losing 56-0 when East Jessamine was still a Class AAA district opponent. But Lucas said he's ready to see how his team matches up this year.

"We're on practice number 41 or 42 right now, so it is definitely time to get out on the field," Lucas said.


Lucas knows his team, which was 2-8 last year, will have its hands full with the Jaguars. The Patriots will be undersized against East Jessamine, and Lucas said the Jags also have strength and athleticism to go with their size.

Still, the Lincoln coach said he can tell a difference in his team after more than a year with his system, and he's ready to see how things go.

"We're looking better," Lucas said. "We're in a mode right now where we're looking for gains in every aspect of the game and trying to get better every week. If that equates to wins or not, we'll see, but the kids are working extremely hard and I'm cautiously optimistic.

"In a year, there's been a great deal of improvement, and I've seen that on the practice field. The kids understand what we expect and what we'd like to have happen."

Hart will lead the offense

The Patriots will depend on senior Chris Hart at quarterback to lead the offense. Hart is entering his third full season as the Pats' starte. He threw for over 700 yards last year.

He will have Nate Rice and Andrew Peek at receiver. Rice is the team's leading returning receiver, having caught eight passes for 176 yards and a touchdown last season.

Senior Logan Boyd returns in the backfield after rushing for 511 yards on 127 carries last season. He and running mate Jason Brummett will be behind an offensive line anchored by seniors Kris Kirkpatrick and Tyson Stewart.

"Hopefully, we'll get big things out of everyone on the field," Lucas said. "We need for Chris to step up. Logan in the backfield is a guy that's always going to work hard. Kirkpatrick and Stewart are going to anchor the line, but everyone else is young around them. Hopefully they'll grow and mature into what we need them to be."

Injuries haven't been a problem this far for Lincoln. Lucas said the Patriots had some players that were a little "banged up" earlier in practice, but that he expects his entire team to be 100 percent for Friday's kickoff.

Lucas said the Patriots will need to be healthy and have their minds in the game to knock off East Jessamine.

"They are a little bigger than we are and they definitely have more speed than we do. We have to overcome that by not turning the ball over, playing good smart football and staying away from penalties. We've got to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves."

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