Injury forces Casey to rework offense

August 20, 2003|JILL ERWIN

LIBERTY - This definitely isn't the week Andy Stephens was expecting.

The Casey County coach is trying to reconstruct his offense before opening the season against Harrison County in the Death Valley Bowl Friday at Lincoln County.

The offensive reconstruction became necessary when junior quarterback Kyle Long, a returning starter, suffered a knee injury with less than a minute to play in last week's scrimmage against Campbellsville. An MRI is scheduled Thursday, but Stephens says a doctor has already told Long he believes it's a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which would knock Long out for the season.

Long accounted for over 900 yards last season, throwing for 517 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 378 yards and another five scores.


Stephens' first option to replace Long is junior Josh Swango. The only downside is Swango has no quarterbacking experience, not even at the middle school level.

"It's just something where it's a feeling we have about him," Stephens said. "We're going to do some reverses and let him throw the ball. He can throw it pretty well."

Stephens said his biggest concern about Swango is his height. At 5-9, Swango is five inches shorter than Long. But Swango also outweighs Long by 20 pounds, weighing in at 215 and earning the nickname "Baby Jared" from Stephens in comparison to Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen.

Stephens said he has confidence in Swango's ability to run the offense.

"He's one of those kids that's throwing the ball around all the time," Stephens said. "He's pestered us for two years to get to throw it some, and he's getting his chance now.

"We're going to try to put him in situations with easy reads where he won't have to make a lot of choices. He'll have one look and if that's not open, he's going to run."

Another option for Casey could be sophomore Dustun Vest, who ran the junior varsity team last year at quarterback.

Stephens said the only real difference between the quarterbacks is the timing, but the Casey coach said Swango also has quick feet and he has worked well with the offense in practice .

Regardless of who's taking snaps for Casey, opponents know that the mainstay of Casey's offense will be senior running back Rex Delk.

Delk scored 13 times last season, carrying the ball 216 times for 1,342 yards, an average of 122 yards a game.

He'll be trying to make a big splash against a Harrison team that lost a scrimmage to Class A Harrodsburg and canceled another scrimmage against Danville.

"He doesn't have many older kids," Stephens said about Harrison coach Ray Graham. "He's playing mostly sophomores and a few freshmen on varsity."

Stephens said Harrison will be bigger than his team is up front, but that Casey will balance that by being stronger and quicker on the lines. Stephens also said he expects the Rebels' secondary to be one of their strengths.

"I think it's a good matchup for us," Stephens said. "We'll see on Friday. We're just ready to hit somebody in a different color jersey."

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