"The kids practiced extremely hard," Lucas said. "They were crisp, and our seniors stepped up and showed a little more leadership. Friday night was nothing anyone on this team or this staff wants to experience ever again."
Stephens has been disappointed in his team's play the past three weeks. He said that with his team's improvement over the past couple of years, he has started giving them more leeway. But all that's come to an end this week.
"The funny thing is when you're the underdog, it's easy to play because no one expects you to win," Stephens saids. "But when you're expected to win, the pressure's on yourself to get ready to play, and I think we've struggled as far as the guys getting ready to play football.
"I've treated them a little more mature this year and given them certain rights because I thought they could handle the freedom. We've gone to a boot camp mentality. We're going to be really strict on discipline and if they breathe wrong, they'll be punished. We beat each other to death (Monday). If we only have 11 to play because we've beat each other to death, then that's what we'll play with and that's how we'll handle the rest of the year."
Stephens knows he'll be one player short as he'll hold senior receiver/defensive back Blake McGinnis out of the game. McGinnis was expected to miss last week's game with Franklin County with an ankle injury, but Stephens played him. Stephens said that was "stupid" of him because McGinnis' injury has worsened.
Running back Rex Delk and lineman Andrew Allen will play, although they're not 100 percent from earlier injuries.
"Rex Delk is a very good player," Lucas said. "We've just got to get into our scout book and use what we see on film to put our kids in the right position."
Lucas knows his team has played a tough schedule, as the Patriots' four opponents have a combined record of 12-3 and have outscored Lincoln 172-15.
"I expected us to fight little harder than we have at times," Lucas said. "We played a nice half against Danville and had the lead at halftime against Garrard (County).
"We're just trying to get ready for district play. We're not going to see a team as good as Rockcastle until the last week of the season (Boyle County), we're not going to see a team as fast as Danville or see a team with the size and speed of East Jessamine. Hopefully that will get us ready to play when district time comes."
The Patriots run a solid ball-control offense when they can hold onto the ball, and the Lincoln coach said that will be a key to the game.
"We've got to control the clock and the ball," Lucas said. "We had our success against Garrard and Danville because we controlled the clock and built long drives. We've got good kids who work hard, but we don't have the athletes we've had in the past. The kids understand that, and that's why we've got to embrace getting better and becoming a more sound team."