Pulaski a 'tougher' foe for Patriots

October 15, 2003|JILL ERWIN

STANFORD - Lincoln County's path to the Class AAA playoffs became much more difficult after last week's game.

The Patriots lost what coach Robbie Lucas called a 'very winnable game,' falling 28-20 to Taylor County last Friday. Lincoln has to win one of its final three games to make the playoffs.

Lincoln hosts Pulaski County (6-1, 1-1 Class AAA District 4), which is ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, this Friday. The Patriots then take on Pulaski Southwestern before closing out the regular season with No. 1 Boyle County.

"It gets tougher each and every week," Lucas said. "It's important that we come out focused and ready to play. We're not at the point where we're out of the playoffs, but we've put ourselves in a spot where we have to fight uphill to get in."


The Patriots (2-5, 1-1) got there after blowing a 14-0 lead at Taylor last week. Lucas stopped short of questioning the officials, but said, "They got a little help, and that's all I'm going to say." He went on to say that penalties had hurt his team, but also said it was a game the Patriots should have won.

"We let that one get away," Lucas said. "The kids are hungry and they want to get back out there and get that game out of our heads."

Pulaski played Boyle County to a 32-27 score last week and rolled up 301 yards rushing on the Rebels.

Lucas said the sheer size of the Pulaski linemen will present a problem, and the players behind the line are moer than a handful.

"They're very large up front, (running back) Jonathan Denham is a good-sized kid, and (quarterback Cole) Draughn is very large for a quarterback," Lucas said.

Only four Pulaski players touched the ball on offense last week

Pulaski only had four players touch the ball offensively last week against Boyle. Lucas said he expects a more diverse offensive look from the Maroons this time around.

"I think they're going to switch it up some more," Lucas said. "They have their main cogs, but they do have other weapons. They can pound it or they can spead the field and throw it. This is a very worthy opponent."

Lucas said senior Chris Hart has really come on in the secondary, picking off his sixth pass in the last three weeks against Taylor and returning it 35 yards for a score. That may be a necessary help if Draughn decides to air it out more than he did against Boyle, when he was 5-of-16 for 69 yards.

If Draughn decides to run it, Lucas knows he's a load to bring down. He said the play that sticks out in his mind is a quarterback sneak from the Pulaski 1-yard line that Draughn turned into an 85-yard gain against Casey County.

"It's going to be very difficult to stop him," Lucas said. "What we need to do, offensively, is to keep the ball away from them as much as possible."

Lucas said his offense is getting better each week and is finally starting to click. After scoring just 25 points total in its first five games, Lincoln has scored 54 in its last two.

The Lincoln coach said he credits the offensive line for opening holes and Logan Boyd and Hart for taking advantage of them.

"We're starting to understand the offense and control the ball a little more," Lucas said. "We're the type of offense where we can't turn it over because we can't put ourselves on a long field. But things are definitely improving."

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