Casey hopes to continue winning against McCreary

October 22, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Last week might have been just what Casey County needed, and coach Andy Stephens is hoping his Rebels can keep the momentum going.

Casey ended a six-game losing streak by beating Wayne County 19-13 last week. The Rebels (2-6) will host McCreary Central (2-6) in a non-district game Friday.

The win over Wayne virtually assured Casey of a playoff berth, its second consecutive trip to the postseason action and third in four years. Even though Friday's game won't directly affect it, Stephens said it's important to keep working off the high of last week's game.

"I feel like we should be all right in this one if we show up and play," Stephens said. "Hopefully we can use this as another stepping stone and maybe make something happen in the playoffs. We're good enough to be a threat in the first round, whoever we play."


First, Casey has to play McCreary. The Raiders have won their two games by a total of four points, including a 15-13 overtime win over Marion County on Sept. 26. After an open week, McCreary has since lost to Harlan and Whitley County by a combined score of 75-12.

Stephens said this is a chance for the Rebels to continue the positives of last week.

"When you're on a six-game losing streak, it's easy for the kids to get their heads down," Stephens said. "Little things happen here and there that go bad, where if you're on a win streak, they're probably not going to happen.

"I think (last week) was good for us. The kids enjoyed it, they came out and had a good, exciting practice yesterday, and hopefully we'll get that off our backs, relax and play hard this week."

Tailback leads McCreary

McCreary is led by 190-pound tailback Brandon Perry. Stephens called him a "manchild" and said he picked up almost 200 yards against Casey last year in a 41-18 Rebels' win.

"He's tough," Stephens said. "Everyone I've seen on tape has struggled with stopping him. Our biggest key is to stop him because he's obviously their main offensive weapon."

But Perry is not alone. The Raiders came to Liberty with just 19 players last year, but have 40 on this year's roster under new head coach George Hatcher.

Stephens said 190 pound senior tight end Todd Strunk is a big target, a solid guy who fits in with McCreary's overall size.

The Casey coach said that the old McCreary, the one with huge linemen, is gone and has been replaced by a solid team with more confidence.

"They were huge last year," Stephens said. "They don't have those big kids anymore. I don't know if the new conditioning program ran them off or what. They only two kids above 260, where they had several that were 300 last year. They play hard, and they're pretty physical."

Casey is almost back to 100 percent with its injured players. Rex Delk and Blake McGinnis are near full-strength as is Andrew Allen.

The Rebels will be without linemen Luke Weddle and Kyle Allen. The pair missed last week's game for a hunting trip, and Stephens said they will sit this one out as punishment.

Stephens said this game is key to getting the Rebels on a winning roll heading into next week's season finale.

"We played a pretty tough schedule," Stephens said. "I felt like playing tougher games would make our district games easier for us. Several years ago, Wayne County was beating us 77-0. We're a long way from there, but I think we've got it to where we can compete with teams like Wayne and Russell County year in and year out."

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