Win would give Garrard home playoff game

October 22, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - Russell County only has one win this year and Garrard County coach Steve Stonebraker doesn't want that total to increase this week.

His Golden Lions play at Russell Friday and can guarantee themselves at least one home playoff game by beating the Lakers.

Garrard (7-1) and Corbin, last year's Class AA runner-up, are both 2-0 in district play and will face each other Oct. 31 at Corbin.

"This is an important game in terms of guaranteeing us at least one home game in the playoffs," said Stonebraker. "We have to be concerned about having all of our focus on Russell County. This is certainly a big game in terms of playoff positioning."


Garrard had last week off following a victory at Wayne County. That was the first

game the Lions played without quarterback Spencer Crutchfield, who was lost for the season with a leg injury in a win over Casey County on Oct. 3.

"I think having a week off toward the end of the season can be used to help re-energize the players and staff more than anything else," Stonebraker said. "Sometimes a little time off can be just as beneficial psychologically to a player as it is physically. Hopefully, we are now charged up for the stretch run toward the playoffs.

"We did work on some things offensively last week and have gotten down to some things that we think we are going to be able to do with some consistency."

Stonebraker moved running back Bruce Williams to quarterback to replace Crutchfield. He was 6-for-19 passing for 36 yards in the win at Wayne.

However, he will have Chris Clark at full speed Friday. Clark was injured in the Wayne game, but was able to practice last week. He is the team's second-leading receiver with 26 catches for 323 yards. Jake Cool leads the Lions with 30 catches for 375 yards.

Russell's only win was over Taylor

Russell's only win was a 16-15 victory over Taylor County Sept. 12. The Lakers lost to Mercer County and Wayne, two teams Garrard beat.

"Russell County plays extremely hard. They have been very competitive in many of their games," Stonebraker said. "They played Pulaski County tough (in a 42-14 loss) for quite a while and they were leading Wayne at the half.

"In a lot of their games they have just made a few costly mistakes that were the difference in a scoring opportunity one way or the other. But they have played teams tough for the most part."

Garrard's defense has done the same most of the season. The Lions are allowing about 17 points per game.

Mark Major leads the team in tackles with 71 while Ryan Hulett has 62 tackles, including eight quarterback sacks and seven tackles for loss.Clark, a defensive back, has 55 tackles and four interceptions and end Tim Quisenberry has a team-high 12 tackles for loss among his 42 stops.

"Our defense has come through for us for the better part of the season," Stonebraker said. "We've had a couple of games where some of our opponents did a good job offensively, but for the most part our defense has played well."

That's one reason the Lions have lost just once this season and are in position to challenge for a district title.

"I don't think our kids are surprised one bit in the success that they have had," Stonebraker said. "They have bought into the notion that hard work and preparation will pay off on game nights. We may have surprised a lot of people this year, but we know what our capabilities are and what can possibly lie ahead for us."

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