Difficult challenge awaits Garrard in district title game

October 29, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - Steve Stonebraker knows how difficult it will be for his Garrard County team to win at Corbin on Friday, especially since the game will decide who wins the Class AA, District 4 championship.

"This Corbin team has the most speed of any Corbin team that I have seen," Stonebraker said. "That is probably what concerns me the most, particularly from the standpoint of us trying to throw the football.

"Corbin has a charged up atmosphere for all of its home games. It is a great football town. With this being a district title game, I think that our kids will respond with a lot of energy and focus on what needs to be done."

Garrard (8-1) will have to respond that way against Corbin, last year's Class AA state runner-up.

The Redhounds are led by 208-pound senior running back Jarrod Lawson. He averages 209 yards per game to rank among the state's top three rushers and has scored 22 touchdowns.


"We have faced a lot of good backs this season, but his combination of size and quickness ranks him at the top," Stonebraker said. "They are also very good up front and we have to respond by playing our most physical game of the year."

Corbin averages 42 points and 340 yards rushing per game. However, Stonebraker said junior quarterback Jeremy Brock deserves a lot of credit for those numbers.

"They are a great running team, but they are not afraid to throw the football," the Garrard coach said. "Their balance has kept them at the top of most offensive categories in Class AA all year.

"Brock is the best quarterback I have ever seen at Corbin. He runs their offense very well."

The Redhounds (7-2) have also impressed Stonebraker with their defense, even though they are allowing 15 points per game and gave up 31 in a loss to South Laurel.

"They will mix up their fronts, stunts and coverages and try to force your offense to make mistakes," Stonebraker said. "We must be cerebral in recognizing what the defense is giving us and recognizing our sight adjustments. We also have to be very physical, because we have to maintain some type of offensive flow to win the game."

Stonebraker said 260-pound senior lineman Chaz Stradley is Corbin's best defensive player. He'll play both end and tackle.

"His motor is constantly running, and he chases down plays very well," Stonebraker said. "His size is an obvious worry also. Brandon Felts is their best linebacker and runs well for his size. But they get a lot of people to the football and ball security will be a top priority for us."

Lions have struggled on offense in last two games

Garrard has struggled offensively since starting quarterback Spencer Crutchfield suffered a season-ending leg injury on Oct. 3. The Lions have scored just 19 points in two games since then. However, Garrard did mount a game-winning drive in the final minutes last week to beat Russell County 10-3. Corbin beat the same team 55-7 a week earlier.

"I think we are a battle-tested team," Stonebraker said. "In the Bryan Station and Madison Southern games, our opponents scored late to cut the deficit to one score and our offense was able to run out the clock. Last week Russell County scored late to tie the game and we answered with a go-ahead score.

"When you can make plays at the end of games like that, it shows the character of your team."

Running back Tim Quisenberry leads Garrard with nine touchdowns and 528 yards rushing. Jake Cool has 33 catches for 406 yards and four scores, and Chris Clark has 29 catches for 365 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Bruce Williams is 17-for-34 passing for 50 yards since taking over for Crutchfield. Williams, a former running back, has rushed for 248 yards.

Win or lose, Garrard will host a first-round playoff game Nov. 7, and Stonebraker doesn't want to overemphasize Friday's game.

"A win in this game would be big in the sense that we have won only one or two district titles in school history," Stonebraker said. "However, whatever happens in this game, next week's game will be bigger because it is a playoff game."

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