Golden Lions have momentum going against 'dangerous' Elizabethtown

November 12, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - If Garrard County had anyone that didn't believe it could still have a special season, coach Steve Stonebraker thinks last week's dramatic win dispelled those doubts.

Garrard (9-2) let DeSales take the lead in the final minute and then won the game when quarterback Bruce Williams threw a touchdown pass to Jake Cool with 19 seconds left. The 19-15 victory gave the Golden Lions their first playoff win since 1999 and first season with nine or more wins since 1995.

"Hopefully last week's win is something that will erase any doubt in our players' minds that they can still accomplish great things," said Stonebraker. "Sometimes victories like that can be used as springboards to much greater achievements. Also the dramatic fashion in which we won the game hopefully will attract more positive attention to our program."

Stonebraker is positive his team will face a talented Class AA team this Friday at Elizabethtown. The Panthers (9-2) have won seven straight games since losing to Fort Knox 7-0 and John Hardin 41-40 in early September. They beat Wayne County 58-12 last week. Garrard beat Wayne 9-0 Oct. 10. Elizabethtown also defeated DeSales 32-7 on Sept. 19 to start its winning streak.


"I think Elizabethtown is a very dangerous team," Stonebraker said. "They have excellent team speed defensively and they are very disciplined with their assignments. They haven't lost since district play began, so they are on a roll. But I also think they haven't been challenged since district play started."

Todd has thrown for 3,251 yards, 38 touchdowns

E-town's offense is led by junior quarterback Chris Todd, who has completed 212 of 330 passes for 3,251 yards and 38 touchdowns. He's thrown only five interceptions.

"He is the best quarterback I have seen in Class AA all season," Stonebraker said. "He is so accurate with his throws and throws to spots very well. He is the key to their offense."

The top receiver is senior Jerry Turner, who has 51 catches for 1,198 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior Zipp Duncan has 43 catches for 515 yards and nine scores and A.J. French, another junior has 38 catches for 625 yards and eight scores.

"Turner is the best route runner we have seen all season. He also has excellent hands and is the guy they will look to for the majority of their deeper throws," Stonebraker said. "French and Duncan are also excellent possession receivers who run crisp routes."

Stonebraker calls junior running back Jonathan Rusher, who has 937 yards and 13 touchdowns on 134 carries the team's "most improved player" based on what he's seen.

"They have started to use him a little more lately," the Garrard coach said.

French has rushed 42 times for 521 yards and four touchdowns.

"We have got to mix up our looks defensively and also pick spots to try and get some pressure on the quarterback to stop their offense," Stonebraker said. "Our secondary has got to play its game of the year. We have to do an excellent job of accelerating to the ball when it is thrown. Our linebackers will have to do a great job in coverage as well. We have a little bit of speed at linebacker and that should help."

Garrard can't waste scoring chances Friday

Garrard has struggled to score once it gets inside the 20-yard line since an injury to starting quarterback Spencer Crutchfield in early October. Williams has gained confidence each week, but Stonebraker says the Lions can't waste scoring chances Friday at Elizabethtown.

The Lions are averaging 24 points and 326 yards of total offense per game. Tim Quisenberry has rushed for 585 yards and nine touchdowns, Williams has thrown for 528 yards and two scores, and Cool has 48 catches for 549 yards and five scores.

"We have to tighten our focus in the red zone (inside the 20) and get the most out of every play," the coach said. "We have had trouble running the ball when defenses know we are going to run. It may be a matter of me needing to be more creative with some of the things we will do in the red zone."

Stonebraker hopes a difficult non-district schedule that include games with Paul Dunbar and Bryan Station as well as a district game with 2002 Class AA runner-up Corbin two weeks ago will help his team in Friday's matchup.

"Winning a second round playoff game would be huge for us," Stonebraker said. "We need to continue to develop a good playoff mentality and the deeper we can go, the better that can be developed."

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