Numbers will be about the same for Casey, Harrodsburg

August 25, 2004|JILL ERWIN

LIBERTY - Coaches Andy Stephens and Terry Yeast will each look across the field Friday night and see a team facing the same challenges as his own, which is good enough news for the two of them.

Stephens' Casey County Rebels faced a depth disadvantage against East Jessamine in its season opener, but will take on a Harrodsburg team here Friday that is used to facing those problems.

Neither team played more than 15 people in its opener, and each coach said having a team similar to his own in substitution patterns will be a positive.

"I think it's surely to goodness something that's to our advantage," Stephens said. "Just playing a team that is as deep as you are is good for your team."


"That's always a plus," Yeast said. "Early in the year, we expect the kids to be a little fatigued. But knowing they may be in the same boat we are is a little bit of a benefit for us because we're used to it."

Stephens stopped short of saying playing Harrodsburg would be a benefit for his team. Instead, he did say he felt confident in playing a team with lower numbers (22 players).

"The biggest thing is who can stay healthy and be in the best shape in the fourth quarter," Stephens said. "If we can keep it close through three quarters, I think we'll be in good shape for the fourth and then we'll have a good opportunity to win the game."

Casey battled injuries during the preseason, but came out of last week's 45-6 loss relatively healthy. Stephens said the Rebels had the normal bumps and bruises from a game, but not anything serious.

However, Stephens said he's been pushing the Rebels in practice this week and has seen more wear and tear from that.

"We're more banged up from practice than we were from the game, and that just tells me were not playing as hard as we should have," Stephens said. "I was really surprised when I watched tape at how many guys were walking around on the field and not really running to the ball and making things happen. I was shocked at how terrible our execution was on both offense and defense."

Yeast liked most of what he saw last week

Yeast liked most of what he saw from his team in a season-opening 39-20 win over Western Hills last week. Sophomore running backs Brandon Ford and Cory Jackson both rushed for more than 100 yards and Yeast said their speed on offense and defense helps cover up some of the Pioneers' shortcomings.

"The one thing about our secondary is we don't have a lot of size," Yeast said. "Anytime anybody throws the ball, I get a little nervous because it's always a size advantage for the other team. We can, however, make up for some of those things with our speed."

That speed is exactly what worries Stephens the most.

"I think the biggest challenge is overcoming their speed advantage in the backfield, and hopefully we can overcome that with physical play," Stephens said. "We're going to stay physical and work that to our advantage."

Yeast praised the play of Casey receiver Brandon Raney and running back Tristan Harris, but said the return of quarterback Kyle Long is what concerns him.

"I think they're going to be a little more balanced with running and throwing the ball," Yeast said. "He's a really nice drop-back passer, but he also has the vision to look to run during the pass. Their best play usually involves him with the ball in his hand."

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