Vaught's Views: Lincoln, Ads should continue to play

August 26, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Maybe former Lincoln County coach Robbie Lucas couldn't revitalize the football program the way he wanted in the two years he was given to do so, but he did do one thing right.

Lucas, a former Lincoln player, put Danville back on the schedule when he had the opportunity. The Admirals beat Lincoln 50-0 last year and they will be a big favorite to win again here Friday when the two teams meet in the second year of the two-year contract.

Still, Lucas' logic was that if the Patriots wanted to be considered one of Class AAA's best teams, they could not shy away from playing a Class A power only 10 miles away. With Lincoln likely moving to Class AAAA next year, it would seem to only add more logic to that theory.

But will the series continue after this season?

Danville coach Sam Harp hopes so. First-year Lincoln coach Larry French isn't as definite about his position.


"We have not talked about next year yet," said Harp. "We certainly want to continue playing Lincoln. I think it is a game we should play. There's no doubt Larry will get the program to the point where the game is a dogfight every year when we play each other. He's an excellent coach. His record speaks for itself. We know he'll only make the program better, but playing good competition is how you get better."

While French says the Patriots may need to play teams it can compete with, he likely will renew the series.

"Sooner or later, we will get to where we can compete with them," French said. "It may take a couple of years to get on their level, but we can get there. We just have to keep our heads above water until then."

French knows several Lincoln athletes have transferred to Danville to play football because of the Admirals' annual success. That's a trend he wants to change, too.

"We've got to make sure our people stay here and play for us and help us get better so we can get to that level," French said.

A decision about Boyle is likely, too

Of course, French likely is going to have to make the same decision about playing Boyle County. The Rebels are now in the same Class AAA district with Lincoln.

But if the Patriots move up, they no longer will automatically be on Boyle's schedule.

It would be a bold move to add Danville and Boyle both as non-district games. Then again, if a team wants to be a state title contender, what better way to gauge itself than by playing the Title Town teams?

"We talk to our kids every day about what we need to do to be better. We know what it takes to compete with Danville and Boyle," French said. "I think we eventually can compete with those schools.

"Danville is not a typical Class A school. They have some special talent. Danville, Mayfield and a few other Class A teams can compete above their class and do a great job. If Danville had to play Male, St. X and Trinity every week, it might hurt them. But playing one or two big teams a year, they can do that."

Of course, there is one other compelling reason for Lincoln to continue not only the Danville series, but also the one with Boyle. It's M-O-N-E-Y.

If the Patriots improve, both games should draw big crowds and that puts money into athletics budgets. There's no easier fund-raising event for any school than a capacity football crowd.

"It was a big (financial) gate before Lincoln dropped us several years ago," Harp said. "There are very few good gates, but Lincoln is one of them for us.

"I am sure Larry will make the best decision for his program when the time comes. If they decide not to play us, I won't get uptight like I did before. We'll just move on, but this is a series I hope we can continue because it's a game that needs to be played."

Just like the Boyle-Lincoln game does because if the Patriots are serious about building a program and have as much talent as many believe, there's no reason to end either area rivalry when this season ends.

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