Lions must slow down Wayne's running game

October 06, 2004|JILL ERWIN

LANCASTER - Garrard County coach Steve Stonebraker said one of his team's biggest problems on defense has been stopping the running game. That could lead to trouble for the Golden Lions this week.

Garrard (5-2) travels to Wayne County, where it will find Matt Goff waiting. Goff, a 205-pound senior, has rushed 175 times for 1,056 yards, an average of six yards a carry.

"We've got to slow down No. 14 (Goff). He's the guy that makes them go," Stonebraker said. "He's not someone like Andrew McCloud (of Mercer County). He's not going to have that type of burst through the seam and he's not going to run from you. He's just a hard-nosed guy and a real north and south runner. That's why he's been able to get the amount of yards he has gotten."

Wayne is largely a running team, but Stonebraker said overlooking the Cardinals' passing game would be a big mistake.


Senior Ryan Steele has completed 35 of 85 passes for 494 yards with two interceptions. Stonebraker said Steele played especially well in last week's 31-0 win over Russell County, and the Garrard coach said his team will have its hands full trying to stop Steele.

"Steele is pretty quick," Stonebraker said. "They'll run a lot of quarterback sweeps with him, and he's gotten a lot better at throwing the ball in the last couple of weeks. Early on, they really struggled with that, but he's gotten a whole lot better here recently."

Garrard's offense is versatile, too

Garrard's offense is versatile itself, as the Lions have rushed for 1,390 yards and passed for 996. Senior quarterback Spencer Crutchfield has rushed for 771 of those yards on 99 carries, and Stonebraker said that versatility allows the Lions to sit back and see what the defense is going to do while still being confident they can answer it.

"It certainly does help," Stonebraker said. "We've been waiting to become this versatile and this consistent with everything we do. We just have to take what the defense gives us and go from there. We have to be patient enough to wait for the opportunities for big plays."

Garrard has made plenty of big plays during its current five-game winning streak. Stonebraker said he has made some personnel changes on defense, and could possibly make more before taking on Wayne, to try to shore up the Lions' defense on the running and short passing games.

"Our first goal is to win the district," Stonebraker said. "This is a must-win if you look at it in that capacity. Wayne has a similar record, they've played a similar schedule and on paper it looks like an even matchup. We have to be prepared for four quarters. We can't look past this game."

Central Kentucky News Articles