Football: Casey coach looking for leaders

October 13, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LIBERTY - Football coaches normally don't like homecoming or senior night games that might cause distractions for their players.

Casey County coach Andy Stephens, though, is hoping the Rebels' senior night Friday might give his team a needed boost against Class AA district foe Wayne County.

"I think our young guys are still playing hard, but what we are missing right now is senior leadership," said Stephens. "Since Friday is senior night, I hope that will help our seniors to realize they need to play with more desire.

"I think most of our younger players are still playing with some confidence. But it's to the point that I am worried out seniors will give up. I think we need something good to happen to us. We have had stretches every game except Corbin that we at least played decent. We obviously didn't show up last Friday night. Corbin is a good football team, but I don't think they are as good as we made them look."


Winless Casey (0-7, 0-2 Class AA, District 4) gave up 41 first-quarter points to Corbin in its seventh straight loss. Wayne (4-3, 1-1) didn't fare much better last week, losing 49-14 to visiting Garrard County.

Wayne averages 28 points per game compared to Casey's 14. Wayne is allowing 21 points per game, or about 16 less per game than the Rebels.

Wayne's offense is led by running back Matt Goff, who averages 160 yards rushing per game, and quarterback Ryan Steele, who has thrown for 500 yards.

"One of the keys to stopping the running game will be for our defensive linemen to get off their blocks and force Wayne to have to double-team them. That would free up our linebackers to make some plays and that would help us against the run," Stephens said.

Marcus Patterson, a sophomore, scored Casey's three touchdowns against Corbin, including one on a kickoff return following Corbin's first score.

"We have been waiting for him to get more involved in the offense. It has just been hard for (quarterback) Kyle Long to find his receivers at times this year," Stephens said. "Marcus has good speed, so we know he is a threat when he gets an opportunity to return the football."

After giving up 41 first-quarter points last week, Stephens experimented some in the next three periods against Corbin's reserves. He used Patterson at running back and Ricky Marrapodi, another sophomore, at quarterback.

Stephens says senior Brandon Raney has been his team's most consistent player, but that he needs more help in order for Casey to finally win.

"I think Kyle has had some good games, but he's not been as consistent as we need," Stephens said. "I think Ricky and Marcus both have had some good games.

"We need a huge game from all our seniors. We have a couple playing hard, but for the most part they are playing with little or no desire. We've got to have more leadership at the top to be successful."

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