Garrard gets its wish - title showdown vs. Corbin

October 27, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - Before the season started, the Garrard County Golden Lions hoped their final game with Corbin would decide its Class AA district championship.

That's exactly what has happened, as the two teams will play Friday at Garrard for the District 4 title and home-field advantage throughout the Class AA playoffs.

"I hope we have an electric atmosphere for the game with the district title on the line," Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker said. "I don't have much control over that, so we will see just how much of a football town Lancaster really is."

Garrard (8-1, 3-0 district) had to play at Corbin in last year's district showdown. The Redhounds won 37-6.

"I hope what we learned last year when we played at Corbin was that we have to play tough to beat a team like this," Stonebraker said. "I have been preaching toughness all year, and to stop their running game we have got to play physical.


"I hope our kids are excited about their opportunity, but focused on what they have to do to be successful. Just like in any big game, after the first couple of plays the nerves become settled and then you have to work yourself in that mode of perfection."

Corbin's versatility worries Stonebraker

Corbin (6-3, 3-0) lost three straight games at midseason to drop to 2-3. However, the Redhounds are now back to full strength after playing without several key players early in the year and have reeled off four straight wins coming into Friday's game.

"Their versatility worries me more than anything," Stonebraker said. "They have a lot of formations and can get the ball to a lot of different people offensively. Defensively, they mix up their stunts and will play a tight man coverage mixed with a zone read coverage."

Corbin has rushed for 1,426 yards and thrown for 1,422.

Stonebraker says the return of senior running back Brad Lawson, who missed the first half of the season because of appendicitis, has made the Redhounds far better offensively.

"It has given them more options offensively, and Lawson is also the leader of their defense from his linebacker spot," Stonebraker said. "Josh Ware, a 205-pound junior, has been their leading rusher and scorer since Lawson has been hurt. He's an excellent power runner. Isaac Mills is their top receiver, and he's also good on pass coverage. Eric Blackwood is probably their fastest player, and they look to move him around a lot on offense, and he's also an excellent defensive back.

"Defensively, we must get off blocks and play physical football. We also have to be smart as well. We must line up correctly and know what they can do to hurt us out of each set. They also do an excellent job with kickoff and punt returns. We have to come up with something to counter what they do there."

Crutchfield didn't play last year

One plus this year for Garrard is quarterback Spencer Crutchfield. He missed last year's game with a hip injury.

He's thrown for 1,326 yards and 18 touchdowns with just six interceptions while completing 57 percent of his passes. He's also rushed for 974 yards and 11 scores while averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

Zach Doan has 452 yards rushing and 112 yards receiving and Dan Leavell has 26 catches for 393 yards and four scores.

Garrard averages 30 points per game and allows 18. Corbin scores 38.5 and gives up 23.

"We must have an excellent game out of everyone to win this week," Stonebraker said. "I can count on Spencer for a lot, but everyone has to pull through in this one for us to win the district."

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