Garrard must cut turnovers to beat Western

November 03, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - Garrard County knows there is one thing it must do far better this week if it wants to beat Western in the Class AA playoffs.

The Golden Lions had eight turnovers in last week's 21-14 loss to Corbin to more than offset a 356-yard passing performance by quarterback Spencer Crutchfield.

Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker said "never in my life" had he had a team make that many turnovers in one game.

"Above all, ball security is what is most important offensively," Stonebraker said. "That is the mentality you must play with. Other breakdowns can happen offensively, but you can't lose possession of the ball. We must make smart decisions in the passing game, work hard to come back to the ball on short throws, and squeeze the ball while going toward the end zone."


Western (7-3) lost 14-13 to Larue County and 42-21 to 2003 state runner-up Elizabethtown in district play. Western is led by running backs Corey Goodson and Justin Collins. Goodson has rushed for almost 1,500 yards and has a team-high 26 touchdowns. He averages about nine yards per run. Collins has almost 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Garrard is allowing 161 yards rushing and 115 yards passing per game. Western is primarily a running team as just over 75 percent of its yardage comes from its rushing attack.

"Western is probably the most athletic team in our region," Stonebraker said. "They have only given up over 21 points in one game this season. They have great team speed and fly to the ball defensively. They play very aggressive on both sides of the ball and we must exceed their aggressiveness to win.

"We must also do a good job in the kicking game due to the fact that they have such good speed. We must also be patient enough to take what their defense gives us and take care of the football in the process. Defensively, we must swarm to the runner and wrap up every time."

Western averages 40 a game

Both teams have been effective scoring all season. Western is averaging 40 points per game, Garrard 28.3. Western is allowing 12.7 points per game, Garrard 18.4.

Crutchfield leads Garrard's offense. He's thrown for 1,682 yards and 20 scores to 11 different receivers and ran for 1,037 yards and 11 touchdowns. Receiver Dan Leavell has 33 catches for 584 yards and five touchdowns and Dan Barker has 19 catches for 349 yards and three scores. Zach Doan has 446 yards rushing and seven scores. He averages 5.6 yards per run, Crutchfield 8.1.

Stonebraker isn't worried about his team having a letdown after last week's loss to Corbin cost it the district title.

"All of the goals that we set for ourselves were for the playoffs, so we can still accomplish all of our goals," he said. "I think our kids see what they can become and are hungry to gain some redemption."

Garrard rallied to beat DeSales 19-15 in the first round of the 2003 playoffs before losing 36-0 at Elizabethtown. A win Friday would likely send Garrard back to Elizabethtown next week.

"Last year's playoff experience coupled with playing for the district title last week hopefully will have us ready to play some big games," Stonebraker said. "Last week we were obviously rattled a little bit early, so it shouldn't happen again. The more big games we play, the more comfortable we should become in that atmosphere.

"I thought our crowd support last week was the best it has been in my four years here. But it should be like that every week. It can make a difference during a momentum change when the crowd gets involved. Hopefully, it will continue because from here on out our games just keep getting bigger and bigger."

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