"Our players (hadn't) done a whole lot since (we saw) them last. We've really got to work on our conditioning," Settles said. "We talked to them about staying in shape, and they realized it once they got back."
Meade is a Class AAAAAA school whose 1-5 record matches Lincoln's but Meade's opponents — including unbeaten Anderson County and John Hardin and once-beaten Fern Creek — are a combined 28-9.
The Green Wave's only win came last week against North Hardin, the only team it has played that has a losing record.
"You can see on film how strong they are," Settles said. "They just really play hard physically for four quarters, and that's something that our team's got to learn how to do. If we don't do it this week, we're going to pay for it."
Meade is allowing 32 points per game, well below Lincoln's average of 44.8, and Settles said it hasn't been in its base 4-4 defense too often of late because its recent opponents have used spread offenses.
The Green Wave average 19.2 points with an offense that Settles said can take several forms.
"That makes it challenging defensively," he said. "They'll go anywhere from an empty set with no running backs to using three backs out of the wishbone with two tight ends."
Settles said the flu had effectively run its course within the team before last week's shutdown, and he said players who were injured have had time to heal.
"We've got a lot of healthy players, which is something we're not used to. This time off could be a blessing," he said.
Mercer County (0-7) at Southwestern (5-2)
There may be only three games remaining in the regular season, but Mercer coach Bill Mason said that's time enough to be successful.
Mason said the improvements the Titans have made give him reason to believe they could win any or all of those three games.
"My personal goal is to finish 3-7. We've got three district games remaining, and I see them all as being winable football games if we play good offensively and play really good defensively," he said.
Marion County ran for 307 yards against the Titans in last week's win, and the Titans will face another run-based team this week in Southwestern. The Warriors have gotten nearly 80 percent of their yardage on the ground this season led by Taylor Mote, who has rushed for 832 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"It's a different style of running, but they're comparable," Mason said. "They're going to line up in a double-tight end set most of the time, and they're going to run the football."
Mercer's running game fared better in the first half than in the second last week, but Mason noted that Russell Mays had his second straight 100-yard game and that quarterback Tre Dunn also ran well.
"We moved the ball some, but not all of the time," Mason said. "If we keep those kinds of things going and continue to improve defensively, I could see us being successful in these last few games."
Casey County (2-5) at Taylor County (2-5)
Casey coach Andy Stephens said the Rebels have shown considerable progress to this point, and he's hoping it's enough to allow them to match up with Taylor in a critical district game.
Casey has lost its first two district games but would seem to have a better match in Taylor, which scored 51 points last year en route to an 8-4 finish but has taken a turn for the worse this season.
The Cardinals have beaten only 1-5 Washington County and 0-6 Jackson County], and their losses include one to 2-5 Adair County. They're giving up 37 points per game, a number comparable to Casey's average of 39.9.
Stephens said reducing the number of big plays such as those that hurt the Rebels in their loss to Wayne County last week will lower that average.
"I think we're still giving up big plays when we don't need to, but I think we're a lot better than we were three or four weeks ago on defense," he said.
He said the improvement starts in practice, and he said Casey's practice habits have been improving of late.
"We're practicing hard, and we've started filming lots of stuff in practice and watching it every night and evaluating it ... and I think we're doing a better job of getting a good practice week in. We've had two good weeks in a row," Stephens said.