The George Rogers Clark High School football team won’t have to take another road trip this week.
After opening the season with a road loss at Corbin, followed by a setback to neighboring Montgomery County last week with an open date sandwiched in between, the Cardinals will play their first home game of the year against Bryan Station Friday night at Cardinal Stadium.
“Its going to be great to be home, it really is,” Clark coach Steven Collins said earlier this week. “You get some familiarity (by playing) in our own back yard and (the players) are excited about playing in front of the student body and everything. It’s going to be a good for us to get that home game this week.”
Although Clark is 0-2, the two losses have been by a combined margin of 12 points. Despite falling behind 20-3 last week, Clark rallied to make things interesting down the stretch until the Indians sealed it with a touchdown following an interception for the final margin. Corbin nipped the Cards 14-13 to open the season three weeks ago.
“The experience factor was on their side and at times it showed, but I think our kids, I think, grew up a lot in that game,” Collins said. “You never want to get down that much and ideally we would have liked to have started better, but we didn’t hang our heads or throw in the towel. We had some fight in us. We came back and made a ball game out of it, with a chance to win.”
Collins liked the way his team performed in the red zone compared to the team’s opener but wants his squad to get off to a better start rather than playing from behind.
“We want to start the same way we finish,” he said. “We definitely need to put to halves together and make a solid four quarters out of it.”
Collins was pleased with his team’s defensive effort and fewer penalties on both sides of the ball.
“(We didn’t) give up the big, huge play,” he said. “(Montgomery County) had a big play on the first play of the game and we’ve got to limit those things. But, for the most part, they didn’t go 80, 90 yards and things of that nature like we had against Corbin. We improved on those things. I’m really proud of the players, their effort and never-say-die attitude. It doesn’t matter how far we’re behind or where we’re at, we’ve got a shot to win it. That’s how you breed a winning attitude is mentally saying, ‘We’re never out of this thing no matter what.’”
According to Collins, Clark’s biggest adjustment is more mental than physical.
“For us at this point, it’s mental — the mental side of it,” he said. “We’ve done all the physical labor since February.¿We know our schemes and what we’re supposed to do assignment-wise. Now, it’s just the whole mentality thing — the way we start the game, the way we finish the game and the way we execute and the way we’re disciplined.”
The Defenders (2-1) have won two of their first three games to open the season. Bryan Station defeated West Jessamine 55-20 last week and the team’s lone loss of the season was a 32-31 overtime loss to Bell County in the Fayette County iHigh Frenzy. Bryan Station opened with a 41-34 victory over Anderson County.
“They’re very athletic,” Collins said of the Defenders. “They haven’t really dropped off and they have a lot of players back from last year. They’re doing a lot of the same things they did last year, maybe throwing the ball a little bit more as an offense. It’s going to be a good challenge for us, but we’ve got them here at home. I think it’s a good matchup for us. If we come out with the right mental focus, anything can happen and I think we’ll be right there at the end.”
Bryan Station at GRCHS
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Clark 0-2, Bryan Station 2-1
Last week: Montgomery 34, Clark 23; B.¿Station 55, West Jesssamine 20.
Last meeting: In Lexington, Bryan Station 40, Clark 19
Radio: 107.7 FM WKYN