The George Rogers Clark football team is close to a much-needed breakthrough with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Cardinals, winless in their first eight games, have lost their past three contests by a combined margin of 28 points and nearly ended a 10-game losing streak with a 46-39 loss at Tates Creek last week. Clark will attempt to snap the skid¿against Madison Central Friday night at Cardinal Stadium the first of two straight home contests. How close are the Cardinals to a victory?
“We’re real close,” Clark coach Steven Collins said. “I go back to Harlan County, Lafayette in the fourth quarter and then last week. It’s just been one play here or one play there and it could be a different outcome. That’s been indicative of our season. Go back to Corbin. It’s a game of opportunities and cashing in on those opportunities and have the ball bounce your way a couple of times.”
Collins added that his team has been tested with “adversity” but now faces a situation “where we’ve got to start making our own situations come out in our favor.”
“That’s what we’re preaching on this week,” he said. “I told them the other day, there are three kinds of people in the world. There are people who watch things happen, people that wonder what happened and people that make things happen. Let’s make it happen. That’s kind of what our motto is right now.”
The Cardinals made an effort to make things happen a week ago in the seven-point setback to the Commodores. Clark scored 27 points in the first half and finished with 500 total yards, including 328 rushing yards. Despite the big chunk of yardage the team amassed, Clark committed five turnovers — three fumbles and a pair of interceptions.
“We never punted and that’s good,” Collins said. “But, as a coach, the thing I look at ... the turnovers and that hurt us. In that kind of game, whoever can break serve (gets the advantage) and they were able to do that. I am pleased with our effort and what we do, but we’ve just got to shore up some more things defensively, as well as offensively. We’re still missing tackles too much and getting everybody on the same page.”
Clark backup quarterback Luke Sharrock threw for 172 yards and one score and added 89 yards rushing. Collins orignally planned to rotate Sharrock and starter Darian Skinner, but went with Sharrock after Skinner tweaked his ankle in the second quarter against the Commodores. Collins expects Skinner to be back at full strength this week and plans to use both quarterbacks.
“We have a package that Luke can do and we have a package that Skinner can do,” Collins said. “We’re not adverse to going with a two-platoon system at quarterback and that’s what we’re going to look at doing some more this week. There will be some situations where we will use what you could call a “wildcat”package when Skinner comes in, more suitable with his strengths to the option or outside corner.”
The Indians (5-3) can lock up a home playoff game with a win over the Cardinals and finish in one of the top two slots in the four-team district. Lafayette can wrap up the top spot with a win over Tates Creek in its regular-season finale Friday night in Lexington. Collins said the Indians’ loss to the Generals was a surprise.
“They had some turnovers,” he said. “(The loss to Lafayette) was a little shocking. That just goes to show that on Friday night, you never know. We just hope our football team shows up the way it has the last three weeks and ready to play.¿We make things happen in our favor and I like our chances.”
Madison Central at George Rogers Clark High School
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Clark 0-8, Madison¿Central 5-3
Last week: Tates Creek 46, Clark 39; Lafayette 21, Madison Central 0.
Last meeting: Oct. 21, 2011. Central 15, Clark 13
Radio: 107.7 FM WKYN