The George Rogers Clark football team has plenty to play for with three games left in the regular season.
The Cardinals have a shot at securing a home playoff game with two district games remaining, starting with Friday’s contest at Tates Creek. Clark also remains in contention for a possible top seed, if it can run the table in the district, along with a little help from the other three district teams during the next two weeks.
“We take care of business this Friday and (then) against Madison Central, we’re hosting a playoff game,” Clark coach Steven Collins said. “There’s a lot to be playing for with these guys and they know that.”
The Clark coach said his team’s top priority is to “get that first victory” before looking ahead.
“We’re focused on Tates Creek right now,” he said. “We can’t be in that position (hosting a home playoff game) without winning (the first game) first. Our focus is really them right now.”
Collins said his team is determined to put a victory in the win column and hasn’t shown any signs of a letdown down the stretch.
“There’s no quit in them,” he said. “There’s no give up (feeling) and the attitude is great. They know that there are good things in store for them and we’re going to prepare as we have been this week and let the chips fall where they may. If we play as hard as we’ve played the past two weeks, then we’re in good position (to finish the season strong) that’s for sure.”
Collins said his team’s ability to stay focused on the task at hand during the second half of the season has been a “matter of putting all distractions aside.”
“There are a lot of distractions outside this program going on and I think the kids are overcoming that ... saying, ‘hey, it’s football time and we’re not going to worry about what’s going on out there in the community and this and that,’” he said. “For the most part, we have great support in this community. It’s not x’s and o’s and it’s not effort, it’s just a lot of distractions they have to overcome and they’ve been doing that.”
The Cardinals defeated the Commodores 34-14 nearly a year ago at Cardinal Stadium, but haven’t won since. Clark lost its final three games last year and is winless in seven attempts this season. The Cards (0-7) came close to snapping the skid last week, but Lafayette scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to secure a 35-13 victory in the district opener for both teams at Cardinal Stadium. Clark came up short on a fourth-down conversion attempt at the Lafayette 8-yard line, followed by a 92-yard scoring drive by the Generals. Collins said the stalled drive took the “wind out of our sails,”¿but liked the way his team competed against Lafayette.
“I don’t think the (final) score is indicative of how hard we played,” Collins said. “That’s two weeks in a row where we’re playing a top quality opponent, because they’ve been averaging 40 to 50 points a game.”
Tates Creek has lost four of its past five games, including a 45-38 setback to Madison Central last week in Richmond. Like the Cards, the Commodores (3-5) are seeking their first District victory of the season. Collins said the Commodores “like to throw it a lot.”
“They’re athletic and they have some big skill guys,” he said. “I saw them earlier in the year live and they’re a team that we match up real well with. Defensively we have a good, solid game plan and we need to make sure we take care of what we need to take care of responsibility wise. Offensively, we need to sustain blocks, sustain drives and get into the end zone. They’re a good football team. They’ve had some down games and they’ve also had some good games. They can put up a lot of points on the board, so we’re going to have to play well on both sides of the ball. Take our effort from the last two weeks and I like our chances of being there in the end that’s for sure.”
GRCHS at T.¿Creek
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Clark 0-7, Tates Creek 3-5.
Last week: Lafayette 35, Clark 13. Madison¿Central 45, Tates Creek 38.
Last meeting: Oct. 14, 2011. Clark 34, Creek 14.
Radio: 107.7 FM¿WKYN.