Prep Football: Collins, Gooch friendly foes
Montgomery County coach Dan Gooch will take on his former assistant Steven¿Collins Friday night. (Photo by Mike Hanson/Sycamore Photography / August 29, 2012)
- George Rogers Clark football coach Steven Collins talks with quarterback Darian Skinner during the team¿s opener nearly two weeks ago at Corbin. Collins returns to Montgomery County Friday night. Before taking over at Clark, Collins was offensive coordinator under Montgomery County coach Dan Gooch.
When the George Rogers Clark High School football coach returns to Cunningham Field Friday night, he will be on the other side of the field dressed in red, black and white instead of the Indian attire he wore the two previous seasons as a member of Dan Gooch’s coaching staff at Montgomery County.
“Steve and I are still good friends and we have a good relationship,” Gooch said Tuesday. “We’ll both coach hard on Friday night and then we’ll still be good friends. He did a great job for me and was very loyal to me. I help him any way I can and he does the same for me.”
Although Gooch and Collins coached with each other for the past two seasons, both coaches are new to the traditional rivalry between the two schools.
“It’s really a pretty good relationship, and it’s kind of a unique relationship with this type of rivalry,” Gooch said. “Neither one of us are from this area.¿As far as the rivalry being as deep as it is, we’re kind of, maybe, outsiders. We’ve both been around a while and we understand the intensity of the rivalry, but at the same time, we’re good friends.”
Collins, hired last winter to coach the Cardinals, has remained in contact with his former boss, but for 48 minutes this week, it will be all business for the close friends when the Cardinals and Indians play each other in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday in Mount Sterling. Collins and his staff have had two opportunities to scout the Indians leading up to the contest between the two rivals. Montgomery defeated Rowan County 25-15 in the Recreation Bowl at Cunningham Field two weeks ago and edged Mason County 21-14 last week in Maysville.
“I got a little closer look (at them last) Friday night at Mason County,” Collins said earlier this week. “It’s what I saw (in their game) against Rowan. They’re big and they’re going to run right at us and they do things well for what they have up front. (Matt) Tuttle is their leader on offense and they go with what he does and (Blake) Preston is kind of their workhorse. They’ve got a good scheme with what they’re doing. Defensively, they’re solid and they’re in position to make plays. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
The Cardinals haven’t played since a 14-13 loss at Corbin in their season-opener on Aug. 17. Gooch watched the contest on film and was impressed with Collins’ first unit at Clark.
“I thought they pretty much dominated that game,” Gooch said. “They did a great job moving the ball, but they got some tough breaks, I thought.”
In his second game as coach of the Cardinals, Collins will be looking for his first win as coach at Clark against his former team. In the past, Collins has enjoyed success against his former school and is 5-0 against his previous employers. As head coach at Stockbridge High School in Georgia, Collins was 3-0 against Luella, where he served as an assistant coach before taking over at Stockbridge. Collins then went to Union Grove High School and was 2-0 in games played against Stockbridge.
“I’ve been through it twice,” he said. “It’s kind of an old hat for me, because I’ve done it before.”