Senior Darian Skinner will open the season as Clark’s starting quarterback. “It starts at quarterback and Darian Skinner has done a great job,” Collins said. “We’re excited with his abilities and what we do with our offense.” Senior Cadarrel Spike will anchor the backfield and share time with Darian Farris and D’Avon Marshall at the hybrid running back and slot receiver. Kyle Wipert and Brent Stoneking will share duties at left split end, while the right-side will be led by Tanner Rose and Khmarkis Blanton. “It’s a unit, and I told the kids, the secret to this offense is spreading the ball around and getting it to the guys who can score,” Collins said.
Sylan Mayes, Jaylen Abbott, Malik Davis and Meade County transfer Logan Burchett have been the team’s top performers on defense during the preseason.
Collins said his team of 30 seniors has taken over the leadership role. “All of those seniors at one point and time have stepped up and said, ‘Hey, let’s really get this thing going and do what we need to do.’” Collins singled out the leadership displayed by Mayes and Abbott, Trevor Satterly and Ross Stamper during fall workouts.
Who to watch
Davis, an outside linebacker and safety, has “done a fantastic job,” Collins said. Free safety and backup quarterback Burchett also has impressed Collins. “He’s really come in and done a good job for us. He’s been a pleasant surprise for us. We feel like those two guys are going to help us win a lot of ball games.”
For the first time in 13 years, a new coach will be on the sidelines. Collins served as an assistant coach at Montgomery County the past two seasons and was a proven head coach in Georgia before moving to Mount Sterling more than two years ago. Collins said the players have been “open and acceptable” to the change. “Every coach has a different philosophy, I guess you could say,” he said. “We all have goals and we want to try to win. The philosophy is very different in how you get there. They have been very, very open to all of the changes we have given them. From the classroom, to the weight room, to our organization, our practices, schedule and how we do things.”
“The biggest thing is seeing these kids be successful. I’m a kids first coach,” Collins said. “The wins, the losses, the recognition, that doesn’t mean a lot to me. Of course we’re in this to win and we want to win ball games. That defines success a lot of times, but seeing these kids become a part of something (special) is rewarding. As a team, we want to battle for a district championship first, be in position for that, and then beyond that, get into the region and then also battle for a region championship. With the luck of the bounce or whatever the case may be, we want to get as far into the playoffs as we can and reach Bowling Green.”
“Building a team is a big part of what you do and it’s more than the x’s and o’s. We’re here for the kids.”
“If we win, I’m giving them all the credit. If we lose, I’m pointing (fingers) at myself. It’s more about the kids than it is me.”