TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By John Stepp For The Times-Tribune
The Whitley County Colonels have yet to win a game this season, but that doesn’t mean Jim Black and his squad are about to quit.
The Colonels have been in several close games this year, but have continually been plagued by one statistic – turnovers. Whitley County has consistently shot themselves in the foot when playing well, and it is a trend that Black says has to stop if they want to pick up their first win of the season.
“There is not a team in the state that can lay the ball on the ground three or four times a game, and still win. We’re just not a good enough team to do that and I don’t know anyone who is,” said Black. “It’s not that we aren’t playing hard because we are. We keep turning the ball over and we won’t win until we stop doing that.”
This week the Colonels will take on a Perry County Central team that has had its ups and downs this season. The Commodores are 3-3 on the season, winning their last two over Breathitt and Rockcastle Counties.
Whitley and Perry Central have played similar opponents this year in Clay County and Rockcastle. While the Commodores defeated both teams, Whitley County was the favorite in each of those games, but couldn’t find a way to get it done.
When the Colonels travel to Perry Central this Friday, records and mutual opponents won’t matter. Both teams will be fighting for their first district win of the season, and a chance to capture a higher seeding before the playoffs begin in just three weeks.
“It’s a game that we need to win, but we have to cut out the silly mistakes. It’s really that simple,” said Black. “We feel like we have a chance to pick up the win this week. We have to do the things to win and play better than we’ve been playing.”
Other than turnovers, the Colonels will need to temper the athleticism of Perry Central. The Commodores are led by their dual-threat junior quarterback Nathan Pray, who has passed for 449 yards, while rushing for 474 yards, this season. He has also added nine touchdowns combined.
“They have a lot of athletes on both sides of the ball. We have to do a good job stopping their big plays,” Black said. “They’re a good football team.”
Tackling is another concern for the Colonels, as their defense is allowing close to 40 points per game this year. With a Perry Central defense who likes to put the ball in the hands of their playmakers, Whitley County must be sure tacklers on Friday.
“We have to do a better job tackling. We’ve been working on that in practice and are doing better,” said Black. “It’s the simple things that are killing us. We’re putting forth the effort; we’re just not making the plays that we need to make.”
If the Colonels can put together a complete game on Friday, cutting down their turnovers and making tackles, they could not only pick up their first win of the season, but move to 1-0 in district play.
“It’d be nice to pick up the win this Friday,” said Black. “We need that to happen. We’re not out of it yet and we’re not going to quit.”