By Les Dixon for the Times-Tribune
A win over Berea last week would have allowed Phil Russell's Lynn Camp Wildcats to control their own destiny in search of hosting their first playoff game since 2007.
But it wasn't meant to be, as Berea managed to pull off the mild upset and knock off the Wildcats, 34-26.
Granted, Lynn Camp was playing without the services of starting quarterback Aaron Mills and backup signal-caller Austin Maier, many still believed the Wildcats had enough in their tank to beat the Pirates. But they didn't, and now they're in must-win mode and will have to get some help to be able to play at home in the postseason.
“It was a very tough loss last week,” Russell said. “We just couldn't get anything going against them. It was a game we needed to win, we just came up short.
“I kept the speech with them short Friday night,” he added. “We are going to make some changes, but De'Andre Tate was a man among boys last week.”
Fortunately for Lynn Camp (3-4 overall, 0-1 against district competition) it will have a good chance of getting back on track with winless Campbellsville (0-7, 0-1) paying a visit to Mitchell Field Friday.
The Eagles have turned in one of their worst starts in recent memory, while coming off a 47-0 loss to defending district champion Williamsburg during Week Seven action.
“I'll say this - Campbellsville is the best 0-7 team in the nation,” Russell said. “They always play us tough, and I'm sure this Friday isn't going to be any different.”
Russell is right, when it comes to having Lynn Camp's number, go no further than Campbellsville.
The Eagles defeated the Wildcats last season, 48-6, and 53-0 in 2011.
Campbellsville has limited Lynn Camp to only two touchdowns during the two teams' last four meetings. The Eagles own a five-game win streak over the Wildcats, outscoring Lynn Camp, 160-24, during the process.
The last time the Wildcats beat Campbellsville, former Lynn Camp coach David Mitchell led his team to a 47-14 win in 2007.
“They're a dangerous team,” Russell admitted. “We are a banged-up football team right now. Hopefully we can get Aaron (Mills) back this week. We do know we will be without Austin Maier the remainder of the season. He's got an ACL tear, and that's a big loss for us.
“We just got to keep battling and got to keep things positive,” he added. “If we do that, I believe we will be fine. Our coaches took a little retreat to the UK/Alabama football game and we were able to talk about some things, and like I said, you're gonna see some changes.”
Even with the changes, Russell said the key to his team's success is to get the ball to his playmakers on offense.
Both Keanu Nolan and Tommy Hatfield have answered the challenge so far this season.
“This game is a must-win game, but actually for me, every game is a must-win game,” Russell admitted. “We've got to get the ball to our playmakers, and like I said, keep things positive. And when it comes down to it, we can't turn the ball over or get penalties.
“Look at last week's game, it was one play here or one play there,” he added. “There were 40 penalties called, and 30 of those were on us. I was extremely positive with our kids, and we just need to be ready to play. We've got to prepare for the game, get ready for it, and get it done.”