By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
The Whitley County Colonels might have had their hands full last week during their 42-13 loss to Morristown West, Tenn., but things get even tougher today when they go on the road and head up I-75 to face-off against Class 5A power Madison Southern.
The Eagles (1-0) are coming off a 41-13 win over Rockcastle County in Week Zero that saw star tailback and University of Michigan commit, Damien Harris, run for 221 yards on the ground, including six touchdowns.
“Rockcastle did a good job against him for two quarters, but he wound up breaking loose,” Black said. “I think you know that he's going to touch the ball, but you have to try to contain him.
“The only real way to stop a player like him is to keep him from getting the football, so you want to try and have an eight-minute, 13-play drive to eat the clock and maybe keep the ball out of his hands,” he added. “When he does touch the football you have to key on him and maybe try to make them beat you some other way.”
One positive heading into the game is the improvement Black has seen with his team’s defensive play.
“Believe it or not, we improved defensively from our scrimmage to the game against Morristown, but we still have a lot of things to work on,” he said. “It's not going to help very much that we're facing a five-star back this week that's already committed to Michigan.
"The good thing is that we'll be better because we faced him and the kind of offense they'll throw at us," he added. "Even though we improved last week, our guys will need to step up even more and prove that they are getting better.”
But there will be some concerns on offense today.
Whitley County will be without the services of tailback Zack Mills.
"It's huge because of what he does for us,” Black said. "We're going to move Luke Woods in at halfback to make up for his absence and we'll shuffle some of the other kids around as well.
"We've got guys that are capable to getting the job done on his place, but we'll miss him being out there," he added. "We’ll run some other plays without Zack because some of the things we were doing were designed just for him, so we'll have to make some adjustments.”
Black said the key for his team is to limit the mistakes they make.
"I think if we can execute and limit our penalties, we can move the football and keep the chains moving," he said. "We moved the football well against Morristown, so I feel like the only thing that can really stop our offense is us. We're our own worst enemy when you look at penalties and stuff like that.
"I feel like if we can move the football and limit mistakes, we can put ourselves in a good position," he added. "We have to come out and execute and send what happens."