By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Coming into Friday’s matchup against Clay County it looks as though things can’t get any worse for the Whitley County Colonels as they sit at 0-4 on the season.
The fact of the matter is things may be about to take a turn for the better this week with the return of starting running back Zack Mills, who has missed time thanks to having his gallbladder removed.
Colonels head coach Jim Black said he knows his players are having a hard time dealing with the losses, but was quick to point out that things could only get better considering the way the season has started.
“The toughest part of the way we’ve started is the effect on the kids,” Black said. “It’s tough as a coach to see these guys work so hard during the week to prepare and not reap any rewards for their efforts on Friday night.
“I don’t think things could get any worse, but I guess they always can,” Black said. “I don’t expect things to be great, but it has to be better than the last four weeks.”
Black’s squad will have another quality running back to deal with in Clay County’s Sam Carr. Carr has rushed for 326 yards and a touchdown through the Tigers’ first four games (82 yards per game) and is coming off a huge showing against South Laurel where he rushed for 144 yards on 13 carries.
If that isn’t enough for Black to worry about, Clay County also has quarterback Ryan Holland at their disposal as well. So far this season Holland has completed 23-of-34 pass attempts, racking up 364 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’ve got some really good athletes and they are a big team for us to have to deal with,” Black said. “The (Sam) Carr kid does a great job for them out of the backfield and he’s really fast, which always poses a problem.
“They can throw the football as well, which poses an entirely different kind of threat,” he added. “They can do a few different things on offense, so we’ll have to be on our toes and ready to play.”
Hopefully for the Colonels, the return of Mills will mean a more productive showing on the offensive side of things. So far this season Black’s squad has been outscored 147-46, losing by an average margin of 15 points per game.
Black said he will stick with Luke Woods at quarterback and Austin Ysidro in the fullback position, a move he made when the Colonels lost Austin Hooper (broken ankle) for the season in week three.
With the return of Mills, he said hopefully more options would help throw off opposing defenses in the long run. The bad news for Mills may be the fact that there most likely won’t be any extra time to make adjustments once he straps on his shoulder pads Friday.
“Obviously having more options to go to is a big plus,” Black said. “With Austin (Ysidro) at fullback and Zack (Mills) back in there, we’ll be able to be a little bit stronger over all.
“Zack is going to have to get to work quick though, because we really don’t have time to let him get comfortable,” he added. “He’s basically got two preseason games before we hit district play and he needs to be in mid-season form by that time.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Colonels Stadium.
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