By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Something will have to give when Lynn Camp and East Ridge face-off during the nightcap of the Pioneer Bowl Friday.
The Wildcats have lost their last 13 games they’ve played and haven’t won a game since defeating Berea, 20-14, on Oct. 22, while the Warriors are riding a 10-game losing streak with their last win coming against Tug Valley, W. Va. (44-28) on Oct. 29, 2010. East Ridge hasn’t beaten an in-state team dating back to its 36-22 win over Allen Central on Oct. 1, 2010.
“It would be great to end the losing streak Friday and build on to that,” Lynn Camp coach Phil Russell said. “My philosophy is to take each game for what it’s worth — they are all huge games for us.
“We know we can’t overlook anyone or we are going to cheat ourselves,” he added. “It would be great to shed the losing streak and generate more buzz around our program, and Friday would be a special night to do it.”
Russell is taking over for former coach David Mitchell, who spent 34 years as head coach of the Wildcat football program and was known for his running attack.
Russell has changed things up a bit by installing a passing game that the first-year coach believes will make Lynn Camp a dangerous team on offense.
“We’ve got to execute for it to work,” Russell said. “The kids are very excited about what is going on here, but we know we still have a lot of work to do. We saw that during our scrimmage last week.
“We are focused and ready and we want to set the tone early Friday with physicality,” he added. “That’s what we’ve been working on all week. We’ve also been focusing on special teams, too. We have two very good kickers that will really help us.”
Russell said his team will be challenged Friday against an improved East Ridge squad.
“I watched them scrimmage and they like to spread you out, and they are very physical,” he said. “Their defensive line is their strong point.
“The key for us is to control the clock and avoid making turnovers,” Russell added. “If we can do those two things, we should be successful. We’re only guaranteed 11 games this season, so we’ve got to make the most out of each game.”
Knox Central and South Laurel will kick off the Pioneer Bowl at 6 p.m. while Lynn Camp and East Ridge is scheduled to follow at 8:30 p.m.