Week One formulas for winning

Friday, August 28, 2015
Cornersville's William Liles comes up to make a tackle at Mt. Juliet Christian last week for the Bulldogs, who are looking to bounce back this week at home against Collinwood. Photo courtesy of the The Lebanon Democrat

The first week of the high school football season was kind to Marshall County High and Forrest, each of which started the season with blowout wins ,while Cornersville was on the short end of a lopsided score.

The Bulldogs are the lone county team playing at home this week, hosting the Collinwood Trojans at Frog Bottom.

BULLDOGS

"I explained to our football team that the first football game of the year is always tough," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph, who made his debut as a head coach in the 36-6 loss. "Emotions are really riding high, but good teams get better from week one to week two, so that's our focus this week is to improve from the first game."

Randolph, disappointed by the opening season loss at Mt. Juliet remained upbeat about his squad, saying, "The guys have responded well. Even though we had a tough loss last week, we still understand that there's still a lot of football to be played this year. We're not going to let one game define who we are."

Mistake free football is what Randolph preached and a bevy of miscues directly led to Cornersville's loss.

Avoiding errors

"You'll here me say this a lot on the keys to win a game against anybody, because I'm a firm believer in...You have to take care of the football...play well at all three phases of the game (offensively, defensively, and special teams), and be able to get off the field on third down situations on defense and tackle well," Randolph said.

Both teams come into the contest with a first week loss, and although it's early in the season, a 0-2 start would be tough on a team's morale.

"Honestly, we go out thinking we need to win every time we take the field, but yes, we really need to play well and get the win this Friday night," Randolph said. "I think it would help our confidence level tremendously. We have a great group of young men who really work hard day in and day out."

The Bulldogs are very young and have a ton of upside that could kick in at any time, hopefully tonight at home.

"Collinwood will come in here on Friday night, trying to get their first win also, so it'll definitely be a dog fight," Randolph said. "We have to get the ball in our playmakers' hands, we have to play hard for all four quarters and if we do that everything else will take care of itself."

MCHS quarterback Ashton Posey led the Tigers to a season-opening win last week when he threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns versus Franklin County. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

TIGERS

Marshall County couldn't have had a better opening night at Preston Hopkins Field, trouncing Franklin County 60-23.

"I'm pumped we started the year out on a positive note and I was very happy with the fact that we handled the adversity we faced early in the game very well," Tigers coach Thomas Osteen said. "I hope that's a sign of a team that's matured a good bit from last year."

The Tigers put up 526 yards of total offense, led by senior quarterback Ashton Posey, who was spectacular, completing 16 of 17 throws for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

"Posey played a very clean game at the QB spot and put on display all the hard work that he's put in this offseason," the coach said. "It was evident that his game has greatly matured from all the experience he gained last year."

Tre Crutcher hauled in all of Posey's TD tosses for 100 receiving yards, while Jay Howard had four receptions for 74 yards.

Effort pays off

Osteen was elated about the performance of Crutcher, saying, "Tre Crutcher had a huge night. He's worked like crazy this summer to become a complete wide receiver and will be a guy that I believe is going to have a huge year."

The ground attack was just as lethal on the Rebels with Josh Franklin rushing the ball eight times for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

"I couldn't be more proud of a kid than Josh Franklin," Osteen said. "He had a great night scoring three times and having over 170 yards rushing. Nobody works harder than Josh."

Osteen praised his offensive line that protected Posey, allowing no sacks, while opening up huge holes in the running game.

"Our O-line was great," Osteen said. "Steven Clemmons had as good a night at left tackle as I 've ever witnessed. He dominated from the get go and had at least eight pancake blocks."

Ready to go

Marshall County is healthy coming into this week's game at John Overton.

"Besides D'Andre Brown being out, we came out of Friday nights game with nothing serious, only bumps and bruises," the coach said.

The Tigers moved two spots from No. 8 to 6 in the Associated Press Top 10 poll, but Osteen knows that this week's opponent will be a tough one and the environment will be hostile in Nashville.

"Our goal this week is to be better than we were last week," Osteen said. "That's what I'm looking to see versus a very talented Overton team."

Forrest's Slayton Wild (8) had a big game at Huntland and the Rockets are looking for more from their talented all-purpose player. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

ROCKETS

Forrest earned its revenge from a stinging loss at Huntland last year, shutting out the Hornets 35-0 on the road Friday.

"We as a staff loved the energy the kids had at the start of the game," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said. "One of the biggest things is that we created five turnovers and that's huge when you're able to do that."

The Rockets only had eight turnovers on defense the entire season last year and Kriesky would love to see his squad come up with a few this week when it visits Moore County.

"We've put a huge emphasis on (turnovers) this year and we want to continue that each week," Kriesky said.

Ranked 9th

With the win over Huntland, the Rockets garnered a spot in the AP poll, coming in at No. 9.

The Raiders will be looking for revenge at Lynchburg where the Rockets embarrassed them 41-0 last season.

"We believe that we have a tough task on our hands Friday night," the coach said. "They're a physical football team and from last week's film, they have a lot of fight in them. We'll have to come out ready to play or we'll get embarrassed."

The Raiders return starters on both sides of the football, led by quarterback Stone Frost, who is very athletic and can make a lot of plays.

In the backfield, Moore County has two returning starters in Mason Henshaw and Spencer Reese and a talented wide receiver in Matthew Schuller, who hauled in a 74-yard TD pass last week.

Intense workouts

"We as coaches have to prepare these young men each week to be ready to play. We'll continue to be intense and physical this week in each practice so the guys will not lose their focus," Kriesky said.

The onus for success against Moore County will be taking care of the football on the road, coming out with the same intensity at Huntland and putting enough points on the board in the bruising running attack that put up 298 yards on the ground last week.

"We'll have to create turnovers and not have any turnovers when we have the football, Kriesky said. "Also, defensively we can't give up any big plays and have 11 guys flying around playing assignment football."