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Records mean little as Hornets await Redmen

A quick look at the preview sheet shows the Coal Grove Hornets with a 5-1 record and the Rock Hill Redmen at 0-6.

That quick look says this game is a mismatch. Don’t bother watching. Save your money for something more entertaining.

Ah, but that’s where the quick scan is wrong. The reader needs to stop on the names Coal Grove and Rock Hill. That changes the whole picture.

“There is no record in this game. Just throw that out,” said Coal Grove veteran head coach Dave Lucas who picked up his 200th career win with the Hornets last week.

“We’re just going into a tough ball game and that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”

Lucas isn’t just throwing around pre-game rhetoric. These two teams have been rivals for a long time. And a quick look at last week’s game shows that the Redmen aren’t about to roll over and play dead for anyone.

Rock Hill went into last week’s game against Chesapeake winless and fell behind 21-0 on the first play of the second quarter.

But the Redmen battled back and actually took a 27-21 lead before falling 28-27 when the Panthers scored with just two seconds left in the game and are 0-1 in the conference while the Hornets are 1-0.

“I expect our kids to compete,” said Rock Hill coach Todd Knipp.

Minus the records, both coaches don’t see much of a difference this year than any other season.

“Talent-wise, I don’t see a lot of difference in their talent (from last year). They’ve played a lot of good teams,” said Lucas. “You have to play good defense against them. You have to be ready.”

Knipp sees another big Hornets’ offensive line that leads a strong running game featuring fullback Bubba Wood and tailback Boo Woods.

“They have a big, strong fullback and a quick halfback. It’s kind of like your typical Coal Grove team,” said Knipp. “They have an athletic quarterback. The offensive line looks big and we have to slow their trap game down.

“We’ve got to be able to hold our own on the line of scrimmage. We can’t give their backs holes or seams to run through.”

Rock Hill has been utilizing the passing game led by quarterback Will McCollister and receives Trey Wilds and Jesse Lane, but in the past two weeks the Redmen have turned to their running game sparked by Shane Harper and Steve Lewis.

Lucas said the Hornets have to be ready for both facets of the Rock Hill offense, but he said it won’t be anything new.

“Everybody we’ve played has run the ball. And most of them have thrown it. From that standpoint, you prepare to stop the run with the understanding that their quarterback is pretty good,” said Lucas.

Coal Grove likes long, time-consuming drives and wants to control the clock. Knipp said Rock Hill must not let that happen and he points toward the defense.

“We’ve got to be able to get our defense off the field. We have to make them punt the ball and not sustain long drives. We have to make tackles when given the opportunity. We can’t let them control the clock,” said Knipp.

But Coal Grove’s offense isn’t the only concern for Knipp. He said the Hornets’ defense has been solid all season.

“Defensively, they do a good job pursuing to the football They have a lot of speed on defense. They get after you pretty well,” said Knipp.

Lucas said the Hornets will not be looking past the Redmen.

“It’s the next game, so the next game is a big game,” said Lucas. “The kids have worked hard this week trying to prepare themselves.”