2017-09-13 / Sports

Coach Matthews looks ahead to Game No. 5

By KEITH HOWARD

It’s week five and the Letcher County Central Cougars are still in search of that elusive first win.

After starting the season 0-3, the Cougars went into week four with the opportunity to right the ship against Union High School of Big Stone Gap, Va. Union is a powerhouse and came equipped with the best athlete the Cougars will face all year. James Mitchell is 6’4”, 210-pound machine that could line up for most D1 colleges now, not next year. He is a man among boys. Mitchell has offers from Tennessee and Duke to name a few.

The Cougars played about as well in the first half as they have all year and were tied at the half 20- 20. Nick Sergent connected three times for touchdowns on bombs. He was 12-26 for the game and 370 yards. After halftime Mitchell took over and the Cougars fell 55-27. The score was closer than it seemed. The Cougars just had some untimely mistakes and turnovers and Mitchell was just too much to overcome.

1. Coach, it seemed like team played Union well for a half and then kind of wore down. What did you see?

Coach Matthews: Yes we really ran out of gas in the second half but we did not quit. We were so focused on Mitchell and the other backs started making plays. They have other good athletes besides Mitchell. And they were playing without their starting quarterback who went out last week with an injury.

2. The offense really clicked on some big plays early on passes from Sergent, but Union adjusted in the second half and moved Mitchell back deeper and kind of took away the deep threat. Why did the short passing game not work?

Coach Matthews: It seemed like our timing was off and we were kind of greedy. It is hard to be patient and we were not running routes like we should. It was hard for our quarterback to operate when the pocket was breaking down.

3. The defense seemed to really be on their game in the first half but the quick hitters by their backs really took its toll in the second half. What was the difference?

Coach Matthews: I think we wore down chasing Mitchell and depth hurt us some. We tried to adjust to their sweep plays and we didn’t deal well with their defensive pressure. When we got the big play down to their 5-yard line and penalties killed the drive that really hurt. We score at that point and we are down seven. Whole new ball game.

4. A lot of younger kids were able to get some action. This could show dividends down the road. What is your reaction to that?

Coach Matthews: Both teams subbed and it is always good to get your young kids involved. Union scored with their younger players.

5. Harlan County got pounded by 20 by Knox Central. Was this a surprise to you?

Coach Matthews: Yes, Harlan has some injuries but this was a big surprise. We were right there with Knox and let that one get away.

6. You travel to Pike Central Friday night in what should be a great matchup. Pike Central is 2-1 with wins over Shelby Valley and Hurley Virginia. Will there be any changes from the Cougars?

Coach Matthews: No Seth Conn who is a senior quarterback is really good and very elusive. He runs from the Wildcat a lot. He is the heart for their team. This is a big game for us and we really need to bottle him up to shut Pike down. I like our team’s attitude and feel good about our chances.

7. The Cougars seem to start quick each game and then fade later on. What has to change?

Coach Matthews: We need to be more consistent. We have played four really good teams and have run out of gas. We have to take care of the ball. Depth has really hurt us. I feel good about our chances the next three weeks.

Thanks Coach and Go Cougars!

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