HARROGATE, Tenn. —The Cumberland Gap Panthers will try to bounce back from a tough loss to Campbell County in last week’s opener as they travel to North Greene on Friday night.
Head coach Corey Russell said the 54-7 setback was disappointing, but said the team has responded well in practice this week.
“A loss hurts no matter if it’s by one point or 50 points or whatever it is. We kind of stepped up the intensity in practice this week and we were a little tougher on them. We let our guys know that losses are not acceptable and they’ve done a great job responding to that. We’ve had a good week of practice and I feel like we’re ready to go,” he said.
Against North Greene the Panthers will be facing a multiple offense instead the continuous spread Campbell hit them with.
“They kind of mix up everything as far as their offensive sets. They’ll got with overload sets, some spread sets and a little bit of a pistol look. It’s things that we’ve seen before and they try to get the ball to their athletes and let them make plays,” Russell said. “We’ve just got to do a good job playing assignment football and worry about ourselves, make sure everybody is doing their job.”
After taking their lumps going against a 5A school in the opener, Cumberland Gap should enjoy an easier time against the smaller North Greene.
Their game plan doesn’t change on offense as they will be relying on their big offensive line to open up running room for their running back while mixing in some play action to keep the defense honest.
“If we do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage and cut down on our mental errors and mistakes then we should be okay,” Russell said.
The Panthers will be without senior tailback and middle linebacker Brandon Bailey for Friday’s game. Bailey had to leave last weeks after only playing limited snaps when he reaggravated a leg injury.
“Brandon got hurt back in the summer and his leg is still bothering him a little bit. He won’t play Friday, but right now it’s a day-to-day thing,” Russell said. “It’s still a little tender so we are going to hold him out, he could probably go if he had to. But it’s one of those things where I’d rather have him for the rest of the season instead of just one game. He’s got a great attitude about and I’m sure we’ll have out there soon.”
Ryker Gent filled in admirably last week and again figures to see most of the carries.
Cumberland Gap’s game at North Greene kicks off at 7:30 p.m.