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Blue Devils look to unhorse Trojans

October 25th, 2013 4:58 pm by George Thwaites

Blue Devils look to unhorse Trojans

High school football seasons are looked back upon in panoramic aggregates of 10 to 15 games, depending upon  the success of the team in question.

In the midst of any given season looking forward,   coaches are traditionally   more nearsighted. 

“We take each game one at a time,” said John Battle’s Steve Wright.

The Trojans (6-1, 1-0) will have  no difficulty focusing on the business at hand when Gate City (4-4, 1-1)  rolls into  Battle Field tonight for a Mountain District showdown. Battle’s 21-14 overtime victory at Legion Field last year was the Trojans’ first win over Gate City since 1987.

Battle’s sole loss has been to Honaker  and by now  it  is  obvious that 2012 wasn’t a fluke. 

“You can’t argue with the man’s success,” observed Gate City coach Bill Houseright, whose squad comes off a 40-20 win  over a very good Lee High squad. “(Wright) has done a very good job over there. He’s made Battle really competitive.”

The Trojans’ success obviously owes much  to the force of Wright’s personality.  He is instilling winning habits that tend to eventually become organic at winning programs.  

Will it take? From Wright’s perspective, anything that far down the road isn’t merely idle speculation. It’s simply a blur.

“To tell the truth, I don’t think too much about stuff like that. We just concentrate on doing the right things and let the rest take care of itself,” said Wright.

Not unlike the daily affirmations that have brought the Blue Devils back from the brink. Last week’s win was the third straight after a 1-4 start.   Houseright isn’t ready to admit that  this team has finally turned the corner, but it  certainly doesn’t appear to be bogged in the mire.

“We’re playing with a lot of energy,” said Houseright, whose 2A squad currently ranks 10th in the West Section. “We’re still vulnerable in a place or two. We’re still giving up big plays here and there. But we are getting better.”

The offense, very much so. Freshman quarterback Hunter Collier has passed for 594 yards and seven touchdowns. Big  brother Michael leads the receiving corps with 39 catches for 452 yards and six of those scores.

Running back Evan Baker has rushed for 503 yards and Robbie Hicks has churned out 284. The mid-season revelation has been Caleb Herron, who has rushed for 465 yards averaging 9.1 yards a whack. 

Battle’s offensive skill triumvirate is quarterback Logan Honaker, running back Carter Harlow and wide receiver Josh Matney, who is also a key scoring threat in the kicking game. It has been a balanced attack.

“They’re a good, solid ball club. We’ve got to prepare for about 50-some different sets,” Houseright said. “It takes a lot of preparation trying not to get misaligned with them. Just like everything else, it all comes down to blocking and tackling.”

In another noteworthy Mountain hoedown, Lee High (3-4, 0-2) climbs a mountain to  face Wise Central (1-6, 0-2).

An intriguing matchup with playoff seeding implications will preoccupy fans at  Bullitt Park when Marion (5-2) blows into Big Stone to sort things out with Union (6-2). 

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