‘Landers hoping to rebound against Hancock County

Published 7:19 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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After falling in disappointing fashion against West Greene with the end zone within reach, the penalty and fumble plagued Cloudland Highlanders (1-1 overall) will try to rebound back to the win column with a region 1A clash with Hancock County.
“We had a lot of emphasis in practice on taking care of the ball,” ‘Landers head coach Zac Benfield said. “We have to take it seriously, cut down on the physical and mental mistakes we have been making. It seems we have a handful of kids that go 100 percent in practice and take that to the field on game day. Then we have some that are at 80 percent and that 20 percent difference is what beats you. We have to figure out who wants to play football and who is trying to decide if they want to be football players.”
Senior RB Kyle Birchfield rushed for 188 yards on 33 carries with three touchdown runs and a pair of two-point conversion runs in the 28-22 loss to West Greene that ended eight yards shy of a potential tying touchdown.
When asked how well the passing game is coming along with a young QB Benfield said, “We have to block better, you can’t throw the ball if the quarterback is on his back. The quarterback has to make quick decisions and the receivers have to run better routes. We just have to play better all around.”
Hancock County is coming back from COVID-19 when they dropped out of Region 1A and played three games in two years from 2021 to 2022 losing to Cosby 28-6 in 2021 and Pickett County 22-0 and Cosby 40-18 in 2022.
This season, the Indians (0-2 overall) have lost to Harlan (KY) 46-6 and Rye Cove (VA) 48-0 and will now take on a determined ‘Landers squad looking to get back on the right side of the scoreboard.
“We have to take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us,” Benfield said. “And at the top of the list is taking care of the football. The kids have to hydrate better because playing both ways takes a lot out of you and they have to understand that they have to take care of their bodies and avoid fatigue and cramping. That will help us play better.”
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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