After two weeks of simmering on the loss to Calloway County, the Hopkinsville Tigers returned to practice this week after their two-week quarantine.
The Tigers are the second football program in the area to be shut down during the regular season as Christian County returned to action last weekend.
Being off for two weeks, Hoptown head coach Craig Clayton was surprised with the team that showed up to practice this week.
“We’ve had a really good three days so far — probably the best three days we’ve had all year,” Clayton said. “I was really worried about the layoff and what all was going on. They came back with a great attitude and gave us time to reflect on our team and look at the adjustments we needed to make and some people we needed to move around. I think we got some people in some better positions on both sides of the ball. We’ll see but we had a really good week of practice.”
The Tigers came back sharp and ready to go, eager to bounce back from the loss to the Lakers a couple of weeks back.
“I was worried about it because I thought we were going to have to go back and work on some of the fundamental stuff, but we came back and we looked sharp right off the bat,” Clayton said. “I was really surprised by how well we responded. We were a little tired after the first day — you could tell we hadn’t run as much as we should’ve. But as far as retaining and learning and having a really good attitude about things, I’ve been really pleased.
“I think we got embarrassed by Calloway and that should’ve never happened, but it did happen and it happens every week at every level. In my career, I haven’t lost many games to a team that was worse than us. This was a situation where we were better than them on paper but they were better that night.”
The Tigers hop right back into the thick of things as they resume district play this Friday against Logan County.
The Cougars were plagued by the injury bug this year at the quarterback position, losing starter Braxton Baptiste to injury early into the year.
Logan has tried a few different things according to Clayton since Baptiste’s injury, including putting star wide receiver Anthony “Rooster” Woodard back taking snaps.
Clayton went through that process two years ago with the Tigers and knows what it does to an offense.
“They lost their quarterback I think in the Greenwood game and that killed them,” he said. “They were really rolling offensively for a while I thought early in the year. He was doing a fantastic job. … Now I think they’ve tried Rooster at quarterback some and it reminds me of my second year here two years ago when Jay Bland went down and we had to put Ellis Dunn at quarterback. It just eliminates what you can do offensively. You can’t throw the ball consistently, you become one-dimensional and it makes it much easier to play defense on you.”
The Tigers and Cougars will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday in Russellville.