Last week, Hopkinsville quarterback Zach Moss was able to help lead his team to a win in his first career start.
This week, in his second start, the challenge is much tougher.
Moss will have an uphill battle tonight as the Tigers travel to face defending Class 5A state champion Bowling Green.
Moss threw for 99 yards and a touchdown in the 34-14 win over Caldwell County. But that may not be enough against the Purples.
Against a defense that has been good against the run thus far in the year, Hoptown head coach Craig Clayton will be looking for Moss to make more plays, whether he is ready for it or not.
“We’re going to have to do more with him,” Clayton said. “(Bowling Green) is really good defensively and really good against the run. It’s going to be tough. When you’re playing a young quarterback, you want to be able to run the ball and shorten the game. I’m afraid we might not be able to do that. He’s not ready to throw the ball 30 or 40 times a game. We may have to take a few more chances than we did last week.
“It’s still happening kind of fast for him. He’s not ready to be put in this situation, but he is anyway. He’s a good athlete and a competitor. He’ll get better each and every week.”
One good sign for the Tigers is the return of running back Jamarcus Jones.
Jones has yet to play a down this season due to being in quarantine and will return to the backfield tonight as the number two behind Jay’Den Dillard.
Clayton is hoping Jones’ return will bring a big impact to the run game, even if he’s only back there on a limited basis this week.
“When we were playing really well, he was a part of our rotation,” Clayton said. “He’s acclimating himself back in. I don’t know how much time he’s going to get. Hopefully, he’ll get 20 plays.”
Jones has been one of a number of Tigers that have been sidelined due to multiple different reasons so far this season.
Clayton said he hoped this year would be easier to handle than last season but as of now, he believes there are some parts that could be worse.
“Right now I don’t think we’ve gotten better since the scrimmages,” he said. “I don’t think our offensive line has practiced as a whole in two or three weeks. That lack of continuity always hurts your team. There’s just too much distraction right now. … It’s hard to practice and plan when you don’t know who’s going to be here every day.”
It makes what was already a tall task even harder as they take on Bowling Green.
While the Purples aren’t what they were last season on the offensive side of the ball, Clayton still expects them to be solid while the defense carries the load.
“Offensively, they don’t have the offense they’ve had, but they’re adequate,” he said. “They’re going to be a little off on offense. I know defensively they’re really good. Their front seven is fantastic. Linebackers flow great. We’re pretty good defensively too. Hopefully, it’ll be a defensive struggle and somehow we can stay late and score late and win. I’m really concerned about their punt block. They block a lot of kicks.
“They’re still 5A champions until someone takes it from them and they’re still going to be competitive and good.”
Hoptown and Bowling Green will kick off at 7 p.m.