Titans now will tackle a Bruin

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Tough early-season schedule continues

By Josh Cook

Jerry Lucas has said he wants his Collins football team to be prepared for the postseason, so he schedules up.

Up in class, that is.

The Titans, last year’s state runner-up in Class AAAA, already have played a 6A team (Simon Kenton) and a 5A team (South Oldham) to start the season. Tonight they’ll play another 6A school, when they host Ballard at 7:30 at Titans Stadium. The Bruins are ranked fifth in 6A in the latest Associated Press poll.

“They’re an outstanding football team that is very deserving of their top five ranking,” said Lucas, whose team is ranked fourth in 4A. “Obviously it’s exactly the type of game we want our kids to be playing. We realize what we’re up against, but it’s the type of game we want our kids to be in, to play some of the top competition the state has to offer.”

The Bruins lost their season-opener to St. Xavier, 32-14, two weeks ago before bouncing back with a 54-15 victory over Jeffersontown last Friday. In the loss to the Tigers, Ballard quarterback Rex Wallace passed for 366 yards, but the Bruins had negative 11 yards rushing. Ballard features a handful of players who are receiving interest from FBS and FCS schools.

“They have a tremendous amount of athletic ability on both sides of the ball,” Lucas said. “We know we’ll have to play really well to have a chance to win the game.”

Regardless of the outcome Lucas hopes to get two things out of tonight’s game: 1. Continue to build depth and 2. Improve the passing game.

The Titans started 21 different players last week in their 41-14 victory over the Dragons. Lucas plans on starting 22 different players tonight.

“We’re trying to build our depth, getting our kids more experience and seeing how many kids we can play,” Lucas said. “We’re looking at the big picture too. The more depth we can build the better off we’ll be come district time.”

Lucas also said he hopes to build on his team’s passing game. Collins has averaged 144 yards through the air in its first two games, after averaging 195.4 ypg last year and ranking sixth in 4A in that offensive category.

“We focus hard on the passing game in the summer,” said Lucas, whose team went undefeated in 7-on-7 passing tournaments over the summer. “But once we start actual football practice, we start working on other things…and every year it seems like our passing game gets put on the back shelf.”

Lucas said senior quarterback Lawson Page has gotten his receivers together for some extra practice this week.

“We need to get better on offense,” Lucas said. “We generally have been slow-starters on offense to start the season, but it’s time for us to get rolling.”