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By JOSH CLAYWELL firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT KNOX — The 32nd scheduled installment of the Army Bowl between the Fort Campbell Falcons and the Fort Knox Eagles appears as lopsided as ever – at least on paper.
Fort Campbell (5-0) enters the rivalry game between the country’s two remaining military-run high schools on an 18-game winning streak, while Fort Knox (0-5) has lost 26 in a row and 35 of the last 36.
Game time is set for 8 tonight at McAdams Field on post.
“I think they’re looking beyond Fort Knox. It’s a long drive, and I’m not sure what their view of us is,” first-year Fort Knox coach Brandon Combs said after Thursday’s practice. “They’re thinking we’re trying to find our identity or we’re trying to find that win. Nobody wants to be that team that breaks the streak.”
Combs would love for his team to be the one to snap Fort Campbell’s winning streak.
“It’d be huge for us. That’s the thing that will get our confidence going,” Combs said of the defending Class 2-A champions. “It will be a memorable first win for me. I believe the kids believe that they can do that or at least die trying.”
Fort Campbell, the top-ranked team in its class in the latest Associated Press poll, averages 414.8 yards per game, while allowing 245.4.
Falcons quarterback Antonio Andrews has 602 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 55 carries. He has completed 39-of-66 passes for 10 touchdowns.
“They run the spread with a little bit of the option and the bubble screen,” Combs said. “If you don’t respect the bubble, they’ll throw it deep. If you don’t respect the quarterback on the roll out, he’ll take off. We’ll try to blitz him if they run. He’s definitely a big, big threat. It’s going to be difficult to offset the run and the pass.”
Fort Campbell has three other running backs that have surpassed the 100-yard plateau – J.D. Ervin (21 carries, 284 yards, seven touchdowns), Breon Moreno (38, 269, 3) and Troy Turner (14, 142, 2).
Ronald Wilson has rushed for 99 yards and one score on 14 attempts.
“From the offensive perspective, we’ll have to stop No. 1 (Andrews),” Combs said. “That’s our biggest thing on defense. We’ll need to eliminate the mental errors against him.
“It’s (the offense) very hard to stop. They’re so athletic that they look great at it. Sometimes they make a bad decision, but that decision doesn’t matter,” Combs added.
Fort Campbell has outscored opponents, 256-49.
“We’re just going to play them straight up,” Combs said. “The game film I watched against Paducah Tilghman and Todd County Central, they give up big plays. They play pretty fast and they react with instinct. If they see run, they’re going to fly to it.
“It’s going to be a pretty tough game. But I believe the game plan we’ve got together is good enough to where we’ll be able to put up a pretty good fight.”
Defensively, the Falcons are led by Josh Carter, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior linebacker, who has committed to play for Western Kentucky University.
“They like to blitz five guys. They’ll blitz their four down linemen and one linebacker,” Combs said. “They really like to blitz No. 57 (Carter) because he’s their playmaker. He’s a pretty good little athlete.”
The Eagles will be without senior two-way lineman Will Osborne, who broke his arm in last Friday’s loss to district rival Danville.
Osborne was scheduled to have surgery today to insert a plate and screws in his arm to help it heal faster. Combs said Osborne could be back in time for Oct. 25’s game at Bardstown.
“The good thing is Will’s going to be able to come back. We’re just happy he will be able to come back because the original prognosis was that he wouldn’t be able to. We’re just thankful for that,” Combs said.
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752