The Greenup County Musketeers have not celebrated success on the gridiron in over decade. However, despite the 14 consecutive losing seasons, optimism is reigning high in 2015.
“The expectations are very high, not only from our staff, but the kids themselves have set the bar high,” Musketeers head coach Chris Mullins said. “The school, the community, everybody is very excited about the potential for this team.”
Greenup County returns 18 of 22 starters off last year’s team that finished with a 4-6 record and a playoff birth. According to Mullins, the Musketeers have an opportunity to finish with an eight-win season, which has only happened three times in the history of the program. However, four single-digit loses in the fourth quarter derailed those chances.
“We had some untimely turnovers,” Mullins said. “We had some fumbles in the fourth quarter that really killed us.”
Mullins doesn’t believe conditioning was a factor last season but he isn’t taking any chances this year.
“We’ve been really focusing on the conditioning and the weight training, to make sure our guys are healthy in the fourth quarter,” Mullins said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to finish games and hopefully we’ll be able to take care of the ball.”
Greenup County relied heavily on its defense last year, which has quickly become a staple of the program and should continue to dominate in 2015.
“Our defense kept us in the games,” Mullins said. “We only gave up about 19 points per game, which is really good for a defense throughout the season. We felt like holding teams to 19 points a game when you’re playing Russell, Raceland, Johnson Central, Ashland, Lawrence County, that means our defense is playing pretty good.”
Greenup County will once again have to navigate a difficult schedule to achieve this year’s goals, which according to Mullins, is to have a winning season and host a playoff game by finishing in the top two in the division.
Although the schedule has been difficult and hasn’t worked out in the Musketeers’ favor in the past, Mullins believes his team should have to fight for every victory.
“That’s why it’s been difficult for us to come away with winning seasons because of how difficult our schedule is,” Mullins said. “That’s how it should be. High school football isn’t suppose to be easy. It’s about Friday night lights and the atmosphere, and having people in the stands. We look forward to that every year.”
Despite Mullins entering his fifth season with the Musketeers, he doesn’t consider this a make-or-break season. In fact, he feels confident in the state of the program.
“We don’t think of it that way,” Mullins said. “We have shown progression every year. Every year we’ve lost games in the fourth quarter, so we could’ve done better. We’re hoping to figure out what we can do to win those games. I fully expect us again to win more than we won last year and to continue the ball in the right direction. I think the program has already made the turn. We’re good financially. We’ve got the schedule we want. Everyone is excited.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.
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