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One team will pick up its first conference win of the season tonight as Fountain Lake hosts Ashdown tonight at Larry Beckham Memorial Stadium.

Throughout the course of the season, Fountain Lake (1-8, 0-6) has seen multiple setbacks from day one, and despite a winless record in 4A-7, head coach Kenny Shelton is encouraged by his players' dedication and will to fight through the obstacles they've encountered.

"Our guys have really done a great job of continuing to fight through all the adversity that we've had this year," he said. "We want to send out our four seniors with a win, and we really want to win to kind of build on, end the year on a positive note and [to] kind of help go into off-season with a little bit of momentum as much as we can.

"We've really emphasized this year, 'Let's send these four seniors who stuck it out and have had a good career here out with a win. We're going to have the majority of the team back next year, plus a decent freshman class moving up, so [we're] going to really build on that positive note and hopefully reverse our fortions next year."

Although Ashdown is known to have a traditionally strong program, the Panthers (2-7, 0-6) have struggled as well.

"Ashdown's a very athletic team," Shelton said. "They've had several players in the last few years go and play Division I college football. ... But kind of looking at both of us, we're kind of in the same spot. We're both winless in conference. They've had a down year for whatever reason."

The Cobras look to contain the Panthers' running game while trying new tactics to catch the visitors off-guard.

"They definitely are the faster team," he added. "They've got a really talented nose guard who's probably one of the best defensive lineman we've seen this year. ... We're going to try to contain them, try to make them beat us throwing the football instead of running -- they tend to run a little bit better than they do throwing it -- and as far as an offensive standpoint, we'll come out with a few different looks that we've not shown this year, kind of tweak some things and see if we can catch them off guard."

With the exception of a 56-0 non-conference shutout over Dover in Week 3, Fountain Lake has struggled to score all season.

"We've really struggled with that," Shelton said. "With the exception of Dover, we've not been able to score more than two touchdowns in any game. We definitely want to try to change the course of that. ... Our goal is to try to score at least one touchdown a quarter, control the clock and try to play as clean of a game as possible. Penalties have gotten us on some drives; we've kind of shot ourselves in the foot."

Shelton said that the adversity his team has dealt with in the past few months has given the Cobras a new sense of motivation to exceed expectations and come back strong next year.

"We've reiterated some of the same things we've had all year -- to believe in ourselves," he said. Our kids have done a great job of rallying around each other. It's been that type of year with all the things that have gone on.

"This year, we were behind an eight-ball from day one with the coaches leaving, a few players leaving. ... It was kind of hard to get in a groove of things. Looking forward to a new future and trying to get our football program back where it used to be, and where it should be."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Fountain Lake.

Sports on 11/08/2019

Print Headline: Cobras, Panthers still aiming for 1st conference win

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