CHARLESTON (WCIA) — The Charleston locker room this week is different. The players are being reminded every day of how badly they want to beat Mattoon and keep the Coles County Clash Trophy right where it is.
“I think it’s the most important game of the year,” Charleston senior offensive lineman Brody Rankin said. “It doesn’t compare with any other game.”
“It means everything,” Charleston senior quarterback Jack Nelson added. “This rivalry has been going on for so long and it’s such a hard rivalry.”
The Trojans (2-4) are coming off a win over Taylorville on Friday night, snapping a four game losing streak that dated back to Week 2. Finally all healthy, Charleston head coach Jerry Payne believes they’re in a much better position now than the beginning of the year.
“We had a tough spell there,” Payne said. “We went down to Lincoln and lost the game. We definitely worked on it. We looked a whole lot better in the game against Mahomet-Seymour. Played a lot better last week against Taylorville.”
Charleston has found success in the running game on the legs of seniors Nate Shrader and Jack Nelson.
The offensive line in front of them may be the biggest improvement the team has had all year.
“They allowed everyone else to do what they needed to do and that was huge,” said Payne.
“They’re just not afraid to lay the hammer down and get some hard hits,” Rankin added. “Jack Nelson, he’s the quarterback and he’s delivered some of the hardest hits I’ve ever seen.”
With plenty of starters from last season returning, the Trojans are just as hungry as last time as they try to go back-to-back in the WCIA 3 Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week.