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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Plugging The Holes

  • Roper, Hampton look to make correctable changes to second portion of schedule
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  • Correctable Mistakes.
    it was a line that was virtually regurgitated by both Harrisburg's Jason Roper and Eldorado's Brandon Hampton during their weekly press conferences Monday.
    Despite two different outcomes, Harrisburg coming from behind to beat Murphysboro 28-25 and Eldorado suffering their first loss of the year in a come-from-behind effort by Fairfield, where the Eagles lost 30-28.
    Still, both local schools shared similarities when it came to problems on the gridiron.
    For Harrisburg, they gave up 164 passing yards to the Red Devils, this coming on the heels of them surrounding 296 yards to Marion a week ago.
    The Bulldogs pass defense the last two weeks almost led to back-to-back losses.
    "The last two weeks with the teams that we have been playing, we've been playing quite a bit of man to man because they are run oriented teams," Roper said. "We thought we could play man defense against Murphysboro and not get hurt as much on the pass, but they converted a couple of big pass plays. One right off the get go that kind of set the tempo for them."
    This week, Daniel Lewis will start at strong safety, while Capel Henshaw will play free safety and Justin Younger will make the move to cornerback. Logan Hartley will be the other cornerback.
    Harrisburg also stalled offensively in their red zone opportunities. Against Du Quoin week 2, the Bulldogs made six trips to the end zone and came away with just one score, albeit, the winning one. On Friday at Doc Bencini Field, Harrisburg had five visits to the red zone and were unable to convert.
    "We have been able to move the football," Roper said offensively, but get down (in the red zone) and shoot ourselves in the foot with a turnover, penalties or just something that kills our drive. I do believe that all of our problems are something that we can fix and get better at."
    The injury big has taken a big bite at Eldorado. Hampton said Monday that his team just didn't play well enough to overcome being shorthanded.
    With losing guys like Dustin McGuire (linebacker), Scotty Wiseman (defensive line) and Brennan Unthank (cornerback), Hampton preaches a 'next man' mentality to his team.
    "We didn't play well defensively," he said. "We had some guys out of some their responsibility, maybe trying to do a little bit too much playing that style of offense, but we fought till the end. A lot of correctable mistakes. Hopefully as they year goes on we can get better and get a few guys back injury wise and finish strong down the stretch."
    The Eagles also became a victim to Fairfield's passing attack as the Mules amassed 96 yards, but more importantly, Eldorado squandered opportunities with penalties, finishing with nine for 64 yards.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It was just disappointing they were able to throw the ball over our head," Hampton added. "That's something that we really worked on in practice and we felt like we had them prepared to defend. We had some holding penalties that cost us after a few long runs.
    "But for us, really, it was a lack of execution that killed us Friday night. The little things like sealing on the backside, lead blocking and having our eyes in the right spot."
    Harrisburg returns home after a three-game road trip to host Massac County Friday at 7 p.m. at Taylor Field, while Eldorado will celebrate its Homecoming, taking on Hamilton County at Boz Adams Field at 7 p.m.
    Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister.com. Follow him on Twitter @spydieshooter.

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