The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Harrisburg rains on Tigers' parade

  • Bulldogs stay perfect in Ohio Division play
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  • Harrisburg took advantage of massive first half turnovers by Herrin, turning three interceptions into touchdowns as the Bulldogs improved to 3-0 in Ohio Division Conference play with a 48-14 win over the Tigers on the road.
    Capel Henshaw was a beast, finishing with 51 receiving yards, 87 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns, one of which came courtesy of a 68-yard punt return as Harrisburg racked up 370-plus yards on offense, while Herrin had just 237, 219 of which came on the ground.
    Despite giving up 200-plus in the air, the Harrisburg defense was able to ground the Tiger's running attack by holding them to 18 yards on 12 carries.
    On the flip side, Harrisburg's offensive line paved the way for a huge Bulldog ground game that amassed 308 yards on 58 carries as Dylan Hathaway led the way with 122 on 21 carries and scored two times.
    Harrisburg scored first when Henshaw found pay dirt from 1-yard out with 6:03 to play. The score was set up on a 37-yard pass play from quarterback Ryne Roper to Henshaw.
    Following a Copper Thompson interception on Herrin's first play from scrimmage after Henshaw's touchdown, Tyler Bebout scored from 1-yard out, giving Harrisburg a quick 13-0 lead.
    Herrin responded on a 49-yard pass play from Austin Starkweather to Austin Bulter, but from there, the Bulldogs would go on to score five more touchdowns, as Hathaway scored from 6-and 1-yard out, while Henshaw returned a punt 68 yards for a score and Zac Smith found the end zone from seven yards out.
    It was a night when Harrisburg head coach Jason Roper said his team probably couldn't have executed any better than they did on both sides of the football.
    "I thought our offensive line played great and those guys helped us control the football, clock the clock. We didn't turn the ball over and tonight is one night when we didn't have a penalty, a mistake, a turnover, something that could have cost us this ballgame.
    "Our defense was huge and I'm so proud of those guys. We've been trying really hard to give spread offenses different looks and I think that really paid off for us tonight."
    The Bulldogs have now won four of the past five regular season contests with Herrin, eliminating any hangover that might have surrounded the team after losing to the Tigers 21-19 a year ago. That loss seemed to have started a downward spiral Harrisburg as they would go on to win just one of their last three ballgames and finish 5-5 overall.
    One of those wins was against West Frankfort, a Redbird team that is still winless in Southern Illinois River-To-River Ohio Division conference play and come to Taylor Field Friday night.
    Following that, the Bulldogs close out their season with back-to-back home games against Benton and South Seven opponent Carbondale.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We're really trying to get our kids to understand the importance of staying focused and how important it is for us to finish strong so we can get a good draw in the playoffs.
    With the win Friday night, Harrisburg is now playoff eligible with five wins.
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