The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Answering The Call

  • Members of the Bulldog football team step up to challenge, overcome adversity
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  • There were a lot of X's and O's that went into Harrisburg's 20-7 beating of Benton Friday night at Taylor Field.
    But perhaps the biggest decision of the night had little to do with play calling and had more to do with the situation that surrounded a pair of Bulldog players.
    Harrisburg head coach Jason Roper said the heart and soul showed by Jordan Quertermous, Dakota Upchurch and Gabe Oglesby all proved to be pivotal in Harrisburg securing the Ohio Division crown, knocking off an undefeated Ranger program that has still yet to win a conference championship since 2001.
    Earlier in the week, Quertermous broke his hand in practice, forcing the senior center snapper to make arrangements for a emergency surgery that was done in Herrin on Friday morning.
    News quickly filtered throughout HHS that Quertermous could be back for the game, likely suited up, but most likely sitting out.
    No one would have even faulted Quertermous for making the decision, afterall, some six hours earlier he had a repaired hand and a cast to boot.
    The only thing Quertermous was interested in was giving the boot to Benton.
    The senior arrived to Taylor Field a little before 5 p.m. with his cast not turned into a club, a term commonly used around the football profession when ones hand is wrapped up in a protective manner.
    The sight of Quertermous and the notion that he might be able to play caught the attention of starting quarterback Ryne Roper, who quickly called for a football from the field.
    Roper and Quertermous set up shop in Jason Roper's office, surrounded by assistant coaches Chris Berry, Richard Dwyer and Greg Langley to show off Quertermous' ability to to snap left handed.
    To eveyone's shock and surprise, Quertermous showed no ill effects of being right handed and forced to become a southpaw against the Rangers.
    As a matter of fact, on the night, Quertermous was very effective.
    "He's a senior, he's been here all year, but honestly I didn't even know until I arrived at the field about 6 p.m that he was even considering playing," Roper said. "I still didn't think he could snap the football."
    When asked to describe one word Quertermous' displayed in Harrisburg's win that captured the Ohio Division crown of the River-to-River Conference, Roper was quick with a response.
    "I don't know what you can really even compare it too," he added. "Maybe a basketball player having to shoot or dribble in a game solely relying on his left hand."
    Dakota Upchurch made the move from tight end to left tackle, filling in for the injured Dylan Stacey, and helped pave the way for Dylan Hathaway's 230 yards and two touchdowns.
    Page 2 of 2 - For Roper it was a culmination of all things coming together in a season when "the next guy up" has responded to the challenge.
    "Hathaway played incredible Friday night and with Upchurch moving to left tackle, a lot of what Hathaway was able to do Friday night was Q being able to snap effectively left handed and Upchurch moving to left tackle, because Stacey was unable to play."
    Obviously that meant that Ogelsby had to fill in at tight end, a position sometimes manned by Upchurch.
    Ogelsby caught a pass out in the flats for a nine-yard gain.
    "Oglesby moving to tight end to replace Upchurch really lifted us on the offensive line," Roper added. "The big part of the game was how much we controlled the ball and how much we had the ball as opposed Benton's time of possession and the number of snaps they had."
    Bulldog fans can likely expect much of the same as far as positions are concerned this week when Harrisburg closes out the regular season Friday night at Taylor Field when the 'Dogs take on Carbondale.
    Friday night is also senior night at Taylor Field.
    Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister.com. Follow him on Twitter @spydieshooter.
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