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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: One Last Time

  • Area seniors get one last game on home fields Friday
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  • While there is still work to do in the regular season, there are a number of area clubs that have playoffs on their minds.
    The postseason doesn't kick off until next week, but a pair of teams take the field Friday night in the regular season finale, looking for their spot in the IHSA playoffs.
    Eldorado and Carbondale both have their backs against the wall as the Eagles will host Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn at Boz Adams Field and Harrisburg will take on a Terrier bunch at Taylor Field as both teams enter with record of 4-4.
    As if there's not enough on the line already, the stakes get a little bit higher as Harrisburg and Eldorado will try to send their seniors out in style as the two schools will say goodbye to a total of 25 players.
    The Bulldogs have 16 seniors, Bryan Miller, Capel Henshaw, Ryne Roper, Justin Younger, Dylan Hathaway, Brandon Pate, Dylan Yates, Chris Willsey, Dakota Upchurch, Tyler Bebout, Gabe Oglesby, Austin Eldridge, Brandon Thom, Jordan Quetermous, Isaac Ingram and Dylan Stacey,
    Eldorado bids on a fond farewell to Chance Gilbert, Austin Gollihur, Dustin McGuire, Dakota Prather, Tanner Smith, Brennan Unthank, Aaron Vailes, Joseph Watson, Matt Pena and Scotty Wiseman.
    For Harrisburg head coach Jason Roper, he knows all too well how special this class is and what one more win on their home field will mean.
    "They have been a competitive group," he said. "Whether they have played two or three sports coming up through their careers here at Harrisburg. Maybe a few of them have chosen football or focused on that, but the biggest thing I can say about them is their chemistry is really,really good.
    "They seem to all get along and none of them seem to be jealous of one another. They want to have a good senior season and a lot of them have parents of family members that have played here in the past and saw how important football was to the community. They went out from their freshmen year to this point and have really worked hard, lifted weights, ran, got in shape. It's a situation where you want to see kids that have sacrificed something whether it be time, effort or energy and who have really good chemistry, you want to see them be successful."
    Eldorado head coach Brandon Hampton pins the school's two consecutive playoff steak on the shoulders of many of this year's seniors and knows they are not looking forward with the steak stopping with them.
    "I think in the past, it's been a real strength for us," Hampton said of senior night. "I've had a number of under clansmen stand up and say, 'lets get a win for these seniors.' That was the rally cry for a number of years. This particular group of seniors doesn't want to see the short-lived streak, but still a streak of two straight years in the playoffs come to and end. The seniors want to keep playing, they don't want the playoff streak to end with them and I don't think they are ready to move on and do something else."
    Page 2 of 2 - With that being said, Hampton is fully prepared to engage this week's contest like it is a playoff game.
    "If we win, we get in and if we don't win, we go home," he said. "We need a win bad. We've had three weeks in a row of being disappointed, devastated and playing well enough to win for 42 minutes, but just not playing for a full 48 minutes. To our kids' credit, they have responded every time they have been in this situation."
    Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister.com. Follow him on Twitter @spydieshooter.
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