The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Complete Domination

  • 'Dogs ground and pound Terriers for 40-19 victory on senior night.
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  • Making a push to the playoffs, Harrisburg looked to - if nothing else - fine tune some aspects heading into next week's postseason play.
    If Friday night's dispatching of Carbondale is any indication of things to come, the Bulldogs appear to be a forced to be reckoned with come next Saturday.
    Harrisburg completely dominated Carbondale - on both sides of the ball - en route to a 40-19 victory on senior night at Taylor Field
    Harrisburg head coach Jason Roper said those particular seniors, 16 in all, played a pivotal role in Friday night's win, which moved the Bulldogs to 8-1 on the year.
    "We have a lot of seniors playing tonight and a lot of those men have spent a lot of time in the weight room, getting ready for this season and getting ready for this postseason run. They have physically gotten themselves into shape, they got good strength and I think a lot of times this year, we have just outmatched people with our strength," Roper said. "I think that was the case tonight. Our seniors got out there and it showed. They got a good push offensively, defensively and dominate Carbondale as far as strength goes."
    The scoring started in the first half by Harrisburg scoring on each and every possession.
    After taking over on a fumble recovery, Harrisburg got a one-yard plunge from Dylan Hathaway with 9:02 to play in the first quarter.
    The scoring continued for the 'Dogs in the second quarter when Capel Henshaw found pay dirt from one-yard out, followed by a quarterback keeper by Ryne Roper from one-yard out and Harrisburg closed out the first half when Roper found Justin Younger from five yards out to give the Bulldogs a secure 27-0 lead at halftime.
    Coming out of intermission, Harrisburg kept the shutout alive when Hathaway tacked on his second TD of the night, scoring from three yards out.
    Carbondale countered with a couple of scores late, but the icing on the cake for Harrisburg was when Chris Willsey took Roper's handoff and landed in the end zone from one-yard out.
    The Terriers came into Friday night's game needing a win at 4-4 to have a shot at making the playoffs.
    Harrisburg's defense had other ideas, shutting down the Terriers for much of the ballgame.
    Carbondale finished with 46 plays for 248 yards, with 150 of that coming on the ground.
    Roper was well aware of Carbondale's team speed, athleticism and physicalness, but gave proper credit to his club for executing his assingment
    "I thought our kids played outstanding. They came out and really set the tempo early by doing some nice things on defense, some nice jobs tackling and then our offense was able to get on the field and played outstanding. We were able to move the ball. In the last couple of minutes there before the half, we were able to get in some of spread formation and do some stuff there as well. "
    Page 2 of 2 - Harrisburg finished with 381 yards of total offense, picking up 328 yards on the ground as Hathaway had 176 yards on 31 carries. Roper had 69 yards rushing on seven carries, while Henshaw had nine carries for 58 yards. Younger had seven carries for 14 yards and Tyler Bebout finished with 69 yards on seven carries.
    Roper went 4-for-7 for 53 yards, with Younger hauling in 48 of those yards on three catches.
    Not much can be determined as of Friday night as far Harrisburg's opponent for next Saturday. However, Roper does know his squad will be at home and he says that's not only good for the football team, but for the community as well.
    "Going into playoffs, hopefully we'll get a good draw and get a home playoff game for next Saturday. Hopefully, we'll be in a situation where we'll land in 3A. We're still not sure how all of that is going to work out."
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