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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: A Bounce Back Attitude

  • Roper, Bulldogs look to get back in win column Friday against West Frankfort
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  • As if the start to the 2013 football season wasn't already weighing on Jason Roper, now the seventh year head coach is having to deal with the loss of his leading rusher.
    Jarren Goldman, whose 318 yards on 47 carries leads the Bulldogs' offense, suffered a broken arm in last week's loss to Marion.
    The senior fullback is expected to miss the next two to eight weeks.
    Meanwhile, the show must go on for Harrisburg as they entertain a West Frankfort club that Roper is hoping cures what has been ailing his Bulldogs.
    The Redbirds come in winless (0-3) after suffering a 50-23 loss at Nashville last Friday. West Frankfort is coming off a 2-7 season with just one conference win a year ago.
    Brian Beery is 3-18 in his third season, never beating Harrisburg, while Roper is 6-1 against West Frankfort having won five straight. The last time West Frankfort knocked off Harrisburg was in the 2007 season.
    The last time Harrisburg played West Frankfort, Logan Hartley was a member of the Bulldogs, now he's lining up opposite Harrisburg and has established himself as a big threat on offense.
    West Frankfort comes in averaging 31 points per game, but are giving up 50 points a game on defense.
    Harrisburg is 1-2 after a 35-24 loss at home to Marion last week, where the Bulldogs are scoring just under 15 points a game on average, while giving up nearly four touchdowns every time out.
    Roper knows that defense will once again be key in any kind of victory Harrisburg wants to have Friday night.
    "This is the second straight week where we'll be seeing a no huddle offense. Stopping Hartley will be a priority. He does a pretty good job at running back and catching the ball out of the backfield. West Frankfort has shown the ability to spread people out and still have the ability to run the football."
    Aside from Roper trying to fill the void left by Goldman on offense, the significance to sustain drives offensively is a must.
    "In the first half we played really well and then in the second half we just made mistakes that ended up costing us," Roper said. "We know what we need to improve on, the kids realize it and know that if we don't make those mistakes, the final outcome is a lot different. We have to keep moving the ball with no turnovers and very little penalties. We have to be able to milk that clock."
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