The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Keeping A Good Thing Going

  • Harrisburg looks to maintain winning streak with fourth straight victory over Patriots
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  • After evening its record to 2-2 last Friday against West Frankfort, Harrisburg sees no reason to stop the streak — albeit winning and against Massac County.
    After an 1-3 start for Jason Roper against the Patriots, the eighth year Bulldogs' head coach has rattled off three straight against Massac County.
    Times have been tough at Massac County as Kelly Glass, who spent 27 years as coach and athletic director for the Patriots jumped ship this summer to be an assistant coach at the newly formed McCracken County High School in Paducah, Ky.
    Glass compiled a record of 132-129, but the Patriots haven't been in the playoffs in four years. Since 2009, Massac County is just 4-23.
    Enter Josh Warren, a 1997 Fairfield High School graduate, who has some coaching stops in Florida and Texas, now takes over a Massac County program searching for an identity.
    Roper believed that identity showed itself early when the Patriots won at Charleston Week 2 after losing a heartbreaker at home Week 1 against Freeburg. Since then, the Patriots have lost two straight, despite putting up some points in both contests against Anna-Jonesboro and Murphysboro.
    "They've had some scores that some surprised me," Roper said. I think coach Warren has them going in the right direction and possibly has them turning the corner. It's a big road game for us since we play the next four of five on the road. Massac is a team that plays well at home and it'll be a challenge for us."
    As for Roper and crew steadying their ship with a blowout victory against West Frankfort last Friday, the head coach knows that in order to be successful down the stretch, the running game has to show up.
    "I think our ability to run the ball was the difference," Roper said against the Redbirds. "I think because we were able to run it our defense was able to play good. We gave up more yards than we wanted to in the kicking game, but for the most part we were able to run the ball and keep our offense on the field."
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