The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Bulldogs going for broke against Benton

  • Looking to stay unbeaten in SIRR Ohio Division play, Harrisburg travels to Benton Friday
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  • Looking to ride its current wave of momentum, Harrisburg has waxed up its surf board.
    After winning two straight Southern Illinois River-To-River Ohio Division games, Harrisburg looks for win No. 3 Friday at Benton.
    The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-0O knocked off Benton (2-3, 1-1) 20-7 a year ago at Taylor Field to clinch a conference championship.
    There isn't a conference title on the line Friday night, but Harrisburg head coach Jason Roper knows the atmosphere sure will feel like one.
    "It's always a big game for us," Roper said. "Benton is a quality ballclub with some really good kids. I like how we've been playing lately and what we've been able to do."
    Benton comes into Friday night's fight averaging nearly 21 points per game on offense and its surrendering 18.6 points per game on defense.
    Home, however, isn't where Benton's heart is as the Rangers are 0-3 at Tabor Field.
    Moreso, Jason Roper has lost just one game to Benton, that came two years ago at Tabor Field, while the Harrisburg head coach is 6-1 all time against the Rangers and 5-1 against Jeremy Clodfelder.
    Harrisburg is coming off a Week 5 win at Massac County, where the Bulldogs never trailed, but did find themselves struggling to stop Patriots running back Dillon Stoner, who after gaining 164 yards in the first half — including a 80 yard touchdown run in the first half — was ejected minutes into the third quarter for his second personal foul of the night.
    "I thought Dillion Stoner was a really good running back. He's probably the better ones we have seen all year as far as speed, size, strength. (Stopping the run game) is something we have to be more disciplined at defensivley. Just knowing where our keys are and getting lined up properly. It's a situation where in practice this week we'll work on fundamentals and try to get better as they go along."
    So as Bulldogs prepare to stop the run, they also have to prepare for Benton's Mat Buntin.
    "He's a good player," Roper said. "He's going to be a tough challenge for us to stop."
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