The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: For All The Marbles

  • Silver football trophy on the line as unbeatens Eldorado/Chester square off for BDC championship
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  • To say that it's been a while since Eldorado won a Black Diamond Conference Championship in football might be the understatement of the year.
    Try never.
    Since joining the BDC in 1992, the Eagles have never been in the position they will be in Friday night when they square off against Chester for the Silver Football trophy at Boz Adams Field.
    The Yellow Jackets come into town on an 18-game winning streak. The last team to beat Chester prior to the steak: Eldorado.
    "It's finally the week," Eldorado head coach Brandon Hampton said. "This game has been looming for a while. People have talked about it even in the preseason. I didn't pay much attention to it, even though I felt like we had a good football team, but you never know with a break here or there how things are going to work out."
    How things have worked out is the Eagles have rattled off seven straight victories, cruising through the Black Diamond Conference with one of the south's best defenses.
    The Eagles have surrendered just 33 points on offense and have been just on dominant on offense, racking up over 2,500-plus yard.
    Hampton said after a Week 2 win against Carmi-White County, this matchup with Chester is all people wanted to focus on. Hampton — at times — has had to find himself redirecting the ship. Not this week though.
    "Chester is 7-0 and we're 7-0. No matter how you slice it, it comes down to a conference championship and we feel fortunate its at our place. We'll have a good crowd, but by far, Chester is the most complete team we have seen on film."
    Chester is the state's No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 10 Class 2A poll and feature the area's fourth best running back in Joel Clendenin.
    The senior tailback has been a thorn in the side for Hampton the past thee years. This year, he has 14 touchdowns and 805 yards on 107 carries.
    "Clendenin is a stud running back and has been a good player for them for the past three years," Hampton said. "He runs hard and you have to get a lot of people around the football in order to bring him down."
    The Yellow Jackets also have the area's fourth best offensive attack, while Eldorado's is fifth.
    Hampton feels however that aside from the obvious, not committing penalties or having turnovers and not giving up the big play, this game will come down to defense.
    "They play good defense," Hampton said of Chester. "They get off the ball well, they tackle well and are just fundamentally sound. You don't find a weakness when you watch Chester, they don't beat themselves.
    "We've really been able to dominate our opponent and wear them down over a 48-minute span. We're a big strong football team, so we have to play physical this week and I think it'll come down to our offensive line recognizing their blocks. We've got to make the play when we can make it. I think — like a lot of our games — it'll come down to three or four big plays and we have to win that battle. In big games this year, we've been able to do that."
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