The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Playing with a sense of urgency

  • Bulldogs’ postseason hopes lie in balance of last two weeks
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  • It's becoming increasingly more obvious as the weeks go by.
    Needing just one win in its last two games to make the postseason, there is a sense of urgency on the part of the Harrisburg High School football team to make something happen.
    That first opportunity will come Friday night when Harrisburg travels to Herrin.
    The Tigers are likely already in the postseason at 5-2, but Herrin has more on its plate as they put they're unbeaten conference record on the line against Harrisburg.
    The Bulldogs have won at least a share of the conference football championship in four of the past seven seasons. With a Harrisburg win at Herrin and a Benton loss to Murphysboro, Harrisburg would clinch an automatic playoff bid as the conference representative. Harrisburg has made the playoffs is each of the last five seasons and is the only conference school to do that.
    The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-1) have won three of its past four meetings against the Tigers and knocked off Herrin twice a year ago, including a 44-6 victory in the opening round of the playoffs.
    Roper said playing for a conference championship and spot in the playoffs is a very motivating factor for his players.
    "I think it is on my mind," Roper said. "We're playing two teams that are playoff teams these last two weeks. We let one get away from us at Benton and that put our backs against the wall big time. We know we have to get a win and its something we know we have to have some urgency about."
    Herrin comes into this game having won five in a row. The Tigers (5-2, 4-0 SIRR Ohio) rushed for nearly 430 yards in a Week 7 win against West Frankfort.
    Herrin is averaging nearly 33 points per game offensively and giving up just 12.6 points a contest.
    "Herrin is a big, physical ballclub and have three running backs that can run extremely hard. They are a lot like us, they try to keep the ball away from you on offense and try to keep the score down by playing good defense.
    They play a tough schedule," Roper said of Herrin. "They've played some teams that are pretty seasoned and Friday is going to be a challenge for us."
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