The Hardin-Central Bulldogs begin the search for their third consecutive 8-Man District 1 football title Friday night as they open the 2009 season at Lee Meador Field.
The Nodaway-Holt Trojans make the long trip from Graham to take on a Bulldog squad that has a few holes to fill following last season’s 7-4 team.
Unlike years past, Bulldog Head Coach Kirk Thacker will have some numbers to help him fill in the vacancies left by graduation.
Unfortunately, Thacker will have to put that roster depth to the test as the Dawgs lift the lid on the 2009 season at 7 p.m. Friday.
Starting quarterback Joe McMichen was injured on the second play during last week’s jamboree with Norborne, so that will move Randy Estenbaum from fullback to under the center.
“We’re really working this week to get the offense down,” Thacker said of the change. “Randy played some junior high quarterback, so it’s been a couple of years since he handled the ball, plus he’s only about 5-6. He’s pretty fast though.”
The Bulldogs also have a couple more players nursing injuries.
Freshman Mike Boydston moves to the starting tackle spot to take over for an injured senior. Thacker adds that Boydston is a good blocker who previously played at running back and linebacker, and has done well in practice this week.
The Trojans begin their third year under coach Roy Noellsch who put together a 2-8 showing last year following a 3-7 campaign in his first season.
Thacker feels the Trojans will be a much better team than the one the Bulldogs defeated 52-6 last fall.
“They were young last year and have just about everybody back,” he said. “They only lost one starter, so they should be much improved. They have a pretty good coach and with an extra year in the weight room and an extra year in his system, they ought to be tough, so we’ll have our hands full.”
Thacker adds that the Trojans will run a lot of spread offense and throw a lot of hitch passes.
“They’ve got a wide receiver who is pretty quick and they did about 12 to 13 plays to him last year to get a little one-on-one set up,” he said. “Their quarterback has a pretty good arm and running back who is kind of a bruiser. So they will try to spread us out a little bit and try to run over us a little bit.”
Although his defense has been a bit suspect against the pass the past few seasons, Thacker feels, that even though his secondary does not have the size, they have good enough speed to help them improve in that department.