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After dropping their opening game of the season, the Hardin-Central Bulldogs have bounced back with a pair of wins to get back over the .500 mark. A slow start in last week’s match up with visiting Southwest nearly broke the streak before it began, but Bulldog Coach Kirk Thacker said he hopes his team learned some lessons.
“We were not awake to start the game,” he said. “We thought it was going to be a typical Southwest game and it turns out they gave us everything we could handle. We hope we’re ready this week. We’ve had some pretty good practices and I think they have gotten the message, so we’re going to be ready for this game.”
The Bulldogs will hit the road as they meet the South Holt Knights who are 1-2 after coming off a 54-16 loss to St. Joseph Christian. The Lions, one of the top 8-man teams in the state, scored eight consecutive touchdowns to open a 54-0 lead. They also took advantage of three South Holt lost fumbles – one returned for a touchdown – and a pair of interceptions.
The Knights are replacing five offensive and five defensive starters from last year’s 6-4 team that handled Hardin-Central 62-6. One of the new starters is quarterback Kylynn Sisk who has completed 20 of 53 passes for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns through the first three games.
“He’s got a pretty good arm, but he’s also elusive,” Thacker said. “He’s not real tall. We’ve seen some film on him and he can stop on a dime so he’s had some good rushing games as well as passing.”
Sisk has also rushed for 186 yards, while Tyler Costello has run for 138 yards and leads the team in touchdowns with five. Costello ran for 130 yards on 10 carries last year against Hardin-Central. Toby Prussman, who gave the Bulldog secondary trouble last year, is the leading receiver for the Knights with 13 catches for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Thacker adds the entire South Holt team has plenty of speed.
“They’re struggling a little bit, but they’re still a pretty good quality team,” Coach (Ryan) Johnson has done a great job with them year in and year out. He keeps finding kids and plugging them into his system. I don’t know where he gets all this speed – they don’t have huge size, but he’s got fast kids left and right. We could have problems matching up with their speed.”
The Bulldog offense has been paced the last two weeks by Chris Wilson who ran for 260 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 46-36 win at Stewartsville two weeks ago and topped that with 324 yards and 4 more touchdowns in last Friday’s 60-46 win over the Wildcats. Thacker said the biggest difference in Wilson from a year ago is that he has become a more patient runner.
“Last year he would just take off and go,” he said. “This year he has decided to wait a little longer and wait for his blocks to develop. Once he finds the opening he hits it hard and goes. He’s run through a lot of arm tackles this year.”
Wilson has rushed for 684 yards this season.