The Hardin-Central Bulldogs felt they let one get away last week in a 22-18 Homecoming loss to West Nodaway. The Dawgs lost 90 yards to penalties, and turned the ball over five times as they dropped to 2-3 for the season.
Bulldog Coach Kirk Thacker said the one good thing coming out of last week’s loss was finding a passing game with Jake Harris throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns, with Mark Carpenter on the receiving end of 7 passes for 202 yards and all three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs will try to get back to the break-even point Friday as they make the long trek to meet Union Star. It is a much different Trojan team Hardin-Central will meet this year than in season’s past. The football program appeared to be hooked up to life support the past few years after back-to-back winless campaigns that included losses to the tune of 98-8, 66-0 and 86-34.
After four forfeits last season, including the final three games, there was talk of the program being taken in by King City.
However, a new coach has taken over and things are on the upswing as the Trojans bring a 1-4 record into Friday 7 p.m. kickoff.
“Their kids actually act like they want to be on the field,” Thacker said. “They’re excited about playing and they’re scoring points. Even though they’re losing, they’re scoring points and I think there’s a lot of excitement about the program.”
The Trojans picked up their first win in three seasons in the second week with a 58-6 decision over South Nodaway. Last week, Union Star battled hard in a 44-30 setback to Norborne.
The Trojan spread offense is guided by quarterback Nick Palmer, who has completed 58 passes for 540 yards, but the one who makes the offense tick is Dillan O’Dell. O’Dell leads the team in rushing with 293 yards and four touchdowns, and in receiving with 34 for 381 yards and three more touchdowns.
“He will line up just about any place,” Thacker said. “He’ll line up as a wide out, or wing back or tail back and he’s the one they are looking for most of the time. He’s not real big, but he’s a real quick kid and he can do some damage.”
Thacker adds that the Trojan offense line has also been the most improved area.
“They had no line last year and this year they’ve got three pretty big boys up front to do some blocking,” he said. “They’re not real fast, but they do a good job of blocking.”
Thacker adds that he has had a few players still banged up and a few more battling illness. However, he adds that running back Chris Wilson, the leading rusher, is about 90 percent recovered from his neck injury a couple of weeks ago and should be ready to start after sitting out of the first half Friday’s loss.