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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The rivalry between Hardin-Central and Southwest Livingston County has grown a lot over the past few football seasons. That rivalry will continue Friday night as the Bulldogs host the Wildcats in a battle of undefeated, ranked teams at Lee Meador Field.
Both teams have opened the season with blowout victories. The No. 5-ranked Wildcats opened with a 74-6 win over Northwest Hughesville and last week, thumped Union Star 56-0. The sixth-ranked Dawgs began with a 46-0 win at South Nodaway and last week disposed of Stewartsville 78-18.
The Wildcats vs. Bulldogs rivalry intensified last season. In the first meeting Southwest fell at home to Hardin-Central 34-18 in the regular season. Southwest then ended the Dawgs’ season in the state quarterfinals with a 50-8 win in Ludlow.
“We’ve been waiting for this since then,” Hardin-Central coach Kirk Thacker said. “I wouldn’t say they embarrassed us last year, but we just didn’t get in and play last year in that playoff game. They handled us in every aspect. We looked at the tape and have not been happy about our performance. We need to go out and make a statement about this game.”
Although the Wildcats are replacing several members of that quarterfinal-team, they still have their leading offensive weapon returning in Ethan Crowe. Crowe, who broke loose for 227 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns in Southwest’s playoff win over Hardin-Central, had 371 rushing yards and a half dozen touchdowns in his first two games this fall. Crowe has been moved to quarterback where he has completed 11 of 19 passes for 106 yards and 5 more touchdowns. Thacker feels his defense can keep a better eye on him now that he is at quarterback.