After a long summer of practice and an open date during the season’s opening week, it’s safe to say that the Harlan Green Dragons are ready to play football.
“The two scrimmages were good for us, but I think they’re ready for game competition and ready to see what they can do in a full, live game,” Harlan coach J.B. Donahue said.
Harlan will open its schedule on Friday at home against South Floyd. The Raiders opened their schedule last week with a 14-6 overtime loss at Betsy Layne
Twenty four years after it opened, South Floyd is scheduled to close after this year to join Allen Central as part of the new Floyd Central High School. The Raiders hope to finish strong with several key players back, led by running back James Little and center Matthew Compton (6-1, 295). Elijah Compton, a sophomore, has taken over at quarterback.
Little and Austin Akers are back at linebacker and should lead the defense, along with cornerbacks Sebastian Tackett and Blake Johnson and linemen B.B. Sloan, Brenden Little and Compton.
Harlan routed South Floyd 60-26 last August on the way to a 9-3 season that included a District 7 championship. Little ran for 128 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Dragons.
“Offensively, they have a good team. They have a running back who runs it really hard, and their quarterback is really quick,” Donahue said. “It’s a fairly good challenge for our defense.”
Harlan brings back most of its key players, led by junior running back Kendal Brock, who ran for over 1,000 yards last season. The Dragons will also be strong up front, led by seniors Thomas Morgan and Bryce Browning.
“As always, they are a pretty solid team, well coached and very disciplined,” South Floyd coach Chad Hall said. “We have to cut down on our mistakes. We had too many last week. We have to play better fundamental football.”
Donahue expects the Raiders to focus on stopping Harlan’s ground attack.
“They will probably stack people up on us on defense like most people do to us,” Donahue said. “We have to be able to grind it out against an eight-, nine-man front.”
Donahue said the extra week has helped the Dragons prepare for the long season ahead.
“I always want to create some depth, but since we don’t have a lot of depth we have to improve our conditioning,” Donahue said. “A lot of the kids we have are playing everything right now. We started realizing when we finalized our special teams that a lot of kids are playing on several units. Those are two big keys for us.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134