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PREP FOOTBALL: Meade County hopes to end losing streak to John Hardin (09/06)

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By Chuck Jones

The Meade County Green Wave’s defense has been nothing short of outstanding through two games. Two games, 2 rushing yards and zero points.

The numbers speak for themselves. The Green Wave posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since the 2001 season when they had three straight and seven overall. They’ve limited their first two opponents — Breckinridge County and Louisville Western — to a total of 188 yards.

Now, the defense gets its toughest test when the Green Wave meet the John Hardin Bulldogs tonight at 7:30 at Bulldog Stadium. John Hardin is coming off a 25-20 loss to Louisville DeSales and the Green Wave have complete faith their defense can do the same to the Bulldogs.

“This feels really good to get another shutout,” Meade County senior Antwan Ferguson said after the win over Western on Sunday. “Hopefully, we can keep it going next week and get it again against John Hardin. And I think we can.”

Meade County coach Larry Mofield does his best Lee Corso impression and says not so fast. Although the defense has been good, Mofield admits he doesn’t know how good it is. He said the first true test comes against the Bulldogs, who are averaging 27.5 points and 352.0 yards per game.

“Coming into the year, we knew we had more experience on the defensive side of the ball,” Mofield said. “No disrespect to Breckinridge County or Western, but until you go against someone like John Hardin, that shows you where you stand.

“There’s a fine line as a coach,” he added. “You play against some teams that are not on a high level and have success and it builds confidence. On the flip side, when you play teams that are on a high level, can you have that same type of success? That’s the teams you’re going to be facing down the road. John Hardin is an outstanding football team.”

Meade County certainly knows that. The Bulldogs have won the last six meetings and lead the series, 9-2. The Green Wave’s last win against John Hardin came in the 2006 Class 4-A playoffs.

Meade County has given John Hardin’s Wing-T attack problems over the years. Mofield said defending the Wing-T is one of the hardest offenses to try to stop.

“You have to be disciplined, if not more, against a Wing-T team than an option team,” Mofield said. “Nobody runs it anymore. I think that’s played into John Hardin’s success. They’ve stuck to it and they do what they believe in. You have to make the correct reads. We try to focus on the fundamentals. You can do things fundamentally right and still not make the play.”

John Hardin’s rushing attack has produced 494 yards the first two games. Senior fullback Daquan Deville leads the team with 142 yards followed by senior halfback Khalil Frazier with 122. Junior halfback Elijah Smith has rushed for 119 yards and junior halfback Josh Miller 95.

“They always have outstanding speed and quickness,” Mofield said. “When (John Hardin offensive coordinator) Coach (Mike) Lewis was at Central Hardin, he always put his best back at the fullback spot. I think that’s his influence here. Their fullback is an outstanding ball carrier. If you can run your fullback that makes that offense tougher to defend.”

If the stable of running backs wasn’t enough to be concerned about, Meade County has to pay attention to senior quarterback Patrick Anderson, who has thrown for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s always a threat once a play breaks down,” Mofield said. “He’s underrated in my opinion as a passer.”

Although John Hardin’s defense showed some cracks against DeSales, Mofield believes it is just as good as past years. The Bulldogs are giving up 15.5 points and 254.5 yards per game; both are higher than previous seasons.

“They have an outstanding defense,” Mofield said. “Their front four and their four linebackers do such a good job. I’m sure their corners and safeties are good, you just usually don’t get to those guys.”

Meade County has shown the ability to be able to pound teams with its ground attack. Senior fullbacks Jonah Shacklette and Devonte Duncan have combined for 183 yards and five touchdowns. Junior halfback John Wilson only has three attempts but has gained 81 yards. Juniors Kaidon Richmond and Micah Kaiser and senior Nick O’Brien each have 50 yards or more and a touchdown.

But Mofield said the Green Wave will need to be able to throw the ball effectively against John Hardin in order to open up the running game. Senior quarterback Zeb Wilson is 5-of-10 for 108 yards this season.

“When we put it in the air, it’s not a bad thing,” Shacklette said Sunday. “Our passing game is really good. That helps us running the ball because teams don’t know what we’re going to do. We can get things done running or passing.”

Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.