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Things start to get real interesting starting tonight for area teams. District games start to fill the slate and it’s an important time of year as teams jockey for playoff positioning.
North Hardin and Fort Knox already have played two district games, while John Hardin has played one. Elizabethtown and LaRue County start district play tonight, while Central Hardin and Meade County meet next Friday in the only district game for both teams.
North Hardin is 0-2 in Class 5-A, District 3 play and desperately needs a win at Louisville Iroquois. The Trojans are more than likely heading on the road in the playoffs unless something crazy happens, but first they must win tonight to lock up a playoff spot.
John Hardin can secure a playoff spot with a win over Jeffersontown, which beat North Hardin last week. Obviously, the Bulldogs have their sights set higher than just getting in the playoffs, but a team must get in before it can take the next step.
Fort Knox is in a similar situation. The Eagles, who are 0-2 in Class 2-A, District 4, are in a must-win situation against Washington County. Looking at how the district is shaking out, a win tonight coupled with a victory over Louisville Shawnee next week should be enough to get Fort Knox in the playoffs.
Elizabethtown plays at defending Class 3-A champion Louisville Central, while Henry County hosts LaRue County. Louisville Central is the prohibitive district favorite, so it’s assumed the rest of the district is playing for second place. That leaves Elizabethtown, Henry County and LaRue County fighting for the second seed and trying to avoid a road trip to Bell County or Wayne County, so district wins are at a premium.
Offensive numbers continue to decline for area teams this season. Through six games, LaRue County, Elizabethtown and Fort Knox all are averaging less than 200 yards, while Meade County is averaging just 235.8 yards a game. All four teams are scoring less than 20 points per game. Those are trends that need to be turned around if the teams stand to have any success the next four weeks.
AMONG THE STATE LEADERS
North Hardin junior quarterback Andrew Rugerio has passed for 1,364 yards this season, which ranked him fifth in the state in passing yards per game. Rugerio is the only area player to be ranked among the state leaders in rushing, passing, receiving or scoring.
GAME OF THE WEEK
John Hardin’s final tune-up before a three-game district stretch was a good one. The Bulldogs rolled past the Central Hardin Bruins, 48-0 in what was their most complete game of the season. They scored on their first seven possessions and they posted their second consecutive shutout.
This is a critical stretch for the Bulldogs as they host Jeffersontown tonight and then North Hardin before playing at Grayson County. The Bulldogs have won 17 straight games against district foes and 24 of their last 25. They are going after their fourth consecutive district title.
The Chargers present quite a challenge. They can match John Hardin in terms of athletes and they are capable of putting up some big numbers. Last season, the Bulldogs struggled defensively in their regular-season meeting before shutting Jeffersontown down in the playoffs.
KEY MATCHUP: John Hardin’s offense vs. Jeffersontown’s defense. The Chargers have had trouble slowing teams down, giving up 28 points per game. They have allowed 30 or more in three games and more than 25 in six games. That could be a recipe for disaster against the Bulldogs, who are averaging 45.3 points and 445.7 yards a game. It will be interesting to see if the Chargers try to take away John Hardin’s ground game and make junior quarterback Patrick Anderson beat them through the air. Anderson is certainly capable as he’s shown through the first six games. If the Chargers aren’t able to slow down John Hardin, it could be a long night.
Chuck Jonesis the sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1759, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.