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By JOSH CLAYWELL email@example.com
ELIZABETHTOWN — Charlie Hopkins and the Hardin County Wolverines will get a glimpse of themselves from six years ago when they take on the first-year Central Kentucky Studs on Saturday.
The Studs, a Mid-Continental Football League team based in Danville, are a first-year team playing their second game of the season against the 10th-ranked Wolverines at West Hardin Middle School at 6 p.m. in Stephensburg.
“You want to play a quality opponent,” Hopkins said. “We believe them to be one.”
Central Kentucky (1-0) is coming off a win over the first-year Capital City (Frankfort) Wardogs last weekend.
“Everything we do is a learning experience for us,” said coach/owner Greg Wilson. “I’m jealous of these teams that have been around for a while. I’m learning as I go.”
Wilson, who played for state power Boyle County High School from 1996-2000, said he expects 33 of his 35 players to make the trip.
Wilson said most of his players came from the Lexington area instead of Danville, which is known as “Titletown” among high school football enthusiasts.
“We’ve got a lot talent in this area,” he said. “They call this Titletown for a reason. There’s a lot of good players around here.”
The Wolverines (4-0) are coming off back-to-back shutouts for the first time in team history. Hardin County defeated the East Central Missouri Eagles, 26-0, and the Cincinnati Falcons, 32-0.
In order to keep the Studs off the scoreboard, new Wolverine coach Larry Jobe said his team will have to stop the running game.
“This team likes to run the ball,” Jobe said. “We stop them by filling the gaps. Linebackers have to be disciplined and fill the holes. We’ve got to make sure to have good coverage on the tight end in case they want to dump the ball off to him.”
The Studs scored three touchdowns on the ground last week. In order to counter that attack, the Wolverines switched their defense from a 30 (three linemen, five linebackers) to a 4-2 (four linemen, two linebackers).
“It does a better job against the running game,” Jobe said. “You get more guys in the gap and you stop things quicker.”
The game is being billed as the ‘Battle of the Bluegrass.’ The Wolverines and Studs are slated to meet once in the regular season and could even meet in the playoffs.
Both Jobe and Wilson hope a rivalry can be formed.
“They get a lot of respect from the league, and from what I can tell, it’s well deserved,” Wilson said. “They’ve been consistently successful. In a few years we hope to be like them. I hope we can make it competitive for a while before they start to run away with it.
“When we’re not playing them, I’m going to be a Hardin County fan,” Wilson added. “I hope that they’re able to go to the next level this year.”
PUNT, PASS AND KICK COMPETITON. The Wolverines will host a free punt, pass and kick and competition beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The competition is open to boys and girls ages 7-14. Finals will be held at halftime later in the evening.
Josh Claywell can be reached