Four weeks of high school football means one thing — few starters on any team are 100 percent anymore.

A nick here.

A tweak there.

Crutches with this player and a sling on another.

Yet, every coach and program has the same mantra — next man up.

That’s the way it has to be in sports.

Well, kind of in life, too.

One person leaves and the work has to get done.

Central Hardin went through — I don’t know — a couple hundred quarterbacks last year and not one of their opponents cared.

But, come 2019, that means nothing.

A player goes down who plays on both sides of the ball, more than likely means two players now have to step up.

When that happens, what is also true is that the other team doesn’t care.

The other team won’t feel sorry for you.

No team does, really.

This is why practice matters.

This is why all players must pay attention Monday through Thursday.

Injuries can — and will — happen at any time.

You feel badly for your teammate when that happens, but the next down is going to be played.

This is why coaches coach until the final buzzer.

This is why coaches want your best during practice.

One month into the season means teams have formed an identity and may not be the one anyone saw coming.

The Bruins have almost 2,000 yards of offense and I’m pretty sure no one saw that coming.

Yet, there are also things everyone saw coming.

North Hardin’s defense is nasty.

Just nasty.

It held Tates Creek to under 100 yards of offense in Friday’s 40-0 win and has allowed one touchdown in the last eight quarters.

Coach Brent Thompson continues to say about his quarterbacks — “We feel like it’s an open competition each week and we’ll see how it goes.”

Sophomore Manie Wimberly stepped in Friday at quarterback in his first varsity start and threw for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards.

That’s part of being on a team.

John Hardin bottled up Meade County running back Austin Oppel to 80 yards on 20 carries. He entered the game averaging over 10 yards per carry.

That led to a 28-20 Bulldogs victory, their first of the season.

Coaches keep coaching and players keep playing.

LaRue County decided to get back to its roots, line up in the bone, and dared Campbellsville to stop them.

The Hawks ran the ball 58 times for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

I don’t know any coach who wouldn’t OK with those numbers.

I’m guessing, though, you won’t hear the words “Air Raid” coming out of Coach Josh Jaggers’ mouth anytime soon.

If you were at the Central Hardin-Elizabethtown game on Friday night, you saw a heck of a game.

Good football games don’t always mean they come down to the final possession.

Good football games mean you saw two really good teams going at it until the final horn.

You saw some really good athletes show their wares and you know why they are going to play on Saturdays somewhere next year.

Fort Knox gets back in the saddle this week with a big game at Fort Campbell. The Eagles are looking for a win over their counterparts for the first time since 2002.

• You will hear this from the stands at every high school soccer match — “He is getting held” or “She’s holding her.”

It happens in every match.

It happens in club.

It happens in rec.

It happens in college.

It happens at the top levels.

You think Messi has never been held?

Neymar?

Ronaldo?

Alex Morgan?

Mia Hamm?

Seriously, get over it.

The officials will see some and not see others.

Part of the game.

My son was 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, played sweeper and was held all the time.

When he played midfield, he was held all the time.

When he played up top, he was held all the time.

“Don’t retaliate because you’ll lose,” I used to tell him.

Did he hold others?

Absolutely.

And, yes, he retaliated.

Just play the game.

Easier said than done and I understand that.

But, it must be done.

• Dearest high school golf peeps, always remember that a player can shoot a really low number as the No. 1 player, the No. 6 player or anywhere in the lineup.

It’s just like a runner can win a state championship from Lane 1, Lane 9 or any lane between the two.

If you are letting playing the fourth spot instead of the second spot bother you, good luck on firing a good number.

Remember, the golf ball doesn’t care who you are.

Mike Mathison can be reached at 270-505-1758 or mmathison@thenewsenterprise.com.

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