Barren County has had some lean years in football.
This is not one of them.
In fact, the next win for the Trojans will give them their first winning season since 2000.
That can happen Friday evening when Class 6-A, District 2 opponent Central Hardin makes the trip for an 8 p.m. start.
“It’s an important week because it’s our first district game,” Coach Tim Mattingly said. “I hadn’t really followed them at all, other than I knew they hadn’t won very many games over the last few years. They’re winning games and if you watch film, they’re playing hard and doing things well. We’ve got to prepare for them. We’ve got to be ready to play. You just can’t do down there and expect a team to lay down for you.
“You can’t go down there and mess around. You can’t fumble and make mental mistakes.”
The Bruins utilized the fall break to spend more time watching film during their morning practices.
“Fall break is fall break,” Mattingly aid. “It’s hard to make people understand, we don’t just top practice. There were a few years where we did have fall break as our open week, but it’s hard to do that every two-year cycle. I’ll try to do it the next time we schedule, but there’s no guarantee it’s gonna happen like that.”
Central Hardin is coming off an impressive 47-22 win over Louisville Butler in a game that wasn’t that close.
“I thought our three-man defensive line (Dylan Butterworth, Shaun Hay and Mason Troutt) was really good at pressuring the quarterback,” Mattingly said. “We blitzed one time all night. They kept him (Chaz Burks) off balance. They kept him moving, which was big because he had a bum ankle. He was kind of hobbled a little bit and that kept him on the move. We really didn’t let him set his feet and move the ball.
“When you drop eight defenders into coverage, there weren’t a lot of holes to hit, either. A lot of teams had been playing them man and we didn’t do that. We played straight zone and did a good job breaking on the ball. I thought we tackled well, too, when they did catch some balls and when they did try to throw some screens on the outside.”
Central Hardin finished with four turnovers, three by Gavin George with two picks and a fumble recovery and a pick-6 by Deonco Wilkerson on the first play of the game.
The Bruins’ defense has forced 13 turnovers, 11 interceptions and six of those by George.
“Our kids came out and made big plays,” Mattingly said. “Getting on them early really set the tone.
“One of our team goals was to play complete games and we checked that box.”
Dayvion Holloway leads Barren County’s running game with 67 carries for 795 yards and a dozen touchdowns. Tyler Bush, the Trojans’ top receiver, has 27 rushes for 208 yards and four scores.
Bush has 22 receptions for 276 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Jameson Buie is 45-for-71 for 644 yards, five scores and two interceptions.
Central Hardin’s offense continues to do some damage.
The running game is averaging 271.5 yards per outing, while the passing game goes at 224.3.
Wilkerson has 59 carries for 603 yards and nine touchdowns. Tre’Jean Sanders has 40 attempts for 473 yards and five scores and Kyler Lee 60 attempts for 382 yards and nine touchdowns.
Quarterback Chase Elmore is 59-for-83 for 1,346 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He has the most passing yards since Koree Krupinski threw for 1,904 in the 2013 season.
George has 24 catches for 651 yards and seven touchdowns. Wilkerson has 18 receptions for 470 yards and three scores and Hay 10 for 143 yards and a six-pointer.
Kicker Evan Jones is 25-for-26 on PATs and 5-for-5 on field goals.
Lee leads the defense with 48 tackles. Trent Hill has 45 and Trent Ferguson 43.