Bruins put undefeated start to the test  vs. Henderson

Central Hardin’s Mason Thompson fights through the John Hardin defense on a run during last week’s game. The undefeated Bruins return home this week to face Henderson County.

Central Hardin football passed its latest test last week in a road win over John Hardin. Now, the 4-0 Bruins are back at home to face Henderson County tonight.

Seventh-ranked Central Hardin will be down a couple of players when the Colonels make their way to Cecilia.

“We’re banged up right now. Of course, we lost Trey Williams the week before last to a knee injury for the season. Then Friday against John, we lost Brock Burton, one of our starting defensive tackles. He’s gonna be out 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL in his knee. … Nolan Goodman, he was injured Friday with a hamstring injury,” Central Hardin coach Tim Mattingly said. “We’re at that time of year, especially after playing a physical game like we did against John, you’ve got some bumps and bruises and sprains and strains going on, so it’s gonna be a test for us.”

The Bruins showed Mattingly a little bit more of what they’re capable of last week in their come-from-behind win.

On defense, Central Hardin held John Hardin running back Keyandre Strand, the state’s leading rusher, to less than 100 yards for the first time this season. The offense continued to showcase itself as well, with players like quarterback Zakery Spurrier going from no rushing touchdowns entering the game to three when the game ended.

“They really showed some really, really nice determination and grit to come back from being down 7-0 to a good football team in John Hardin. There was some good leadership from our seniors and from our starters that really just pulled together and had that determination to get that win,” Mattingly said. “I was just proud of their toughness and I feel like our conditioning again in the fourth quarter really paid off. I felt like we got stronger as the game moved on into the fourth quarter.”

Henderson County, ranked No. 9, comes into the game with a 2-1 record, having won its season opener against Calloway County on Aug. 20 and then being credited with another win due to a COVID cancellation for its game against Christian County on Sept. 3. Most recently, the Colonels lost 48-14 to defending Class 4A state champion Boyle County last week.

Even with a recent loss, Mattingly said this is not a reason to overlook this Henderson County team, especially with some of the injuries the Bruins have.

Some of the Henderson County players that have caught Mattingly’s attention include defensive lineman Saadiq Clement, running back Jaheim Williams and quarterback Dru Meadows.

“Henderson County has a really good football team. They did lose to Boyle County on Friday, but Boyle County’s one of those elite teams a lot of people lose to, so you can’t really look too much into that game. You’ve gotta be able to control their running game. They run the ball with great efficiency,” he said.

“(Clement) is a man. He’s explosive. He’s gonna cause some problems. He plays both sides of the ball… .(Williams) has explosive speed. We played against him last year and he really torched us in the second half with some long runs… . (Meadows) is more of a dual threat and can run the ball really well and is really, really, really explosive with his running as well. We’ve got our work cut out for us being banged up and playing a good, quality opponent in Henderson County. It’ll definitely be a test.”

Central Hardin and Henderson County start at 8 p.m.

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or

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