Once won’t be enough for Meade County and Central Hardin football this season. The district opponents are preparing to open the Class 6A playoffs against one another tonight in what will be their second meeting of 2020.
While the first game was played at Central Hardin, tonight’s rematch will be played in Brandenburg.
This will be the first game for both teams since Oct. 30. That night, the Bruins lost what would be their final regular season game to North Hardin 23-0, while the Green Wave picked up a 20-17 win over South Oldham in their last regular season matchup.
“It’ll be good to actually play another team instead of practicing against ourselves, which is what we’ve done now for three weeks,” Central Hardin coach Tim Mattingly said. “It’ll be nice to get out there and compete against another team. Hopefully our kids are up to the challenge.”
Central Hardin had initially been scheduled to play Apollo Nov. 6 and Meade County had been scheduled to play Beechwood the same night, but both games were canceled.
Because of the decision to push the start of the playoffs back by a week, both teams find themselves in a similar situation as far as not having a game on the schedule for a longer period of time.
“It’s been up and down, I’m not gonna lie. We’ve had good days, bad days. I think it’s hard for the kids to see a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, because everybody was starting to wonder if it was really gonna happen,” Mattingly said of having three weeks between games. “As the closer it got, I noticed our kids picked up their energy level. Their intensity in practice started to pick up last week and for the most part, we had pretty good practices this week.”
While the Bruins finished their regular-season slate with a 1-4 record, their one victory thus far came Oct. 16 in a 38-18 win against the Green Wave.
This was the last of five straight losses for Meade County, who won its last two regular season games after winning its season opener against John Hardin to enter the postseason at 3-5.
Mattingly said duplicating this previous result would take a strong effort from his team.
“We’re gonna have to be able to complete some passes, because defensively, they’re a very good, fundamental team. They typically don’t give up a lot of big plays,” he said. “We were fortunate the first time we played them that we were able to break some long runs. You can’t count on that happening in a rematch, so to speak, so we’re gonna have to just be content with hopefully grabbing the ball and maybe completing some passes.”
Due to the teams’ similarities from a defensive standpoint, Mattingly added that he expects a low-scoring game tonight. He also said the large amount of time in between games could play a role in how the game unfolds.
“I feel like both teams are pretty sound, defensively. I don’t anticipate a lot of points on the board, but you never know,” Mattingly said. “With teams having not played in two or three weeks, you think about the timing issue, you think about the turnover issue, all that stuff kind of comes back into play because it’s almost like you’re playing your first game again. Those are the mistakes that you really worry about early in the season, the turnovers and the special teams stuff that’s hard to replicate and practice those things.”
Central Hardin and Meade County will kick off tonight’s game at 7 p.m.