COVID-19 cancellation cost John Hardin football its game against North Hardin last week. Now, it’s time to get back to work.

The Class 4A ninth-ranked Bulldogs resume their 2021 schedule with a home game against Valley tonight. In addition to being John Hardin’s first game since Sept. 10, it will also be the first Class 4A District 3 game for both teams.

“Our kids are excited. We want to play. It’s district play, too, so it’s important,” John Hardin coach Doug Preston said. “It’s the most important time of the year, next to the playoffs, so it’s setting up everything for the playoffs. That’s what we’re all focused in on right now.”

Practice resumed on Tuesday after the North Hardin game’s cancellation was announced early last week.

Losing out on a game was the second setback in two weeks for John Hardin after Central Hardin’s 24-7 week 4 win over the Bulldogs.

Not being able to regroup after the Central Hardin game through practice last week was not ideal, but Preston said the team’s plan is to move right along and not let obstacles get in the way of preparing for tonight’s game.

“We’re just going about business as usual,” he said. “We don’t need a great message or some motivation, we just want to get ready and play the next game and try to win.”

The run-reliant Vikings head down from Louisville still looking for their first win of the season, following three losses to Southern, DuPont Manual and Fairdale as well as having two games canceled. They also are still looking for their first points of the season, having been shut out in each of their first three games.

If previous meetings between the two teams is any indicator, recent history is on John Hardin’s side as well. The program has played Valley every year since 2015 and won each game, most recently taking last year’s matchup in Louisville, 64-7.

At the same time, the Bulldogs’ recent success in this game does not mean they plan to overlook their district opponent or the work they need to do to make up for lost time.

“With them, you’ve gotta stop the run game. They don’t hardly throw it,” Preston said. “They’re a three-back team most of the time, so we’ve gotta focus on getting their run stopped, then try to get ourselves back into playing. Any time you’re off for 11 or 12 days straight, that’s not good. We’re focused on them, but we’re focused on us as much as them.”

John Hardin and Valley will square off at 7:30 p.m.

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1425 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

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