They’d like nothing better than to record another first by winning a playoff game.
“The excitement level is up big-time. It’s been a great year,” Allen Central coach Jeremy Hall said. “Being 7-3 is great, but we missed being 9-1 by three points, a one-point loss to Pikeville and a two-point loss to Berea the other night.
“We went in as the fourth seed last year, and having a chance to win one (a playoff game) would be excellent for our program and our boys.”
Allen Central features a power ground game led by twins Logan and Hunter Crowder, who have each topped the 1,000-yard mark as juniors.
“They are an awfully impressive football team. They have two big, strong twin brothers in the backfield who will give us a dose of our own medicine,” Harlan coach J.B. Donahue said. “They will give us a lot of power football. The Crowder twins are excellent, and they are big up front. They are a physical football team all the way around.
“We are just trying to spend a lot of time right now trying to convince our kids that these big kids can run. They aren’t just power. They’ve got some speed.”
Senior quarterback Josh Prater has completed 47 of 84 passes for 798 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Chris Stumbo leads in receptions with 23 for 282 yards and seven touchdowns.
“They have a big quarterback with an impressive arm,” Donahue said. “He may not be the pure passer we’ve seen in some other guys, but he has a good arm.
“They also have a couple of little speed backs they will get behind the Crowder kids every now and then. They just have an impressive football team.”
Donahue noted the Dragons have had some success against power football teams this season.
Hall is also looking for a physical game from Harlan. Junior tailback Andrew Link, who has been slowed the last two weeks by a shoulder injury but still leads the Dragons with 1,212 yards rushing, is expected to play. Harlan should also have junior tight end/linebacker Ben Cornett back after he sat out last week due to an ankle injury.
“I’ve been telling my boys we match up pretty good (against Harlan). It’s going to be a dogfight,” Hall said. “They run the Power-I and I formation about like we do. They pass when they need to but like to keep it on the ground. It will be a battle of attrition, I guess, to see who can get the job done.”
“We have to continue to improve offensively and put points on the board. I think that’s the biggest key for us,” Donahue said. “I think we have gotten better offensively, particularly up front. I think those kids will have a stiff challenge this week.”
Harlan (2-8) has looked much better of late after a slow start, and Donahue says a win Friday would provide an emotional boost for the Dragons in the off-season as they return all but three players.
“I think it would be a great boost for next year,” Donahue said. “I think it would be a great feather in these kids’ hats if they could pull off this win.”
The Dragon Walk will be held Friday from 5 to 5:30 as the Dragons make their way to Joe Gilley Athletic Complex for the game.