Football Preview Week Four: Higginsville @ Trenton
Match-ups with the Higginsville Huskers have not been kind to the Trenton Bulldogs over the past several years. Trenton has lost to Higginsville in each of the past five seasons, losing those five games by a combined score of 190-55.
2013 marks a new year and another shot at the Huskers. This year’s edition of the Huskers is still a good one, as the team comes to Trenton with a 3-0 record so far. However, gone are the Tyrell Thirkields and Cottrey Lewises that made Higginsville a state championship contender each of the past couple of seasons.
There is also the fact that Trenton is no slouch, either. The Bulldogs themselves bring a 3-0 record into Friday night’s homecoming match-up with the Huskers. Trenton hasn’t exactly blown opponents out like Higginsville has, but the Bulldogs have had a knack for finding ways to win ballgames this year.
“We are playing better, there is no question,” Trenton Head Coach Wes Croy said. “This is probably the farthest along we have been in week three in quite a while and our record indicates that. (Higginsville) is still a good program, though, and their record indicates that. They beat El Dorado (Springs) last week by a pretty wide margin (57-6). So, they are definitely a concern. They are well coached, they have good athletes and they know how to win. That’s a big hurdle for us; the mental hurdle that we have to get over with them. It will help us tremendously if we get off to a solid start and not let it get away from us like we have a couple of times during this run that they have had against us.”
The Bulldogs gained some confidence against the giant that has been Higginsville in last season’s junior varsity match-up. Many of Trenton’s starters on this year’s team were on a junior varsity squad that defeated the Higginsville JV last year on the road.
“That definitely helps our confidence,” Croy said. “A lot of our kids that we have playing on Friday nights were a part of that group last year. They know that they can compete with the kids across the line from them, we just have to make sure we can do it in a varsity setting. There are a lot of similarities between Friday nights and Monday nights, but there are also some big differences – the pressure of the game, the intensity of the game and the speed of the game. Hopefully we can step up to that level, play well and have an opportunity to win the football game. We know it’s a big task, but it’s one we welcome. This could really tell us where we are right now because this is a good football team we are playing. If you want to be recognized as a good team you have to go beat good teams like this.”
If Trenton is to move the success of last year’s junior varsity game to the varsity level this season, they are going to have to stop the Huskers’ new offensive threats. Brothers Marcus and Malcom Elmore are the Huskers’ top threats in the backfield and Trenton will need to key on them in this year’s match-up.
“Marcus and Malcom Elmore both play in the backfield,” Croy said. “Marcus is the fullback. He is about 190 pounds and he has varsity experience, starting at linebacker last year. He really runs hard and we like the way that he gets downhill and I think he is a quality back. The younger Elmore is kind of the big play guy. He is explosive and able to do a lot of things. He looks like a very talented athlete. We need to be aware of where he is at.”
The Huskers also have some passing ability with quarterback Matt Gibson, a first-year starter at the position. Tight end Landon Figg gives him a big target at 6-1, 230 pounds.
“(Higginsville) has had a pretty good run of quarterbacks,” Croy said. “One steps in right after the other and plays well and the Gibson kid is no exception. Landon Figg at tight end is a huge concern. He is a great blocker, has some athletic ability and catches the ball well. He is a force at defense at the middle linebacker position as well. Those kids are the ones we are aware of, but they have people around them. They are solid from top to bottom.”
Higginsville enters the game ranked in a tie for seventh in the state high school rankings and the Huskers have gone 27-3 in their past 30 games. The clash between the two unbeaten schools will be one of the biggest games to happen at C.F. Russell Stadium in a while. To add to the magnitude of the game, it’s homecoming for the Bulldogs.
“We are definitely going to have to play our best game of the year to have a chance to win, but we feel like we can do that,” Croy said.
A pre-game tailgate will be held at Eastside Park prior to the homecoming game. The tailgate, sponsored by L&P Dance Studio, begins at 5 p.m.
Pre-game homecoming festivities will begin at 6:20 with the match-up featuring the undefeated Trenton Bulldogs and undefeated Higginsville Huskers at 7 o’clock.
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