Harding ready for invading Bulldogs

Steve Arnold and his Warren G. Harding football coaching staff have laid the groundwork as Week 1 of the high school season is underway.

His team has followed the instructions through offseason weight training to conditioning to practices and scrimmages.

No more 2-7 season as the Raiders were in 2017. The new season starts tonight as the Raiders host Canton McKinley at Mollenkopf Stadium in a rematch of last year’s opener played at Canton.

Arnold remembers last year’s game being 9-7, Bulldogs in the third quarter. The Raiders were young, but this was a game within reach.

This Harding team is seasoned and knows there cannot be a letdown like there was in that third quarter which led to Canton McKinley rolling off 20 straight points to end the game.

“I would say play with an aggression,” Arnold said. “Laying it on the line. Playing for a brotherhood. Last year we didn’t play with a brotherhood. We didn’t have that through four quarters.”

It is a brotherhood this year. There’s experience where there wasn’t any last season, led by a senior-laden offensive line and one of the best running backs in the state in senior Kay’Ron Adams.

“When it was 9-7 late in the third quarter we put our heads down,” Arnold said. “We have to stay locked in. Everything during the course of a game is not going to go your way.”

There will be a friendly face across the sidelines from Harding in former WGH assistant (under Thom McDaniels) and Ursuline coach Dan Reardon.

“We’re friends, but he’s the opposition tomorrow,” Arnold said. “I’m sure he’s viewing it the same way. We’ll shake hands before the game. We’ll shake hands after the game. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

Among other games this weekend, Howland travels to play Lakeview in what has been a fascinating rivalry. The Tigers edged the Bulldogs, 23-19, last season in Howland. This year’s teams have lost a lot to graduation, but tonight’s game should be a close one as well.

McDonald at Brookfield has been another unique opener with the Blue Devils pulling away from the Warriors last season, 27-14. McDonald is getting away from its vaunted wing-T offense and going to a bit of a spread this season. Brookfield is relying on a bit of speed with senior running back and sprinter Dionte Colwell.

John F. Kennedy opens its season on Saturday night when Champion travels to Mollenkopf Stadium. The two revist a Week 1 game from last year where the Eagles beat the Golden Flashes 42-21 in Champion.