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Friday night's Wildcat game puts father against son

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HARTINGTON - It will be a game both coaches will remember for a long time. 

Hartington-Newcastle head coach Corey Uldrich travels to Allen for the first time to coach against his father, Dave Uldrich.

The Wildcats have not played Allen since Uldrich began coaching at the school, but with the drop, down to Class D2 this year it makes the father and son District opponents.

Corey says there is no way to shy away from the interesting addition to this week’s matchup.

“I think coaching against my dad just makes me realize how much of an impact he had on me as a player in high school,” said the HNS coach. “I certainly want to win the game for our kids, but there might be just a little bit of a ‘bragging rights’ aspect that comes with beating your dad.”

It would be the definition of a benchmark win in ones head coaching career — earning a win against your father and alma mater.

“I think the post-game handshake will be an opportunity for us to just congratulate each other and let each other know that we're happy to have this opportunity,” said the son. “Whether we win or lose the game, I'm going to let him know I'm happy he helped me get where I am, and that I'd do anything I can to help him in future games”

The win would also steer the ship for the Wildcats after earning the first loss of the year to rival opponent Randolph. At 3-1, HNS now looks to right the ship in a game that was labeled the Huskerland Prep Report Game of the Year in the preseason.

The rating obviously had something to do with the father and son matchup. The two talk regularly between weeks about each other’s respective teams, and in the winter seasons, both can be found as referees on the basketball court. There is a distinct bond between the two over a love of sports, and that aspect may be missing in the two’s conversations this week.

“Our conversations will probably be similar to what they normally are over the course of a season.  We talk about the last game that we've played, and we talk about our next game. I'm sure we won't be sharing any inside info this week. We've talked since the beginning of the season that our hope for this game was that it would have a factor in the district championship talk.”

Both teams sit at 0-1 in the District. Last week Allen was shutout by Bloomfield 44-0, while Hartington-Newcastle lost to Randolph 32-7.

The key Eagles player that the Wildcats will look to stop is quarterback Kyle Smith. The senior leads his team both in the air and on the ground, averaging nearly 165 yards per game. He also has averaged just over two touchdowns per game.

Allen does not pass much, with just 34 attempts in four games, but the team shares a 14-34 completion ratio between three players. However, the Eagles have scored only twice through the air.

On the ground, Allen is much more effective. Smith has over 500 yards on the season, and he is joined by sophomore back Anthony Isom’s 279 yards. 

The team as a whole has 984 yards. Smith leads the team with eight scores, Isom has five, and the team has a total of 16.

The two teams have quite the scoring differential. HNS averages nearly 40 points per game, with 157 points forced on the season. Allen averages exactly 32 points per game, with 128 points forced. The HNS defense has allowed 50 total points with Allen allowing 56 total points.

It will be an emotional game for the two coaches as father and son send two teams out to battle for 48 minutes with family “bragging rights” on the line.