7 p.m. Thursday
HNS 50, Wausa 18
HARTINGTON — It may not be easy, but Hartington-Newcastle has an opportunity to forge a District 3 tie with Bloomfield – and potentially Allen – for the title with a win on the road against the unbeaten Bees.
Regardless, Cory Uldrich should have one of his better teams during his tenure getting ready for a playoff run, win or lose at Bloomfield.
“Last year we almost beat Bloomfield (a 24-21 loss) and they might have overlooked us, but we probably won’t get that this year,” Uldrich said. “They know what to expect, that we aren’t a pushover, so we are going to get their best shot.”
A week ago, the Wildcats overcame a sluggish start with a strong win at rival Wausa.
Essentially a trap game, Uldrich saw his squad not get caught up in looking ahead, if not for a little while.
“We didn’t start impressively,” Uldrich said. “It was 6-0 early and we threw an interception on our next possession. We called a timeout to refocus our kids and from there they played really well. We played a lot better football, but early we were sleepy. Hope we are past that, because if we start this week like that, we are going to be in a world of hurt.”
A win over the Bees and an Allen loss would give the Wildcats its first district title since 2012 when the program went unbeaten.
“It’s been quite a while since they played a game like this,” Uldrich said.
If Hartington-Newcastle wins, there is a strong chance they will host a first-round game and maybe a top four seed in the East bracket, according to Uldrich.
“We’d be about an eight seed even if we lose and would probably still host,” Uldrich said. “If you want to make a deep run, you have to find a way to avoid that eight seed.”
A win over Bloomfield could solve that potential problem.
“We have to stop their run game … we have to hit three big plays over the course of the game, because they are a physical team that wants to pound you and sustain long drives,” Uldrich said. “We also have to not turn the ball over. We can’t turn it over to them and expect much success. They are going to capitalize on what you do wrong.”