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Du Quoin defensive lineman Dalton Moore (87) forces a fumble by Harrisburg quarterback Isaac Crabb (12) in the second quarter last year in Du Quoin.

DU QUOIN — Friday’s prep football game of the week will be a non-conference battle between the Indians of Du Quoin and the Tigers of Herrin.

Du Quoin (2-0) comes into this matchup after defeating Harrisburg on the road a week ago, 47-13. The Indians have gotten off to a hot start with back-to-back road wins to kick off the season, and look to keep the ball rolling in their home opener on Friday.

“We just talk about getting better each week,” said Indians coach Derek Beard. “We executed well week one and then I really feel like things came together for us last week in Harrisburg.”

Beard felt that coming into this season his offensive line was the strongest part of the team. The Indians certainly proved that last week against the Bulldogs when Lane Bauman erupted for 150 rushing yards and three scores to help lift his team to a 2-0 start.

Bauman’s longest rush came on a 73-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to extend the Indians lead. Bauman wasn’t the only guy breaking off long runs, as Ethan Zettler opened up the Indians scorebook with a 53-yard trip to the end-zone.

Du Quoin will continue to lean on its athletes and size upfront to carry them to regionals.

“I kind of feel like we’ve got a lot of good athletes on this team,” said Beard. “Last week it was Bauman will a big game, but it could honestly be a different guy for us each week.”

Herrin coach Jason Karnes and his Tigers know that winning the battle in the trenches is what could make or break this ballgame.

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“Du Quoin plays disciplined, are very well-coached, and we know that they’re not going to beat themselves,” said Karnes. “They’re big upfront and we have to cut down on some of the mistakes and turnovers we’ve made through the first two weeks.”

Herrin dropped its first game of the year in rainy conditions against Waterloo, but bounced back to form with a nail-biting 28-24 victory over Carterville. The Tigers spoiled the Lions home opener when they scored a go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds remaining to put their record back even at 1-1.

“That was a nice win for our team and the kids showed great perseverance and character,” said Karnes. “Through these first three games we’re just trying to get better and improve upon the little things. We just need to continue controlling things we can control.”

It was the senior connection of coach’s son Chance Karnes and running back Cameron Damico to pull off the wild comeback against Carterville. After the Lions took the lead with a little under two minutes remaining, Karnes led a game-winning drive and capped it off with the touchdown pass to Damico to prevent an 0-2 start to the season.

Herrin lost momentum in the first half against Carterville, but you could see how fast and powerful this team plays with momentum and confidence.

They’ll need that once again on Friday.

“We need to contain Du Quoin’s athletes and not let the game turn into a track meet,” said Karnes. “It’s always tough playing a Du Quoin team each year, but it should be a fun time for our kids.”

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