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Hornets travels to Cave City for final non-conference matchup

by Michael Hanich | September 15, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.
Photo By: Michael Hanich Harmony Grove quarterback Caleb Johnson looks for an open receiver with running back Damariyon Billingly blocking in the backfield in the game against Haynesville.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Harmony Grove Hornets have to overcome a 1-2 start.

In the previous three seasons, the Hornets were not worried about the effects of losses in non-conference play, as they have been instrumental in finding the glaring weaknesses on their team. But this season, the 1-2 start feels slightly different, as injuries continue to plague their team.

Harmony Grove, however, has no time to worry about the injury concerns and the loss of some of their starters. This Friday night, the Hornets will go on the road to take on the Cave City Cavemen (0-3) for their final non-conference game of the year.

The Hornets are looking to build a more well-balanced offense before conference play starts. Injuries have limited their running game through the first three games of the season. The Hornets lost two starting offensive linemen in game two at Harding Academy. One of the injured linemen, senior offensive tackle Brock Simon, is out for the year with a lower leg injury.

The health and productivity of the offensive line is a concern going into game four. Harmony Grove has rushed for 261 yards on 49 rushing attempts so far this season. This Friday's matchup against the Cavemen is a chance for the Hornets' offensive line to build some confidence.

Last year, in the Hornets' 54-14 home win over the Cavemen, Harmony Grove accumulated 418 total yards, with 259 of them coming from the rushing game. Running back Damariyon Billingly rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in last year's matchup. He will be a key factor on Friday night as the Hornets are looking to get senior quarterback Caleb Johnson fully healthy for conference play.

Defensively, the Hornets have been challenged by some tough offenses already this season. On Friday, the Hornets will have to prepare for another Wing-T/RPO-play style offense, but the Cavemen do not have the productivity of Junction City, Harding Academy or Haynesville. The defensive line of the Hornets can shut down any momentum from Cave City at the line of scrimmage.

Senior defensive end Quinton Jones has been the leader of the Hornets' eager and aggressive defense by leading the team in total tackles accounted for (28) and tackles for loss (4). Senior defensive end Christian Barnes and junior defensive tackle Peyton Ross were among two of the biggest playmakers last year against Cave City. They are looking to be key factors again for the Hornets' defensive line. This defensive line can provide aid to a Hornets' linebacker corps who lost senior linebacker Cannon Booker for the year.

The Hornets will take on the Cavemen Friday at 6 p.m.

Print Headline: Hornets travels to Cave City for final non-conference matchup


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