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High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Reitz Versus Harrison

High School Football - Reitz Bowl
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The Harrison Warriors look to put their first win of the season in the books while the Reitz Panthers aim to bring their three game losing streak to an end.

Technically, Harrison has recorded one victory this year. They beat West Vigo in the opening game of the season by a score of 52-7, however they had to forfeit the victory after it was discovered they fielded an ineligible player. They come into the Bowl Friday night after a narrow 34-41 loss to North last weekend.

The Warriors are led by jack-of-all-trades, Aaron Killebrew. The senior starter served as Harrison’s quarterback for much of the 2011 season, before being moved into the slot receiver position by head coach, Brian Lewis.

Whatever the Warriors need done, Killebrew is their go-to guy. While his primary role is receiver, he’s also been known to line up in the backfield as a running back and step behind center as quarterback, which gives Harrison the dual-threat of passing or running. He’s also the team’s kick and punt returner, and plays defensive back. Last week against North, he racked up 203 yards on 29 carries and found the end zone four times, including an 89-yard kickoff return for a score late in the fourth quarter.

His skills have been impressive enough to catch the eye of major, Division-I colleges including Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech. Kentucky went as far as inviting him to their annual game against SEC rival Florida last fall.

If the Panther’s hope to contain him Friday night, they’ll have to deal with his speed in some way. He was clocked running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds during a football camp at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale earlier this summer. The Reitz defensive backs will have to keep Killebrew between themselves and the goal line somehow. If he’s allowed room to run, no one on the field will catch him.

Offensively, Reitz needs to continue to build on a more balanced attack they displayed in their 36-31 loss to Central. With play suspended with 3:49 left on the clock Friday night due to the severe storms that rolled into the area, the teams returned to the Bowl Saturday evening at 7pm to pick up where they left off with Central leading 29-10. The extra night seemed to benefit the Panthers as they returned Saturday with a fire in their belly that seemed to be missing Friday night.

Running back Ke’Andre Vaughn was his usual self, picking up 201 yards and two touchdowns on a mind-blowing 43 carries, while the Reitz coaching staff opened up the passing playbook for senior Drew Johnston allowing him to take a majority of his snaps from the shotgun formation and air the ball out down the field opposed to the short screen passes they’ve run in the first few weeks of the season.

It was game plan that worked, as Johnston looked comfortable in the pocket and put some nice touch on the ball while also being able to rifle some passes into the hands of moving receivers. He also displayed some nice ability to throw on the run after being flushed out of the pocket by the Central Bears defense on a few occasions.

While they ultimately lost to the Bears, I was extremely impressed with the character and heart the Panther’s put on display Saturday night. If they can continue that momentum, they have a good shot at beating the Warriors Friday night and getting their first conference and city win of the 2012 season.

As always, you can catch every snap on your radio at Newstalk 1280AM and online at Newstalk1280.com, with pre-game at 6:30pm and kickoff at 7pm.

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