Although the season is just past the midway point, the Hartley High School football team is playing its next-to-last home game.
Last year the Hawks lost to Columbus Grove 20-14 in overtime, which ended up being the first of three losses that knocked Hartley out of the playoff picture.
Hartley hopes to avoid a similar loss again, and one way to do that would be to give the ball to running back Noah Key early and often. Though Key is one of the Hawks' most explosive players, if Columbus Grove shuts him down they could always go to fullback Jarrod Zang, who rushed for 123 yards in last Friday's 37-8 win over Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph. Either way, the Bulldogs need to find a way to stop Hartley's running game, which racked up 365 yards last Friday, to have a shot at winning.
Meanwhile, Columbus Grove is hoping a win over the Hawks can catapult them into the playoff picture in Division VI. Thus far the Bulldogs' three wins have been over teams with losing records, and their two losses have come against teams with winning records. They've not played a team higher than Division V.