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Gridiron Knights open with powerhouse

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By Jesse Osbourne

The Marion County High School football team will open the season against one of the state's top teams.

Last season they tangled with Bell County, the 2008 Class AAAA state champion. The Bobcats lost in the 4A semifinals last season to eventual champion Boyle County.

This year the Knights play host to the John Hardin High School Bulldogs, last year's Class AAAAA runner-up and this year's number two-ranked team in that class.

The team's lock horns on Saturday at John J. Boswell Field at 8 p.m. for the Heart of Kentucky Pigskin Classic.

Bell County returns this season for the Pigskin Classic, facing off with Madison Central at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. They feature one of the state's elite players in senior running back and linebacker John Dudley Hilton.

John Hardin went 14-1 last season, averaging nearly 37 points a game along the way. They lost to state champion Fort Thomas Highlands in the Class 5A final.

Still a top tier team, these Bulldogs may be a rung lower than last season's squad.

"Defensively we lost eight starters, so we're not going to be as sharp being able to adjust," John Hardin coach Mark Brown said in the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise July 16. "We're going to have some good talent out there, and we are going to be pretty good by the middle of the season, but right off the bat we're not going to be able to adjust to things like we did last season."

According to The News-Enterprise, John Hardin graduated 23 seniors last season.

The Knights will have their work cut out for them as they have battled the heat in the preseason as well as faced replacing their own graduating class from last year.

Last year's class left as the winningest class in school history.

Marion County High School football Head Coach Jeff Robbins will join forces with 100.9 Mike FM on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for a football kick-off radio show that will be hosted from the Marion County High School Fitness Center.