Cyclones face seasoned Denison squad in opener

Monarchs return seven starters on offense, eight on D; HCHS looks to counter D-S size with quickness

 DENISON (Aug. 30) -- When Todd Bladt gives his first pre-game speech as a head football coach tonight, there’s a good chance it will incorporate several elements he’s heard many times in his life.
 “Let’s hope so,” he said with a laugh. “They’ve seemed to work!”
 For the last 41 years, those effective locker room talks have been given by legendary head coach Curt Bladt, who directed the Harlan Community Cyclones to a 415-63 record during that time frame, 11 state titles and eight runner-up trophies.
 Following an off-season in which he battled numerous health issues, including bone cancer and open heart surgery, Curt Bladt will serve as the Cyclones’ honorary head coach this fall. Todd Bladt, the youngest of Curt’s three sons, has been designated interim head coach as he begins his 12th year on the HCHS staff. The Cyclones open the 2019 season Friday night at Denison-Schleswig.
 “It will definitely be a different hat that I’m going to be putting on, but... things change,” Todd Bladt said. “That’s kind of how the world works and that’s how football works too. It’s not immune to it.”
 Bladt said this week hasn’t felt that much different than previous Week 1 preps other than the fact he does more talking now. “Preparation-wise, we work well as a staff,” he said. “I’m confident in (all of our assistant coaches)... and as you know, Coach Bladt is always willing to throw his two cents in very vocally and with force.”
 As for the game itself, the Cyclones (8-3 last year) will be facing a Monarch team that returns at least seven starters on both sides of the ball from a 2018 squad that finished 5-4 overall. Many of those returning players man the skill positions.
 HCHS won last year’s matchup 49-7, but a much tougher battle is expected this time around.
 “I know they’re going to be pretty salty at QB, tailback... they’ve got a couple of cats that can run down the field and catch, and then defensively they’re going to fly around,” Todd Bladt said.
 One of the battles to watch Friday night will be Denison’s hefty offensive line, including three players between 270 and 280 pounds, against the quickness (and somewhat small size) of the Cyclones’ defensive front. With some help from a potentially strong group of linebackers, Bladt is confident Harlan’s D-line is ready for the challenge.

HCHS (0-0) at Denison-Schleswig (0-0) • Friday, August 30 • 7:00 p.m.

Series History
HCHS leads all-time, 58-33-4.
at Harlan: HCHS leads, 32-15-1; at Denison: HCHS leads, 26-18-3.
Playoffs: HCHS leads, 7-0.
HCHS has won 25 of the last 28.

Last Five Meetings
2014: HCHS 45, D-S 14 (at Harlan)
2015: HCHS 44, D-S 7 (at Denison)
2016: HCHS 35, D-S 34 (at Denison)
2017: HCHS 56, D-S 14 (at Harlan)
2018: HCHS 49, D-S 7 (at Harlan)

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