Harlem’s Brandt Hixson (4) and Jason Benson (3) celebrate a Hixson first half touchdown during the Huskies 33-18 win over visiting Belvidere North on Sept. 29

By Bob Balgemann
Winning five football games doesn’t guarantee a berth in the annual Illinois High School Association’s annual playoffs. But five wins is needed to become eligible and that’s what Harlem will be looking to do when it travels to Belvidere for a 7:15 p.m. game Friday.
The Huskies improved to 4-2 Sept. 29, propelled by big plays and their defense standing tall in the second half of a key 33-18 win over Belvidere North.
Belvidere (1-5) is struggling this season but the Bucs typically have been a formidable foe for Harlem.
Over the past 10 years the Huskies have won eight times, losing only by 21-14 in 2015 and 34-19 in 2007. Last year’s Harlem win was a nail-biter, 48-41. And there were other close ones, too, such as the 56-48 game in 2013 and the 35-28 victory in 2010.
2007 was a pivotal year in Boone County sports when a brand new high school, Belvidere North, opened its doors. Prior to that Belvidere, typically with enrollments of more than 2,000 students, had won a couple of state championships and was doing quite well against Harlem.
But even during those 10 years of sharing Boone’s student-athlete pool the Bucs have reached the playoffs six times, posting a 2-6 record. They fielded a strong team in the first year of the break, when they advanced to the quarter-finals of the state tournament.
Belvidere lost to Hononegah, 49-13, in its most recent outing this season. Its only victory was 43-40 over Jeffer-son in the fifth week of play.
King on his own
After four games of sharing quarterback duties with freshman James Cooper, senior Troy King faced flying solo when Cooper was injured

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