BOYS' PREP BOWLING: John Hardin heading back to State (01/30)

-A A +A
By Nathaniel Bryan

The John Hardin Bulldogs boys’ bowling team made history and earned the respect of the region’s top team during Tuesday’s 2nd Region team tournament at Dix-E-Town Lanes.

John Hardin became the first area team to earn a repeat state tournament trip by placing second to Taylor County for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs showed they quickly have closed the gap on Taylor County, playing the Cardinals in the seeding qualifier within 43 pins (1,152-1,109).

Once the tournament started, the second-seeded Bulldogs rode their momentum and crushed seventh-seeded Nelson County (725) in the quarterfinal, 3-0 (219-106, 188-141, 183-171). That set them up with upstart Green County (944) after the sixth-seeded Dragons stunned third-seeded Thomas Nelson (971) in their quarterfinal, 3-1 (168-155, 165-135, 152-164, 136-134).

The Dragons were just as plucky against John Hardin as they were against the Generals, but John Hardin eventually emerged, 3-2 (183-201, 185-134, 139-201, 155-111, 192-150).

“They were really good and it came down to the wire with them,” said John Hardin sophomore Aaron Gunter, who was the youngest member of the Bulldogs’ State team last year. “I never think I had to work so hard for something as I did in that match.”

John Hardin coach Mike Moritz admitted Green County, which had three girls bowling for it to fill its numbers, made the Bulldogs anxious.

“Green was a slugfest and I was really impressed by them,” Moritz said. “I guess we were fortunate to have played them when did, because we saw them in the second or third week of the season and just dominated them. This time, we needed to fight to get everything we needed to win.”

While John Hardin was slugging it out in the bottom bracket, Taylor County was in a groove in the top bracket. After receiving a quarterfinal bye, the top-seeded Cardinals cruised to a 3-0 win (230-166, 217-212, 213-182) over fourth-seeded North Hardin (966) in their semifinal. North Hardin advanced with a 3-1 win (157-177, 188-149, 175-145, 208-160) over fifth-seeded Central Hardin (957) in their quarterfinal.

Taylor County’s groove quickly came to a halt and the Cardinals found themselves winless through two games against the Bulldogs.

“We never gave up. We knew we had to stay in it. We just had to take it one frame at a time and one ball at a time,” said Taylor County freshman anchor McKinley Knopp. “We knew it wasn’t just going to be handed to us. We had to work for it and it’s a blessing to be able to bowl with all of these guys.”

With eight of their previous 10 games being 183 or higher, the Bulldogs came crashing down against Cardinals as Taylor County rallied for a 3½-1½ win (179-191, 178-178, 200-143, 164-124, 189-165).

But the Bulldogs had done enough to gain Knopp’s respect as he congratulated and hugged most of them after the trophy presentations.

“I told them that we’d see each other again at State,” Knopp said. “It was a pleasure bowling against them.”

Moritz said the growth the Bulldogs showed in last year’s postseason helped them this year, and should keep them calm next week.

“The gains we made from last year to this year are huge,” he said. “They will be an asset for us going back to State.”

Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com






ELIZABETHTOWN Team results from Tuesday’s seven-school 2nd Region Bowling Tournament on the top-hat oil pattern at Dix-E-Town Lanes:


1. Taylor County                     557-595—1,152

Landon Shively, 182              Givin Shirley, 221

Alex Tungate, 192            x-Michael Lyons, 135

Winston Cook, 183                Tanner Ford, 173

x-Matthew Hedgespeth, 158McKinley Knopp, 201

2. John Hardin                       532-577—1,109

Aaron Gunter, 144                Daniel Miller, 215

x-Ryan Ray, 141          Steven Ray Vittitoe, 158

Alex Humes, 174            Brandon Shugan, 204

Lucas Ward, 214             x-Sean Diezman, 129

3. Thomas Nelson                     490-481—971

Vince Metcalfe, 156          x-Easton Culver, 141

Brett Dones, 152                    Ryan Bray, 163

Derek Roby, 182               Nathan Hagan, 157

x-Ben Watkins, 118               Kyle Rogers, 161

4. North Hardin                         483-483—966

Andrew Shufelt, 168           Kahala Glover, 177

X-Not Available, 105                   Kevin Ho, 154

Braden Price, 149              X-Not Available, 116

Kawika Glover, 166               Aaron Davis, 152

5. Central Hardin                       504-453—957

Andrew Schmit, 144             Zach Bergner, 147

x-Alec Burgess, 124           Zach Epperson, 183

Seth Oberdorf, 153     x-Brandon Crabtree, 114

Chris Bates, 207                 Corbin Laslie, 123

6. Green County                        526-418—944

Blake Brandenburg, 167   Disnee Shuffett, 134

Michael Matney, 162        x-Vernon Williams, 93

Johnny Walker, 197          Ceyley Cowherd, 115

x-Empty, 0                      Natasha Walker, 169

7. Nelson County                      408-317—725

Cody Unseld, 135                 Alec Midgett, 100

Chris Linton, 111                 x-T.J. Weakley, 83

x-Aaron Brown, 98                    Dana Fryer, 92

Dalton Berry, 162               Aaron Gamper, 125



No. 1 Taylor County received a bye

No. 4 North Hardin def. No. 5 Central Hardin, 3-1 (157-177, 188-149, 175-145, 208-160)

No. 6 Green County def. No. 3 Thomas Nelson, 3-1 (168-155, 165-135, 152-164, 136-134)

No. 2 John Hardin def. No. 7 Nelson County, 3-0 (219-106, 188-141, 183-171)


No. 1 Taylor County def. No. 4 North Hardin, 3-0 (230-166, 217-212, 213-182)

No. 2 John Hardin def. No. 6 Green County, 3-2 (183-201, 185-134, 139-201, 155-111, 192-150)


No. 1 Taylor County def. No. 2 John Hardin, 3½-1½  (179-191, 178-178,. 200-143, 164-124, 189-165)