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LOUISVILLE — The John Hardin Bulldogs didn’t seem to mind playing in a steady rain Friday night once they got used to it.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs reeled off 16 unanswered points en route to a 16-7 victory over the Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park Panthers at Ed Young Stadium.
The Panthers managed 91 yards of offense the first quarter, including a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Junior Delvon Dunn capped the possession with a 4-yard scoring run to give them a 7-0 lead.
After a shaky start, the Bulldogs stifled Pleasure Ridge Park the rest of the game, only allowing 91 yards the final three quarters. The Panthers started four drives in John Hardin territory in the third quarter and had nothing to show for it.
John Hardin stopped them on downs once and forced a punt once. Another drive ended when senior defensive tackle Matt Elam forced a fumble and junior linebacker Maleek Moody recovered it. The Panthers tried a field goal, but botched the snap and junior cornerback C.J. Hill jumped on the loose ball.
The Bulldogs had six sacks – two each by Elam, senior tackle Koufax Stephens and senior end Marcus Goree – and stopped eight running plays behind the line of scrimmage.
With the defense putting the clamps on the Panthers, the Bulldogs did just enough offensively to pull out the win. They had 223 yards of offense – all of which came on the ground.
Trailing 7-0, the Bulldogs started on their own 20, and on third-and-6, senior Khalil Frazier ripped off a 54-yard run. Three plays later, he finished off the drive with a 6-yard run and senior Jacob Drexler added the point after to tie the game at 7 with 8:02 left before halftime.
Pleasure Ridge Park had a bad snap on a punt and Elam tackled Jesse Ellery on the Panther 5. The offense sputtered, but Drexler connected on a 23-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead with 5:33 remaining in the second quarter.
The game remained that way until the Bulldogs put the win away in the fourth quarter. On second-and-7, junior Josh Miller took a handoff going to his left, cut up field and bowled over the safety on his way to a 44-yard gain. Two plays later, Frazier scored from 3 yards out to stretch the lead to 16-7 with 6:15 remaining.
John Hardin’s defense did the rest, stopping the Panthers on downs once and finishing it off with two consecutive sacks to end the game.
Frazier finished with a season-high 118 yards on 12 carries. Miller also had a season-best, rushing for 62 yards on four attempts.
UP NEXT: John Hardin plays at Louisville Iroquois at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or email@example.com.