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The John Hardin Bulldogs are back in a familiar position – playing for the Class 5-A, Region 2 championship.
The top-seeded Bulldogs downed the third-seeded Grayson County Cougars, 33-3 on Friday at Bulldog Stadium in the second round of the playoffs to advance to the state quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time in the last eight years.
John Hardin (12-0) faces Jeffersontown (8-4) in the Region 2 championship for the second straight year. Jeffersontown knocked off District 4 champion Shelby County, 42-33 on Friday. The Bulldogs have won all four meetings with the Chargers, including a 34-8 victory on Oct. 5.
Junior quarterback Patrick Anderson completed 9-of-17 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
Senior Dorian Collins caught five passes for 148 yards, which bested his previous best of 146 and ranks fourth in the program’s history. It was his fifth 100-yard game and he became the first John Hardin wideout to top 1,000 yards in a season.
The Bulldogs limited Grayson County to 217 yards of offense. Seniors Dalton Logsdon and Dustin Crain, both of which rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season, combined for only 88 yards on 34 carries.
John Hardin forced four turnovers, including two in the first 3 minutes which the Bulldogs turned into touchdowns. Senior Wade Holtsclaw broke loose for a 34-yard scoring run and Anderson hooked up with senior Brandon Singleton for a 20-yard touchdown to stake the Bulldogs to a 14-0 lead with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
Senior fullback Garrett Ray scored from 2 yards out to stretch the lead to 20-0 before senior Michael Thomas kicked a 39-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to cut the lead to 20-3.
Anderson hit Collins in stride for an 84-yard touchdown in the third quarter and senior Jalen Fleming scored on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Grayson County finished the season 9-3, the same record the Cougars had two years ago. The nine wins in a season are the most for the program in the last 23 years.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.