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The John Hardin Bulldogs made short work of the Bullitt Central Cougars in the first round of the Class 5-A playoffs Friday night.
The top-seeded Bulldogs built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and it swelled to 43-0 by halftime as they cruised to a 43-14 victory, their ninth consecutive in the first round at Bulldog Stadium.
John Hardin (9-2) advances to host second-seeded Shelby County (6-4) next Friday. The Rockets knocked off Jeffersontown, 21-14 on Friday. The last time John Hardin faced Shelby County, it won, 63-13 in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
The Bulldogs rushed for 243 yards, their lowest total since gaining 226 against Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park. But then again, they didn’t have the opportunity to get more with the defense giving them short fields to work with and the starting offense was finished after the first half.
John Hardin was efficient on offense scoring on five of its first six possessions and the special teams chipped in as well. Senior Lavonte Wilson blocked a punt and then returned it 23 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Junior halfback Elijah Smith led the attack with 61 yards and one touchdown on two carries. Senior halfback Khalil Frazier added 57 yards and a score on four attempts, while senior quarterback Patrick Anderson had 56 yards on two tries.
Junior halfback Josh Miller scored twice in a 29-point outburst in the second quarter. He caught a 4-yard touchdown from Anderson and had a 9-yard scoring run with 46.7 seconds left before halftime.
John Hardin’s defense turned in another typical performance. The Cougars managed only 10 yards on their first seven possessions and they didn’t get a first down until the final play of the third quarter. Junior C.J. Hill and sophomore Thomas Lloyd each had an interception.
Junior Trevor Carnell, who came in with more than 2,000 yards, was held to 6 yards on eight carries — all in the first half. Junior Zack Patton finished with 99 yards on eight attempts, with 85 coming in the final quarter.
Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.