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PREP FOOTBALL: Doss upsets John Hardin (10/26)

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By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES

cjones@thenewsenterprise.com

LOUISVILLE — John Hardin’s 22-game regular season winning streak came to an end Friday night.

And so did the Bulldogs’ hopes of winning a fourth consecutive district championship.

The Louisville Doss Dragons handed the Bulldogs a 27-21 loss to win the regular season Class 5-A, District 3 championship at Hayward Shartzer Stadium.

“It’s hard going undefeated two times,” said John Hardin senior running back Elias Camper, who rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. “We didn’t want to lose and we definitely didn’t want to lose the district championship. But like our shirts say, our goal is to play 15. It’s play 15, not win 15.”

That’s what the Bulldogs focused on after a bitter defeat, their first regular season loss since falling at Owensboro Apollo, 18-13 on Sept. 15, 2006. The Bulldogs started last season 12-0 before losing to Bowling Green, 27-23 in the Class 5-A quarterfinals.

“We have to keep our heads on straight and do what we’ve got to do,” John Hardin senior defensive back Cameron Parker said. “It’s tough. Nobody wants to point fingers. Everyone is just sulking right now. We just have to come back ready to work next week. We still have the same goals.”

Being the second seed in District 3, the Bulldogs, who were ranked second in the latest Associated Press Class 5-A poll, will host Grant County (6-3), which finished third in District 4, in the first round of the playoffs.

John Hardin (7-1 overall, 2-1 in district) didn’t look like the same team that reeled off that long winning streak. The offense only produced 320 yards and junior quarterback Alex Dingle had his worst outing, throwing two interceptions – matching his season total.

“We really never got the job done,” Camper said. “We’ve got to step it up and make plays.”

The defense, which allowed 338 yards, came up with its share of crucial stops and two of the Dragons’ scoring drives were less than 30 yards, but the Bulldogs allowed Doss to control the ball for long stretches of time.

“We were not doing our part at first,” John Hardin senior defensive back Orlando Mouncil said. “We have to come back and keep practicing hard and be ready to play hard next week.”

John Hardin’s special teams couldn’t be described as special. The Bulldogs allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown and a 73-yard return, which set up another score. They also had a punt blocked and missed a chance for a big play on a fake punt.

“We made too many mistakes and it started with me,” John Hardin coach Mark Brown said. “We made so many mistakes on special teams. We didn’t do a very good job on anything really. We didn’t tackle well. We had our opportunities, but didn’t take advantage of them. We don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.”

John Hardin played without big-play wideout Tim Marcum, its leading receiver, who sat out due to mononucleosis. Marcum, a senior, has 27 catches for 522 yards and eight touchdowns.

“I’m sure it hurts, but we got capable receivers,” Brown said.

The Dragons (6-2) seized control midway in the second quarter on touchdown runs of 2 and 6 yards by senior Jaquan Persley to build a 14-0 lead after wasting two early opportunities. They fumbled inside the red zone once and had a field goal blocked.

The Bulldogs answered on their next possession with Camper racing 36 yards untouched for a touchdown. Junior Alan Harber added the point after to slice the lead to 14-7 with 5:11 remaining before halftime.

John Hardin’s momentum was short lived as senior Maalik Dalton returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to stake Doss to a 20-7 halftime lead.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Doss senior Rayshaw Colbert had a 73-yard return and senior quarterback Demitric Unseld scored from 14 yards out on the first play from scrimmage to stretch the lead to 27-7.

Following a 21-yard kickoff return by sophomore Landon Savoy, Camper broke through the line, cut to his left and bolted for a 56-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 27-14 with 11:24 left.

The Bulldogs pulled within 27-21 less than 4 minutes into the fourth quarter when Savoy, who had 66 yards on six attempts, scampered 52 yards for a touchdown and Harber tacked on the extra point.

John Hardin’s defense gave its offense two chances in the final 5:24 stopping Doss on downs once and forcing a fumble on the other drive. But the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of it, going three-and-out once and turning the ball over on downs after reaching Doss territory.

UP NEXT: John Hardin plays host to Nelson County (4-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759

LOUISVILLE DOSS 27

JOHN HARDIN 21

John Hardin  0 7 7 7—21

Louisville Doss 0 20 7 13—27

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter

D: Jaquan Persley 2-yard run (pass failed), 10:11

D: Persley 6-yard run (Demitric Unseld run), 6:57

JH: Elias Camper 36-yard run (Alan Harber kick), 5:11

D: Maalik Dalton 68-yard kickoff return (kick failed), 4:58

Third Quarter

D: Unseld 14-yard run (Cory Cade kick), 11:41

JH: Camper 56-yard run (Harber kick), 11:24

Fourth Quarter

JH: Savoy 52-yard run (Harber kick), 8:49

Team Statistics

 JH D

Yards Rush  236 197

Yards Pass 84 141

Total Yards 320 338

Passing  7-20-2 8-18-0

Fumbles/Lost  2/0  2/2

Penalties/Yds 6/45 12/104

Individual Statistics

Rushing: JOHN HARDIN — Elias Camper 13-149, Landon Savoy 6-66, Orlando Mouncil 2-19, David Morehead 6-11, Alex Dingle 3-(-9). LOUISVILLE DOSS — Jaquan Persley 23-107, Demitric Unseld 18-70, Tyrone Mack 6-20.

Passing: JOHN HARDIN — Alex Dingle 7-20-2, 84 yards. LOUISVILLE DOSS — Demitric Unseld 8-18-0, 141 yards.

Receiving: JOHN HARDIN — Chris White 3-43, Sherrod Moore 2-26, Landon Savoy 1-13, Elias Camper 1-2. LOUISVILLE DOSS — Rayshaw Colbert 5-68, Mike Johns 3-73.