- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Winning can often mask all kinds of deficiencies, while losing can really magnify the smallest of blemishes.
The John Hardin Bulldogs realized they needed to improve despite a season-opening win, but some of the same mistakes cost them two winning streaks Friday night.
The Louisville DeSales Colts took a 25-20 lead in the fourth quarter and then held on after the Bulldogs fumbled going in for the game-winning touchdown in the Swope Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram Bowl at Central Hardin.
John Hardin lost for the first time in 10 bowl games. It also lost during the regular season for the first time since a 27-21 setback to Louisville Doss on Oct. 24, 2008, a span of 43 consecutive wins.
“All we can do is step it up and get better,” John Hardin senior Koufax Stephens said. “This is a big loss. It hurts. They were better prepared and they were the better team. They outplayed us. They worked their butts off. We made too many mistakes. This is not us.”
Winning can often hide those errors or the Bulldogs make up for it with their talent, but they weren’t able to do that against DeSales.
Miscues proved costly for the Bulldogs, who turned the ball over four times and had senior Patrick Anderson’s 90-yard punt return for a touchdown negated by a penalty. It’s the second consecutive week they had a return called back.
“This can be a positive,” Anderson said. “We’re all upset right now. We should be. This is exactly what we needed. They’re a great football team. But we had a couple lapses that hurt us and our mistakes hurt us. We need to get better and this showed us that.”
While the mistakes drive a coach crazy, what first-year coach Chad Lewis was more upset about after the loss was the team’s lack of energy.
“I feel like we got outplayed,” Lewis said. “I can live with getting beat if we are giving maximum effort. Mistakes hurt us but I think it had to do more with our effort. It’s hard to turn the ball over four times and win a game. We told them it was going to be a dog fight. They found out the hard way. We have to give 100 percent effort everyday in practice. Our backs are against the wall now.”
After the Colts failed to score on their previous possession, missing an 18-yard field goal, they didn’t waste their next opportunity. The Colts drove 38 yards on five plays with senior Dylan Byrd scoring on a 4-yard run. The conversion pass failed, but they still led 25-20 with 8:04 remaining.
The teams traded punts with John Hardin getting the ball back on its own 22 with 1:59 remaining. Anderson completed two passes to senior Zack Wagner for 23 yards and a 10-yarder to senior Dimitri Cooper.
On third-and-15 from the Bulldog 45, Anderson hooked up with senior Khalil Frazier for a 32-yard gain. After two incompletions, he found Cooper along the sideline, but he fumbled near the end zone when he was tackled. It appeared one official pointed to ground to signal the ground caused the fumble. DeSales recovered in the end zone to secure the win.
“We talked about the penalties and mental mistakes last week,” Lewis said. “We made the same silly mistakes as last week. We have to cut down on those things, so we can start getting better.”
John Hardin totaled 407 yards of offense, 91 more than the Colts. Anderson completed 7-of-18 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown. Cooper had three receptions for 93 yards.
The Colts turned a John Hardin fumble — following the penalty on Anderson’s punt return — into a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead, but the Bulldogs answered when Anderson found Cooper for a 63-yard scoring strike to tie the score at 7.
“It’s the second game we have a return called back,” Anderson said. “That’s the difference in the game. If we score there, the game could have been different. We would have had the momentum. But we just have to learn from this and get better.”
DeSales built a 16-7 lead when Roush hooked up with junior Logan McDonough for a 56-yard touchdown, and after another Bulldog fumble, senior Casey Axman made a 31-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to 16-14 on senior Daquan Deville’s 1-yard scoring run with 1:30 left before halftime, and then took their first lead on their first possession of the second half, when junior Elijah Smith raced 65 yards.
Axman connected on a 36-yard field goal to slice the lead to 20-19 with 5:31 left in the third quarter, setting the stage for an exciting finish.
UP NEXT: John Hardin hosts Meade County at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Chuck Jonescan be reached at 270-505-1759 or email@example.com.
JOHN HARDIN 20
DeSales 7 9 3 6—25
John Hardin 7 7 6 0—20
D: Bryant Pirtle 10-yard run (Cameron Brothers kick), 6:19
JH: Dimitri Cooper 63-yard pass from Patrick Anderson (Jacob Drexler kick), :41.2
D: Logan McDonough 56-yard pass from Nathan Roush (kick failed), 10:33
D: Casey Axman 31-yard field goal, 8:31
JH: Daquan Deville 1-yard run (Drexler kick), 1:30
JH: Elijah Smith 65-yard run (kick failed), 9:05
D: Axman 36-yard field goal, 5:31
D: Dylan Byrd 4-yard run (pass failed), 8:04
Yards Rush 204 245
Yards Pass 112 162
Total Yards 316 407
Passing 7-13-0 7-18-1
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 4/3
Penalties/Yds 5/34 6/36
Rushing: DESALES — Dylan Byrd 19-87, Nathan Roush 15-77, Bryant Pirtle 3-25, Justin Gardner 3-8, Frankie Tharp 5-7. JOHN HARDIN — Elijah Smith 7-89, Daquan Deville 12-67, Josh Miller 7-55, Khalil Frazier 5-28, C.J. Hill 1-5, Patrick Anderson 1-1.
Passing: DESALES — Nathan Roush 7-13-0, 112 yards. JOHN HARDIN — Patrick Anderson 7-18-1, 162 yards.
Receiving: DESALES — Dylan Byrd 2-3, Logan McDonough 1-56, Austin Hunt 1-19, Frankie Tharp 1-12, Justin Gardner 1-12, Matt Ruxer 1-10. JOHN HARDIN — Dimitri Cooper 3-93, Zack Wagner 2-23, Khalil Frazier 1-32, Josh Miller 1-14.