The Hardin-Central Bulldog defense stole the show and the football Friday night as they rolled over the Indians at Chilhowee 72-0. True, the Dawgs put up 336 rushing and 25 more passing yards, but the defense allowed just 117 yards of total offense, while taking the ball away five times on 3 interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries.
The victory gives Hardin-Central a 6-3 overall mark and a 3-0 record in District 1. With a playoff spot secure, the Bulldogs can win the district title outright and clinch a home field in the first round of the playoffs with a victory Thursday over Norborne.
The Hardin-Central defense surrendered just 88 rushing yards to the first-year Indians, and only 4 pass completions for 29 yards on 9 attempts.
“We played outstanding defense tonight,” Hardin-Central Coach Kirk Thacker said. “Our pass defense continues to get better and we held their running game in check. The boys were focused and excited about the game.”
Lukas Milligan led the defensive effort for the Bulldogs as the senior nose tackle recorded 20 stops, while Daniel Carpenter was in on a dozen tackles with a pair of interceptions. Chris Herring made 9 tackles including one quarterback sack, with Joe McMichen and Chris Wilson recovering one fumble each, and Patrick King picking off one pass.
While the defense was shutting down the 1-8 Indians, the Hardin-Central offense had everything in working order. Chris Wilson led the ground forces with 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns and four 2-point conversions on 19 carries. Patrick King ran the ball 11 times and gained 100 yards while finding the end zone four times, while completing half of his six pass attempts for another 25 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 7 2-point conversion passes. Jake Harris added 25 yards on 10 rushing attempts.
“Offensively, we played hard and executed to perfection,” Thacker said. “Chilhowee played hard the whole game and if not for the five turnovers, it would have been closer. They are a much improved team over the time from the jamboree to this game.”
Three Hardin-Central possessions in the first quarter resulted in three touchdowns – 2 by Wilson on runs of 1 and 34 yards, and one more by King on a 3-yarder. King also added a 10-yard scamper to begin the second period and then hit Mark Carpenter for a 19-yard strike. Joe McMichen ran for 6 of his 11 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, followed by Scott Spencer’s 1-yard plunge to give the Dawgs a 58-0 bulge at the half.
The Bulldogs added a 29-yard run from King in the third period, and capped the scoring with Grant Wheeler, who added 38 yards on 8 carries, reaching on a 1-yard run.