Hardin-Central scored on three straight second-period possessions to open up a 26-14 halftime lead as the Bulldogs picked up win No. 1 of the season Friday night with a 46-36 decision at Stewartsville.
After the Dawgs built their lead at the intermission, both teams traded scores throughout the second half as the Cardinals drop to 0-2 for the season.
Chris Wilson paced the Hardin-Central ground attack with 260 yards and scoring runs of 63, 11 and 1 in the second quarter, and then adding a 31-yarder to open the third period.
Quarterback Jake Harris completed half of his 8 pass attempts for 65 yards and a touchdown, while adding 50 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
“We played much better this week,” Bulldog Coach Kirk Thacker said. “We had some mistakes, but things are getting better. Everyone improved by leaps and bounds over the last week. The line blocked well and gave Chris some big holes to run through. Jake played well and we looked and played like a totally different team.”
Thacker added his team’s confidence level was high throughout the night.
Harris’ 4-yard run capped the Bulldogs’ opening possession that was set up by the first of two Tyler Snitker fumble recoveries.
The Cardinals countered with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to grab its first lead of the game, and then added another score, but missed the try for two to begin the second frame.
That would be the final lead of the game for Stewartsville as Wilson answered with his three second-period touchdowns.
Harris added a 1-yard sneak in the third quarter and then found Mark Carpenter for a 21-yard touchdown pass to wrap up the Hardin-Central scoring.
Carpenter caught a pair of passes for 41 yards, and Randy Estenbaum had a pair of receptions for 24 yards and gained 7 yards on a pair of rushing attempts as he returned to fullback. He also added 17 tackles and a sack on defense. Carpenter led the Bulldog tacklers with 19 stops, with Wilson in on 17 tackles as well.