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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
After keeping Southwest’s Ethan Crowe in check during Hardin-Central’s 34-18 win over the Wildcats earlier in the season, the thundering junior running back was too much for the Bulldogs Friday night as Southwest rolled to a 50-8 victory over the Dawgs in the District 4 championship game.
Crowe pounded his way for 227 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns to push the 9-2 Wildcats into Friday night’s 8-man semifinal at home against unbeaten North Andrew. Hardin-Central ends the season with an 8-4 record. Although disappointed at Friday’s results in Ludlow, coach Kirk Thacker was proud of how his Bulldogs battled back from a 3-3 mark to win five of their last six games.
“It looked like for a while, we weren’t going to have a very good season and eight wins is nothing to sneeze at,” he said. “My seniors the last two years have gone 18-4 and I’m very proud of what they’ve done. It just wasn’t our game and wasn’t our time.”
Friday night was all Southwest as the Wildcats controlled both lines of scrimmage. Hardin-Central never got the running game untracked and was held to 157 yards on the ground and another 40 through the air. The Bulldog offense did not pick up its first first down of the game until 4:43 remained in the first half. While Hardin-Central struggled to move the chains, Southwest came up with the big play when it was needed. The Wildcats converted four of six third-down situations and were two for two on fourth-down plays.
“We just couldn’t get it done when it came down to third and fourth down,” Thacker said. “Our offensive line didn’t block very well tonight, and Southwest just pinned their ears back tonight and got after it and just really handed it to us.”