By Russ Green-Sports Editor
With the defense taking the ball away four times and the offense collecting 414 rushing yards, the Hardin-Central Bulldogs cruised into the top seed of district play by crushing the Pirates in Norborne 78-8.
With the top seed in District 4, the Bulldogs have a first-round bye and will play the winner of Friday night’s game between Chilhowee and Northwest Hughesville Nov. 8 at Lee Meador Field. Norborne finishes the regular season 3-5 and the No. 3 seed in the district. The Pirates will host 2-0 Lincoln Friday night.
The Dawgs quickly put three touchdowns on the board in the opening period with a 25-yard run by Rhyler Estenbaum and back-to-back scoring runs of 6 and 15 by Sean Utley. Evan Griggs ran the first 2-point conversion with Estenbaum scoring the next two for a 24-0 lead.
Estenbaum paced the running attack with 192 yards on 19 attempts and would score three more times before the night was through. The Bulldog sophomore also had a pair of interceptions to go along with a recovered onside kick attempt. Utley carried a dozen times for 125 yards and three visits to the end zone.
Norborne scored its lone touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Tristen McNelly to Jakob McCoy followed by the conversion run, but the Dawgs closed out the quarter with a 22-yard run by Estenbaum, and the conversion for a 32-8 cushion.