Bulldogs tune up for district play

The Hardin-Central Bulldogs battled the elements and the Braymer junior varsity Thursday night as they tuned up for district competition that begins this week. The Bulldogs slugged out a 22-14 victory over a solid Bobcat squad despite giving the ball away on 3 fumbles and a pair of interceptions.
“The Braymer JV would make a very tough 8-man squad,” Bulldog Coach Kirk Thacker said. “They played and hit us very hard. We had our chances to put them away early, but had several turnovers. We had some trouble with the footing on the wet field and really didn’t get our running game going like we planned.”
The Bulldogs had to find a replacement game because Heartland dropped its 8-man program.
“We want to thank Braymer for playing us and not forcing us to sit out a week before district,” Thacker said.
The first two Hardin-Central possessions of the night ended in turnovers and after a scoreless opening period by both teams, the Bulldogs were able to break out on top first.
Chris Wilson, who ended the night with 70 yards on 18 carries, got the Dawgs on the board with a 3-yard run six plays into the second quarter. Jake Harris found Randy Estenbaum for the conversion and an 8-0 Hardin-Central lead.
The Bobcats answered on their next possession with Cody Goodrich scoring on a 4-yard run, but the conversion failed. It took just four plays for Hardin-Central to pay another visit to the end zone with Harris hooking up with Wilson on a 16-yard touchdown pass just before intermission. The try for two failed, but the Bulldogs took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
Wilson’s third touchdown of the night, an 18-yard run, was the only scoring in the third quarter. Estenbaum added the conversion run for a 22-6 Bulldog lead.
The final score of the night came with Goodrich finding the end zone again for Braymer on a one-yard plunge. The pass for 2 points was complete to make the final count 22-14.
“I was very happy with our effort and play,” Thacker said. “The boys played hard and tackled much better than last week.”
Braymer ended the night with 106 rushing yards with Goodrich passing for 113 more as he completed 11 of 17 attempts. Jesse Utt had 6 receptions for 73 yards.
Wilson had a pair of receptions for Hardin-Central for 20 yards as Harris completed 6 of his 10 passes for 89 yards. Mark Carpenter had 3 catches for 66 yards. Estenbaum ran 7 times for 30 yards for the Dawgs, while Harris added 61 yards on 15 attempts.
Carpenter led the tackle chart with 17 stops and an interception. Estenbaum had 9 tackles and a sack with Mike Boydston making the other Bulldog sack for the night.

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