H-C shakes off slow start, rolls past Northwest Hughesville

By Shawn Roney-For The Richmond News

Having a bye week before facing Northwest of Hughesville was a double-edged sword for Hardin-Central, according to junior quarterback and defensive back Sean Utley.

On the one hand, the Bulldogs got to rest before Friday night’s eight-man football matchup at Lee Meador Field, Utley said. However, it “really kind of messed with our mindset” because it took the team out of its game-per-week routine, he admitted.

Early in Hardin-Central’s 68-22 Class 1 District 4 semifinal victory, Hardin-Central coach Kirk Thacker noticed the Bulldogs “had a little (case of the) jitters from not having played last week.” But then, they “settled down,” he said.

“It just took us a little bit longer than what we (had) thought to get back into it,” Thacker commented. “But our offense rolled well tonight.”

The Bulldogs rolled off 379 yards of total offense, including 374 yards rushing on 50 carries. They also scored on nine of their 11 first-half possessions, starting with their first one – a three-play, 50-yard march capped by Utley’s 23-yard TD run and Evan Griggs’ two-point conversion run with 10:56 left in the first quarter.

Thacker said he was concerned “a little bit” when the Mustangs tied it on their next possession with Corlten Austin’s 1-yard TD run and Garren Powell’s two-point run. No doubt, the Bulldogs eased his mind by exploding for 60 points to lead 68-8 at halftime, including 24 more first-quarter points. Rhyler Estenbaum ripped off a 29-yard TD run and Utley added a two-point run with 8:28 remaining.

The complete story is in the Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 Richmond News.

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