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LaRue County dropped its homecoming game to the fifth-ranked Central Hardin Bruins 51-41 Friday.
Even though the Hawks were disappointed, Coach Rodney Armes saw promise that may carry through to the district games that start next week.
“I was real pleased that our guys didn’t give up,” Armes said. “We were down 24-7 at one point and they could have, but they didn’t.”
The Hawks had the lead only once in the game 7-0 on a Ryan Wafford seven-yard run.
The Hawks, led in rushing by Alex Lee with a season high 213 yards, were down 17-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks dug in and scored twice in the second quarter, once on a Drew Newberry 14-yard run, and the second on a 55-yard pass strike from Jordan Brewer to Alex Lee for a 31-21 halftime deficit.
“Playing Central Hardin as close as we did and having a chance to win, helps us get ready for district play,” Armes said. “But we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times on turnovers lost and our third and long defense.”
The Hawks’ defense had the Bruins’ backs against the wall in different play situations of third and long but couldn’t contain Bruins’ quarterback Dylan Beger, who threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hawks pulled within three points in the third quarter, 38-35, with Wafford plunging in a two-yard run and Newberry outrunning the Bruins’ secondary for a 55-yard strike.
With the homecoming crowd louder than the referee’s whistles, the Hawks’ tasted the chance of upsetting 6A powerhouse Central Hardin and the fourth quarter was set for a showdown.
The Bruins struck first, scoring with a failed extra point attempt 44-35.
On the pursuing kickoff, the Hawks’ Shaquille Cox returned the ball to the 22-yard line to start the Hawks’ drive.
With 8:17 on the clock, LaRue marched and was facing a fourth down and seven yards-to-go when Armes called a timeout.
LaRue’s Jordan Brewer went under center and found Christian Mullins near the sideline for a toe-touch pass completion for a first down.
LaRue’s offense made it to the 28-yard line where they faced another fourth and yards situation. This time, Central Hardin called the timeout with 6:10 left in the game.
Out of the timeout, Newberry plunged for three yards and the first down to the 25-yard line of the Bruins.
Brewer took the snap and rocketed past the Bruins defensive secondary for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point failed and the Hawks trailed the Bruins 44-41.
With 5:43 left in the game, the Hawks mounted several defensive efforts to stop the Bruins but had a hard time holding the pass attack on third down conversion attempts. The Bruins scored their last touchdown with 28 seconds left in regulation.
Next week, the Hawks will face the Eagles from North Bullitt. The Eagles play a spread offense similar to the Bruins but with fewer players.
“They like to throw, but they like to run more,” Armes said, “but if we can solve some of our mistakes and stop somebody on third and long, we should be ready.”
Newberry had a superb night in rushing carrying the ball 20 times for 163 yards. Brewer carried the ball six times for 63 yards and was three for six in passing for 70 yards.
Both Newberry and Lee averaged more than eight yards per carry and Brewer averaged 10 yards.