South Warren held Central Hardin to just 19 total yards of offense in the first half, and the Spartans held on in the final 24 minutes for a 27-17 victory over the Bruins in Elizabethtown on Friday night.
The Spartans (4-0) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after senior kicker Alex Cohorn made back-to-back field goals of 27 yards and 32 yards, respectively, to propel South Warren to an early lead.
Central Hardin (2-2) cut the deficit in half with a 25-yard field goal by Garret Schall with 1:45 left in the first half.
However, the Spartans quickly answered the bell, junior quarterback Gavin Spurrier finding senior wide receiver Marcus Elmore in the end zone from 13 yards out to give South Warren a 13-3 lead at the intermission.
The Bruins struggled mightily on offense for most of the night, but one explosive play suddenly made the game interesting late in the third quarter.
Junior running back Josh Volentine ran it straight back through the middle and 70 yards into the end zone untouched to once again make it a one-possession game with 3:02 left in the third.
But Spurrier and the Spartans were not fazed.
South Warren found pay dirt on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 20-yard rushing touchdown for senior fullback Cody Eblen to make it a 10-point game once again.
The Spartans tacked on seven more on a 31-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Clayton Bush to make the score 27-10 with 9:12 left in regulation.
“It (the 70-yard touchdown run by Central Hardin) was a simple error by one guy just being undisciplined and they capitalized on it,” South Warren coach Brandon Smith said. “Good teams will take adversity and respond to it and our team did that. They came down to score the next two drives.
The execution and the penalties is killing us right now, but (scoring on back-to-back drives) is a sign of a good team when they can respond to adversity and score like that.”
Volentine found the end zone once again for the Bruins---this time on a 21-yard scamper---with 3:28 left to ultimately make the final score 27-17.
Spurrier completed 17-of-25 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.
Eblen and Elmore had four receptions and a touchdown apiece, the duo recording 54 and 42 receiving yards, respectively. Bush added 40 receiving yards and a touchdown on two receptions, and the junior has scored in every single game so far this season.
Tryce Cofer (Jackson) had another excellent game for the Spartans. Starting running back Christian Winn has missed the last two games due to an undisclosed injury, but Jackson has certainly filled his shoes and then some.
Jackson, the senior, rushed for 84 yards on 12 attempts, and also snagged an interception on the defensive side of the ball for the Spartans.
“Tryce did a really nice job,” Smith said. “He came in and made some big plays when he had the opportunity. Really proud of him. When he gets his opportunities in games he takes advantage of them and that’s all I can ask from him.”
Even though his team got the win, Coach Smith says there are still several things his team can work on.
“We did some good things (Friday night) but we have a lot more to fix than anything else,” Smith said.
The Spartans will look to stay undefeated on Friday night, playing host to Grayson County. Meanwhile, Central Hardin will look to snap its two-game skid at John Hardin on Friday night.