In two playoff games this season, Bowling Green went unchallenged in victories over Grayson County and Warren Central. That was not the case, however, Friday night in Elizabethtown.
John Hardin pushed the Purples to the brink of elimination before a 21-yard touchdown pass from Trent Steelman to Tevin Barksdale sealed the 27-23 win for Bowling Green. The Purples (12-1) now advance to the KHSAA Class 5A Gridiron Bowl semifinals where they face the Red Devils of Owensboro.
Tied at 7-7 early in the second quarter, Lavance Anderson scored on a four-yard touchdown, putting the Purples on top 14-7. The Bulldogs responded on the ensuing kickoff with a 96-yard kickoff return by Elias Camper. Both teams scored again in the quarter, making it 21-21 at halftime.
The second half played out much different than the first. Bowling Green and John Hardin struggled to score the final 30 minutes of the game. The score remained 21-21 until the fourth quarter when Purples' quarterback Trent Steelman was sacked in the endzone by Matt Linton for a safety, giving the Bulldogs the 23-21 advantage.
The Bulldogs regained possession later in the quarter with a chance to put the game away, inside the Purples' 20-yard line. But a Bowling Green fumble recovery gave the Purples new life and led to their game-winning touchdown.
The Purples travel to Owensboro next week while the Bulldogs finish the season 12-1.