Purples, Spartans each dominate Rafferty’s Bowl to open season

Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 11:35 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - A pair of 5A rivals showed out in the Rafferty’s Bowl on Saturday as Bowling Green and South Warren each open the season 1-0.

The defending 5A state champion Spartans opened up the evening with a punch mouth 49-14 win over the Highlands Bluebirds inside Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium in front of a packed crowd and student section. Bowling Green defeated 6A powerhouse North Hardin shortly thereafter, 23-14.

South Warren dominated from start to finish, taking a 36-0 lead into halftime thanks to a mix of rushing, passing and even defensive touchdowns. K.J. Hardesty scooped and scored a fumble for a touchdown return while Preston Burns took home a pick-six all in the first half alone. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Button made his debut as the Spartans’ quarterback.

As for the encore, the Purples kept pace with the Trojans through the third quarter. Both teams traded a pair of blows until Bowling Green running back Javen Huddleston went off for a pair of rushing touchdowns, including a 40-yard sweep and score to give the Purples the lead for good in the third quarter.

Purples’ quarterback Deuce Bailey connected with wide receiver Easton Barlow for a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter as well for good measure.

Bowling Green hosts McCracken County next Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. for its home opener while South Warren heads to Hendersonville (TN) at that same exact time to seek revenge for their only loss last season.