AJ Pepin and Austin Kutz played a pivotal role as Hartford edged Pulaski in a close 35-28 encounter in Level Three playoff action on Friday night.
“Our quarterback and running back did a great job at managing the game,” Hartford head coach John Redders said. “Controlling the line of scrimmage was the biggest thing for us, what we are doing is working and we are just going to try to get better at that every week.”
Pulaski drew first blood with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter with a 14-yard rushing touchdown from Aaron Maroszek to grab a 7-0 lead. Austin Kutz and A.J. Pepin provided the equalizer with a 17-yard touchdown connection to tie the game with four seconds left in the quarter.
Pepin and Kutz continued to play a big role in the first half as Pepin added on a rushing touchdown before Kutz threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Bly Bielmaier to grab a 21-7 halftime lead. Pepin and Kutz added rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to push the lead to 35-7.
“We really took command of the game. We got a little conservative and a little soft, and some of the guys thought it was just going to magically happen,” Redders said. “We were very confident in our plan.”
With 43 seconds left in the third, Pulaski started their comeback with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Maverick Cole to Jacob Doxtater. Maroszek added on two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter before the comeback came up short.
Pepin led the way for Hartford with 115 yards rushing on 33 carries, while Kutz had 74 yards passing in the win.
Hartford advances to Level Four action with the win, and will take on Waunakee on Friday night.
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