For the first time since it won a state title in 2013, Scott County will have the opportunity to get back to Bowling Green. The Cardinals, ranked third in Class 6A, staved off No. 2 Ryle, 42-40.
It was the eighth straight win for Scott County, which handed Ryle its first loss of the season. Despite giving up 40 points, the Cards’ defense twice rose to the challenge when it mattered most in the waning seconds.
Ryle quarterback Tanner Morgan, a Western Michigan commit, hit Stefan Clarkson for a 21-yard touchdown to pull within 42-40. Morgan connected with Jake Chisolm on a two-point pass attempt but multiple Cardinals converged to force a fumble, recovered by Ki-Juan Christopher at the 1-yard line.
The Raiders proceeded to kick off and recover their second onside kick of the game. Morgan completed a 5-yard route to Bryce Ashley, who scurried out of bounds to kill the clock with 23 seconds left. On the next play, Morgan escaped a sack and threw a pass intended for Easton Pilyer in the end zone. Scott County sophomore Glenn Covington read the route, stayed in front of the play and pulled down the game-clinching interception within feet of where Christopher recovered the fumble seconds before.
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The outcome set up a Scott County rematch with Lafayette, which ousted the Cards in last year’s regional finals. Lafayette was awarded a 1-0 forfeit win over Scott County by the KHSAA earlier this season; the Cardinals led 25-20 in the third quarter before play was suspended due to inclement weather. The Generals defeated Simon Kenton 63-41 on Friday night.
Colby McKee, Coach Jim McKee’s son, played for the Cardinals’ freshman team when Scott County won its only state title. Now a senior with Division I offers (Austin Peay, Eastern Michigan, Tennessee Tech), the offensive lineman is thrilled that his class has gone the farthest it’s ever gone. And they’re eager to face off against their post-Thanksgiving opponent.
“There’s plenty of emotion running,” McKee said. “I heard Lafayette won, so that makes it that much better.”
Lafayette 63, Simon Kenton 41: University of Kentucky commit Walker Wood rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 216 yards and three more scores, bringing his season total to 52 touchdowns, 26 each on the ground and through the air. Quinten Brown grabbed eight balls for 137 yards and two TDs while Cameron Morgan rushed 32 times for 250 yards and two scores.
St. Xavier 31, Male 21: Once mainstays in the state semifinals, the Tigers are back for the first time since 2009, the same year they won their last state title.
Trinity 63, Ballard 20: The Shamrocks lost a five-game streak of keeping opponents scoreless and trailed Ballard briefly before winning their 11th game by double digits this season.
Central 30, Lexington Catholic 7: After taking a 7-0 lead just a couple of minutes into the contest, Lexington Catholic couldn’t score again against the Yellow Jackets. Central quarterback James Simpson went 11-for-21 for 230 yards and two TDs. Central will host Elizabethtown next week.
Elizabethtown 35, Caldwell County 10: The Panthers reached the state semifinals for the second straight season. Jay Becherer returned an interception 85 yards as part of the Etown win.
Belfry 43, Russell 12: It was the first time the Pirates allowed points this postseason, but they cruised into the state semifinals for the seventh straight season.
Corbin 38, Casey County 17: The Rebels became just the second team to get more than 14 points against the Redhounds, but that wasn’t enough to keep Corbin from its second straight state semifinal. The Redhounds will host Belfry, which advanced to the finals with a 42-14 win in last year’s meeting.
Russellville 48, Bethlehem 12: Johnny Drumgole rushed for 194 yards and three TDs wile Jaylyn McMurry chipped in 153 yards and two scores for the Panthers, who won their second straight region title.
Beechwood 42, Kentucky Country Day 7: KCD tied the game briefly with 3:07 remaining in the second quarter before the Tigers responded to take a 14-7 halftime lead and blew things open in the final periods. Aiden Justice had 168 yards and two TDs on 22 rushes for Beechwood, which hosts Russellville in a repeat of last year’s state semifinal.
Paintsville 21, Raceland 14: Kent Phelps, a Wofford commit, had 164 yards and a TD to lead the Tigers to their second straight region title. Darren Morris threw two TDs for Paintsville, which will again take a 13-0 record into the state semifinals.
Hazard 42, Pikeville 19: The Bulldogs avenged a 29-21 loss to the Panthers and won a regional for the first time since 2012. Hazard will host Paintsville next week.
Mayfield 28, Owensboro Catholic 6: It was the Cardinals’ 24th straight win overall and their 23 straight postseason victory since falling to Hazard in the 2011 Class A state finals.
Louisville Christian 21, DeSales 14: Anteneh Thompson scored on 4th-and-1 from one yard out to give the Centurions their first region title. Louisville Christian had been ousted by DeSales in the last four postseasons. It’ll host Mayfield next week in its state semifinals debut.
Danville 34, Lexington Christian 28: The Admirals ended LCA’s campaign for a second straight season behind a big night from Zack Dampier, who was 18 of 26 for 277 yards and three TDs. Ellison Stanfield and D’mauriae VanCleave each finished with 115 yards for the Admirals, who will host Covington Holy Cross next week.
Covington Holy Cross 26, Newport Central Catholic 21: CHC beat its district rival for just the third time in program history and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since winning its only state title in 2011.
Franklin-Simpson 33, South Warren 16: Jackson Caudill threw for 278 yards, including an 84-yard TD to senior star Josiah Robey, to help knock off the defending champs and lift the Wildcats into the state semifinals for the first time since 2011. They’ll travel to John Hardin next week.
John Hardin 52, Shelby County 31: The Bulldogs will play in the state semifinals for the eighth time in the last nine seasons. They avenged a 44-14 loss to the Rockets which ended a seven-year semifinals streak last season.
Wayne County 30, Mercer County 14: Senior running back Dalton Garner did not play for the Cardinals, who advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four seasons.
Johnson Central 51, Ashland Blazer 0: Wayne County will host the Golden Eagles in a rematch of last year’s state semifinals, which Johnson Central won 21-14.
Bowling Green 50, Owensboro 21: The Purples reached the 50-point mark for the sixth time this season and extended their win streak to 25 games.
Fern Creek 35, Covington Catholic 28: CovCath couldn’t convert on 4th and goal with 6.5 seconds left to extend its season, sending the Tigers to their second straight semifinal. They’ll host Bowling Green next week.
South Oldham 45, North Bullitt 42: Cooper Cantrell, who’s headed to the University of Kentucky to play soccer, hit a game-winning field goal with four seconds left to finish off a 14-point rally by the Dragons in the fourth quarter.
Pulaski County 41, Southwestern 27: The Maroons won their fourth straight region title and could play in their fourth straight championship game if they defeat South Oldham at home next week.