Ryle made an early-season statement by stealing one on the road against Covington Catholic, 35-28, as high school football kicked off around Kentucky.
Junior quarterback Tanner Morgan came up with a game-sealing TD run from about 20 yards out. "Big-time players make big-time plays," Morgan told Fox-19 in Cincinnati after the game.
Morgan went 26-for-36 for 451 yards and two passing TDs.
"It was two pretty daggone good football teams playing tonight," Ryle Coach Mike Engler told the Herald-Leader. "Hats off to CovCath, they played great. Each team took their shots."
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CovCath had a chance to send it to overtime, driving to the Ryle 12. But the Raiders' defense stepped up with two sacks to push back the Colonels.
Lexington Catholic 51, Boone Co. 13: Legend Brumbaugh was nearly perfect in his debut after taking over the reins for Reese Ryan. The new Knights quarterback went 17-for-19 for 165 yards and two TDs.
Donnie Morris reeled in seven of those completions, finishing with 91 yards and a TD. Brett Balcirak had eight carries for 86 yards and a TD for LexCath, which led 27-0 before giving up a score.
"We're off to a good start," LexCath Coach Mark Perry said. He noted the Knights' overall efficiency. Brumbaugh exemplified that, doing "exactly what we asked him to do," Perry said.
Cooper 37, Highlands 13: In another Northern Kentucky shocker, the host Jaguars took a 20-0 lead and Highlands never got it closer than 23-13 late in the third quarter.
The upset began with huge plays: Nathan Brown connected with receiver Dante Hendrix for an 82-yard score and Torrey Cordell-Armstrong scored on a 68-yard TD run. Brown's 40-yard TD pass to Tyson Jackson made it 20-0 Jags.
Shelby Co. 31, Garrard Co. 30: The host Golden Lions were without standout receiver Nick McCollum, who was injured in a scrimmage last week and is out indefinitely, and spotted the Rockets a 10-0 lead but still had a chance to pull it out.
"We threw a ball deep late that was almost completed," Garrard Coach Jerry Perry said. "They had a really good kicker" who pinned Garrard inside its own 20 to start the final drive, he said.
"We played hard. We just got beat on the perimeter with their speed."
Rockets quarterback Tyler Drane scored the go-ahead TD with about 2:30 left on a three-yard sneak. Drane's 40-yard completion to Devon Mantilla set up the score.
Pulaski Co. 64, Jeffersonville, Ind. 26: Coach Johnny Hines was impressed with his team's display against an athletic out-of-state squad.
""We kept their big plays to a minimum." Hines said.
Senior running back Jaylon Conwell had 23 touches for 146 yards and three TDs. He caught four balls for 43 yards.
Manual 28, Central 10: The Yellowjackets took a 10-7 lead into halftime but couldn't hold on against their 6A intracity rival. Timothy Comstock sent a 10-yard TD pass to Eric Niemann that gave Manual its first lead at 14-10 early in the third.
Bell County 41, Middlesboro 7: Treyton Humfleet had four TDs for the Bobcats, ending a two-year skid against the Yellowjackets.
Lexington Christian 51, Williamsburg 0: Sophomore quarterback Brayden Miller threw two first-quarter touchdowns to senior wideout Kyle Paske and Lexington Christian went on to blank Williamsburg on opening night.
Miller completed 10 of 12 passes for 138 yards and two scores before being relieved early by sophomore Logan Nieves, who made the most of his eight pass attempts, completing five for 140 yards and a TD.
"Tremendous team effort in all three phases of the game," LCA Coach Ethan Atchley said. "Executed offensively with great balance and tempo. Defense held a shutout dominating against the run in the trenches. Both QB's made plays and didn't try to do too much."
The Eagles' defense never let the Yellow Jackets get untracked, holding Williamsburg to just 67 yards of total offense while LCA racked up 451 yards Lexington Christian averaged 8.1 yards per play on a night that also saw sophomore running back Dillon Wheatley rush 19 times for 70 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
East Jessamine 38, Harrison Co. 33: Senior quarterback Cory Garrett found the end zone on the ground with 1:22 left and the Jaguars defense held on to list East Jessamine in the VisitNich.com Bowl.
Garrett was named the bowl's co-MVP along with Harrison senior quarterback Brock Jenkins, who led the Thorobreds to a 20-16 halftime lead. Jenkins scored twice each on the ground and through the air.
Hazard 35, Pineville 14: Hazard used a pair of big plays to put Pineville away. After the Mountain Lions closed to within 14-7, Bulldogs sophomore fullback Cory Smith reeled off a 64-yard touchdown run. On Hazard's next possession, senior quarterback Cole Ratliff hooked up with junior wideout Jason Johnson for a 65-yard touchdown bomb.
Ratliff added two rushing TDs as well.
Anderson Co. 32, South Oldham 20: Senior running back Ryan Martin got the Bearcats’ season off on the right foot, returning the opening kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown en route to a victory over South Oldham. Martin added two rushing scores as well, one a 92-yard scamper that put Anderson Co. ahead for good after South Oldham took a 14-6 lead.
Junior running back Brydon Labhart also got in on the ground attack for the Bearcats, rushing 10 times for 100 yards and a TD.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Zaubi completed 10 of 22 passes for 215 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in the losing effort. Junior wide receiver Keanan John added five catches for 102 yards for the Dragons.
North Bullitt 37, Woodford Co. 32: After North Bullitt took the lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Andrew Brown to senior receiver Evan Gividen, Woodford Co. took the game’s final possession with 1:02 left. They drove deep into Eagles territory and completed a pass to Malik Richards on the game’s final play, but the junior WR was tackled on the two-yard line to end the game.
Gividen had four total scores for the winners, one coming on the ground. Brown threw four touchdown passes.
Senior running back DeVontre Winkfield found the end zone four times for the Yellow Jackets, three times on the ground and once through the air.