Wayne County, an assumed contender in Class 4A, and Bryan Station, retooling itself with youngsters after graduating one of its most talented classes, combined for a rain-soaked overtime thriller in Richmond on Saturday night.
Station defeated the Cardinals 35-28 in the first game of the Roy Kidd Bowl at Madison Central, paced by three touchdowns from junior Chris Jones, including the game-winning score from 10 yards out in overtime. Several Defenders converged to push Wayne County out of bounds on the Cards’ fourth-down attempt in overtime.
Jones’ shiftiness was critical for the Defenders, who took home their fourth straight Roy Kidd Bowl trophy. He got loose for a 40-yard TD reception to put Station on top midway through the third quarter and chewed up yardage all night to help open things up for Jalen Burbage, a sophomore making his debut at quarterback.
Bryan Station Coach Frank Parks said it was important to get Jones’ confidence in gear early.
“I knew he had it in him,” Parks said. “It was just getting him focused to understand that he has to make an impact on the game for us to be successful. He has a ton of ability.”
It was a finish Parks said he’ll “absolutely” never forget.
“This young group, they showed a lot of grit coming out and winning in overtime,” Parks said.
Burbage and Quinten Floyd, a senior committed to Eastern Kentucky, were expected to split snaps coming into the season. Floyd did line up under center at times on offense — including on the final possession of regulation when Station was about 40 yards out — but Burbage carried the load for the Defenders.
That was by design.
“That was the plan ’cause they’re a physical team and Quinten had to play a lot of D-end, so I knew he would be tired,” Parks said. “Jalen got most of the reps this week in practice cause I knew Quinten was going to have a tough time going both ways.”
On Bryan Station’s first play from scrimmage, Floyd rocketed an 81-yard scoring throw to Desmond Bernard. Chase Jackson answered with a 10-yard run for Wayne County.
German Ruiz added a 25-yard TD run in the second quarter to give the Cards their only lead of the game. It was short-lived thanks to an 86-yard kickoff return by Haiden Hunt. Jones’ go-ahead TD reception put Station on top 21-14 soon after the teams traded turnovers.
Burbage connected with Bernard, too, for a 10-yard reception putting Station ahead 28-14 with about two minutes left in the third quarter. Dalton Garner answered from short range early in the fourth quarter to get Wayne County within eight points (it missed the extra point).
Jacob Bridgeman intercepted Burbage and returned it near Station’s 30-yard line with about a minute and a half remaining. Lorenzo Linsey powered his way in for a 10-yard TD and then got the two-point conversion to tie at 28-all with 45.6 seconds left.
Burbage, the son of former Station and University of Kentucky star Cornell Burbage, gave ample credit to the defense for stopping Wayne County when it mattered most in overtime.
“It was a nail-biter,” Burbage said. “The defense pulled it out.”
The sophomore shared a special moment with his father when the final horn sounded.
“He said ‘Good game boy, I love you,’” Burbage said. “And he just gave me a huge hug.”