After giving up a defensive touchdown early, Scott County rallied to survive a 14-7 finish at Paul Laurence Dunbar on Friday night. The Cardinals didn't lead until the 4:46 mark of the third quarter. Simon Bond followed his blockers well for a 10-yard score to put Scott ahead.
Kendrick Hamilton scored from 9 yards out with 2:51 left in the first half to knot things up at 7-7. Dunbar took the early edge on a 72-yard fumble recovery by Dontell Brown. The Bulldogs defense got to Cardinals quarterback Josh Davis to force that turnover.
"Paul Rains is an excellent football coach," Cardinals Coach Jim McKee said. " ... They ain't just gonna lay over when we came over here. We knew by the nature of what they did they would limit our possessions."
McKee said when his team failed to capitalize on early scoring chances in the game they might have "hit the panic button" a little bit. He was thrilled with how his defense responded after Dunbar's defensive turnover; it pitched a shutout the rest of the way.
"We played great defensively and had just enough offense to win," McKee said.
Rains felt like his team did what it needed to do to come away with a win. The Bulldogs held the Cardinals to 164 yards rushing — they average 378 a game — and (barely) outgained Scott County 186-183 overall.
Dunbar's Jefferson Harkless, a sophomore, paced all rushers with 145 yards on 29 attempts.
Rains said the level of play his team has shown in recent weeks — a three-game win streak followed by three respectable losses against some of the best teams in Class 6A — is commendable. "There's no 'moral victory' in that, but it shows how far they've come," he said. "Our kids are playing hard and we're doing the best we can. We just made a few mistakes. But I can't complain at all.
"Just the heart and the effort they showed tonight was super."
Lexington Catholic 28, Garrard Co. 16: The Knights came out firing in their final regular-season home game, scoring touchdowns on all three of their opening-quarter drives.
Junior quarterback Kirk Fagot got the festivities started with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson, then followed that up just over three minutes later with a 35-yard scoring shot to Donovan Morris after the Catholic defense forced a Garrard County three-and-out.
The Knights closed out the quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Andy Thompson to running back Jaylen Jones, and it looked like the rout might be on. But the Golden Lions' defense stiffened up, holding Lexington Catholic scoreless for the next two quarters while the Garrard County offense found its footing.
Jacob Foley got the visitors on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run in the second, then senior quarterback Slade Crutchfield hit Mike Redmon with a 51-yard scoring bomb to pull the Golden Lions within one possession at 21-16. But Jaylen Jones finally got the Knights back into the end zone with a 1-yard blast with 5:37 left in the game to preserve the win.
Danville 41, Lexington Christian 7: Stephen Ray scored three first-half TDs, including a 76-yard scamper on 3rd-and-22 with 39 seconds remaining to give the Admirals a 20-0 edge at halftime.
D'mauriae Vancleave rushed for two TDs and caught another in the second half to help Danville cruise to a No. 1 seed in Class 2A, District 7 on LCA's senior night.
Ray ended with 144 yards on 12 carries. Brayden Miller had the Eagles' lone score. LCA sophomore Dillon Wheatley finished with 95 yards on the ground.
Bowling Green: 49, Greenwood 14: After two 11-yard touchdown runs in the first half from Jackson Adams it looked like Greenwood had a real shot to notch its first-ever victory over Bowling Green. The teams fought to a 14-all tie going into the locker room.
But Bowling Green’s offense came out swinging in the second half and reeled off 35 unanswered points to run its record against the Gators to 24-0. Jamale Carothers had three rushing touchdowns for the Purples, who improved to 8-1 and will finish the regular season at home against McCracken County next week before opening the District 2 playoffs at home against Apollo the week after.
Henry Clay 42, Bryan Station 28: Running backs Joquise Buford and Austin Bledsoe ran wild for the Blue Devils on Friday, though Henry Clay could never quite run away from a game Defenders squad.
The Blue Devils took a 21-14 lead into the locker room, but only led by a touchdown after a 79-yard kickoff return by quarterback Andre Davis pulled Station to within 35-28 with four minutes left in the game. But a 30-yard run by Bledsoe with just over a minute left in the game sealed the road win for Henry Clay.
Bledsoe finished with 90 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils, who rushed for 326 yards as a team. Buford finished with 179 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Davis completed 16 of 30 passes for 169 yards and two scores for Bryan Station in addition to the kickoff return, but also tossed two interceptions.
Lafayette 29, Tates Creek 28: Walker Wood rushed for 144 yards and all four Generals TDs in their second straight victory in the Roy Walton Bowl.
The win made Lafayette the outright winner in Class 6A, District 8. They’ll host Dunbar in the first round of the playoffs. The Generals defeated the Bulldogs 43-21 in the season opener.
The host Commodores (4-5) led 28-15 in the third quarter after Peyton Burke rushed for a 4-yard TD.
Wood had a 6-yard TD run in the waning minutes of the third quarter and a 13-yard scamper with 4:44 to play in the game to make the difference for Lafayette (8-2) in its regular-season finale.
Burke went 25-for-40 for 257 yards and three TDs with an interception. Turner Gentry had eight catches for 77 yards while Robbie Lofton reeled in four balls for 74 yards and a TD.
Montgomery County 30, Woodford County 14: Art Walker completed five passes — all to Cody Parsley — as the two combined for 166 yards and two TDs for the Indians, who will host a playoff game for the first time since 2010. Jake Harvey had 186 yards and two TDs on 28 rushes for Montgomery County.
Madison Southern 43, Anderson County 28: The Eagles earned their first district title in 27 seasons of playing football after hanging 426 yards on the visiting Bearcats.
Carter Smith rushed for 149 yards on 13 carries for Madison Southern (4-4), which has won three straight games.
Eagles Coach Jon Clark had two words to describe the accomplishment, especially after doing it "with a team everyone counted out" after the departure of superstar Damien Harris. "It's awesome," Clark said.
Madison Central 38, Clark County 7: It was a defensive struggle early on in Winchester before a wave of Williamses busted the game open in the second quarter for the visiting Indians. Johan Williams finally penetrated the Cardinals’ defense with a 45-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, then followed that up two drives later with another long scoring run, this time for 84 yards out.
Senior receiver John Williams got in on the action just one minute later, hauling in a 49-yard touchdown pass from Zach Hardin. The senior quarterback threw his second touchdown pass of the quarter with just 19 seconds left in the half, hitting Keenan Miller from 74 yards out to put the Indians up 29-0 at halftime. Johan Williams finished with 196 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries for Madison Central.
Franklin County 23, North Oldham 7: Barrett Sanderson threw two TDs for the Flyers (7-2), who opened on a 20-0 run early to snap a two-game skid.
Johnson Central 8, Ashland Blazer 7: The Golden Eagles claimed the Class 4A, District 8 title after holding onto a slim lead acquired in the third quarter.
Marshall commit Quinton Baker banged out an 80-yard TD run to give Blazer (8-1) a 7-0 lead in the opening seconds of the third quarter.
Johnson Central responded with a 2-yard score by Gunner Slone minutes late. Noah Frisby caught a two-point conversion which proved to be the difference-maker.
Central 49, Henry County 0: Cory Johnson netted 112 yards and rushed for three TDs for the Yellow Jackets.
Central (7-2) will host Western Hills (3-5) when the playoffs get underway two weeks from now.
Covington Catholic 42, Dixie Heights 14: The winning Colonels used TDs from six different players – Ian Summe, Ryan McGinness, AJ Mayer, Brent Angel, Matthew Kloska and Jacob Steins – to cruise past the losing Colonels.
CovCath (3-6) will host Anderson County (4-5) in the opening round of the playoffs.
Highlands 56, Grant County 22: The Bluebirds won their 19th district title in 20 seasons with the victory. They’ll host Woodford County in the first round.
Grant County will travel to Madison Southern in the first round.