Searching for its first win after three straight losses, Lexington Catholic all but beat two teams Friday night.
The Knights held off visiting Madison Central 21-14, despite nearly beating themselves with more than 100 yards in penalties.
"We were maybe our toughest opponent in the first half with as many penalties as we were getting," Knights Coach Bill Letton said. "We're not good enough to do that. ... Aggressive penalties we can deal with, but mental mistakes and the mental penalties, we've got to clean those things up."
Catholic (2-3) rolled up 411 yards of offense. Included was 267 yards on the ground, where all three touchdowns came — via first-half runs of 9 yards by James Maddox and 40 by Amoh Kumengisa, plus a third-quarter burst of 10 yards by Konnor Vasilko. Maddox led the rushing attack with 120 yards on 23 carries.
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The Knights snapped out of their first 0-3 slide since the start of the 1993 season.
"We really needed (a win) to get the momentum back up," said Adam Wachs, who led Catholic's defense with seven tackles. "I think our defense did a good job of holding them down."
Central (1-4) gained 104 of its 184 yards on the ground. James Chenault had 71 yards on 22 carries, including touchdown runs of 3 and 5 yards.
"We got to running the ball good, we just can't play defense," Coach Bert Browne said. "That's the bottom line. We've got to stop the run. ... We're going to correct that. You can bet on that."
The Indians kept it close even though standout tight end Jon Floyd is out for the season because of injury and quarterback Nick Ford, after missing three games, reinjured his ankle on Central's third play of Friday's game.
"We've just got to catch a break," Browne said. "Our kids are fighting their tail off."
The Knights dominated the first quarter. Taking the opening kickoff, they overcame four penalties to drive 72 yards and take six minutes off the board. A play before Maddox found the end zone, Kyle Bolin passed to Anthony Kersey on a fourth-and-22 play, gaining 27 to the 9.
After Kumengisa's TD made it 14-0, the Knights successfully executed on onsides kick, Alex Nash recovering at the Central 42. They failed to pick up a first down, though.
Central got going late in the half with Hunter Stocker filling in for Ford at quarterback.
The big play on Central's scoring drive was a 31-yard rumble by Chenault to the Catholic 14. He scored with 2:42 left, the Indians' first first-half points of the season.
Vasilko's TD with 3:16 left in the third quarter pushed Catholic's lead to 21-7.
Central answered with Chenault's second score. That came two plays after Stocker passed to Justin Williams for 32 yards on a fourth-and-14 play that carried to the 5-yard line.
Central got the ball three more times, but punted twice and, deep in its own end, saw time expire.
"We got some key stops when we had to," Letton said. "Field position was crucial. Special teams provided us with pretty good field position in the second half.
"We needed (a win). It wasn't the prettiest thing that we've ever had, but we certainly desperately needed this win."
Madison Central 0 7 7 0—14
Lexington Catholic 7 7 7 0—21
LC—James Maddox 9 run (Jake Pumphrey kick); LC—Amoh Kumengisa 40 run (Pumphrey kick); MC—James Chenault 3 run (Taylor Deaton kick); LC—Konnor Vasilko 10 run (Pumphrey kick); MC—Chenault 5 run (Deaton kick).
Records—Central 1-4, Catholic 2-3.