BOWLING GREEN — Newport Central Catholic didn't just win the Class 2A football championship game against Owensboro Catholic Friday.
NewCath nuked it.
Led by the hard running of Chris Kelly and a smothering defense, the Thoroughbreds romped to a 42-0 victory in front of 7,964 fans in WKU's Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
This was NewCath's fourth state title. The first three came under legendary coach Bob Schneider, who retired after last season. This one came under new boss (and former Thoroughbreds' star player) Eddie Eviston.
"This is just amazing," Eviston said. "We worked so hard and the kids did so much. It's tremendous.
"Newport Central Catholic is a special place. I'm just blessed to be fortunate enough to be back here."
For Owensboro Catholic, it was another empty trip to the finals. The Aces were also second in 1997, 2004 and 2005.
"Our run stopped here, but I'd rather get here than not get here," Coach John Edge said.
Owensboro Catholic came to town averaging 45 points and 450 yards. It rang up 61 points and more than 600 yards on Danville last week.
But the Aces could do nothing against NewCath.
"They beat us up front, they beat up our sophomore offensive linemen," Edge said. "That was it."
NewCath's front trio of Logan Martin, Jake Geisler and Elliott Rust overwhelmed Owensboro Catholic at the line of scrimmage.
Aces quarterback Isaac Hardesty threw for 3,500 yards and 48 touchdowns in his first 14 games, but he had no time to find game-breaking receivers Brelin Dixon and Masden Riney against NewCath. Hardesty completed nine of 19 passes for 48 yards with two interceptions.
Eviston didn't expect to deal the Aces a shutout.
"We had to play disciplined defense because they had some great athletes we had to contain, but we did that. We didn't let them have the big play."
NewCath's offense did its part behind Kelly, who ran 28 times for 165 yards and two TDs. He helped stake the Thoroughbreds to a 21-0 halftime lead.
"Chris Kelly is a workhorse, and one of the best football players I've seen wear a NewCath uniform," Eviston said.
The T-breds totaled 450 yards, 390 coming on the ground. Besides Kelly, they got a lift from Dylan Hayes (93 yards, one TD) and quarterback Brady Hightchew (87 yards, two TDs).
Kelly said bad memories helped motivate NewCath, which lost to Fort Campbell in the 2007 and 2008 finals.
"All of the seniors kept those two losses in the state championship inside of them," he said. "We weren't going to let that happen again."