Lexington Christian survived a third-quarter surge from Lexington Catholic, as well as an unprecedented rash of cramps in the second half, to claim a 56-36 victory on the football field Friday night.
It was LCA’s first win over the Class 3A Knights, who’d taken the three previous meetings between the city’s only football-playing private schools. Lexington Catholic won the most recent meeting, 62-0, in 2010.
“First victory over Catholic in program history. Man, that’s awesome,” said LCA quarterback Logan Nieves. “That’s awesome. We can do anything, and this proves it.”
LCA, ranked fifth in the Class 2A Cantrall Ratings and in the latest media poll, jumped out to a 24-0 lead and took a 38-7 advantage into the locker room. Catholic scored 23 unanswered points in the first 3:58 of the third quarter to pull within 38-30.
Tired legs possibly played a role in LCA’s lethargy as the second half started. A total of 27 players experienced cramps during the course of the game.
“That’s about as many guys as we had playing, and I need to find a possible explanation, because we snapped the ball a ton against Pikeville and we snapped the ball a ton against Waggener and it was warmer on those days,” LCA Coach Ethan Atchley said.
The Eagles (4-0) managed to rebound. Dillon Wheatley scored his second touchdown of the game and Nieves completed a two-point pass to Andrew Huff to swell LCA’s lead back to 46-30 with 4:40 left in the third quarter. Gavin Cameron caught a five-yard TD pass from Beau Allen to bring Catholic within 46-36 with 11:08 left in the game but an Allen two-point pass failed; that’s as close as the Knights got in the final minutes.
“The offense jumped out and the defense did great in the first half, and then we played awful for a while, and that’s on me,” Atchley said. “ … We knew it wasn’t gonna be a 14-7 ball game at the end of the day. It’s something we needed, it’s why we played this game.”
Nieves, a senior, rushed for 177 yards and three TDs. He was 12-for-17 passing for 160 yards and a TD.
Wheatley, also a senior, carried 28 times for 147 yards and two scores. Drayden Burbon rushed for a 68-yard TD on his only carry. Wade Drake and Chase Sacca also contributed to a 400-yard rushing night for the Eagles.
Allen, a sophomore who’s been offered by the University of Kentucky, was 18-for-32 for 356 yards and four TDs with an interception. Dameon Jones led the Knights with 153 rushing yards. Luke Powell had 146 yards and a TD on just three catches.
Lexington Christian 56, Lexington Catholic 36
First quarter: LCA—Logan Nieves 5 run (Dobbs kick); LCA—Dearious Smith 18 pass from Nieves (Dobbs kick); LCA—Drayden Burton 68 run (Dobbs kick). Second quarter: LCA—Dobbs 21 field goal; LC—Dameon Jones 40 pass from Beau Allen (Trey Woody kick); LCA—Nieves 69 run (Dobbs kick); LCA—Dillon Wheatley 16 run (Dobbs kick). Third quarter: LC—Luke Powell 41 pass from Allen (Woody kick); LC—Nathan Schnurr 24 pass from Allen (Gavin Cameron pass from Allen); LC—Dylan Coulter 1 run (Jones pass from Allen); LCA—Wheatley 2 run (Andrew Huff pass from Nieves). Fourth quarter: LC—Cameron 5 pass from Allen (pass failed); LCA—Dobbs 27 field goal; LCA—Nieves 8 run (Dobbs kick).