Shoutout to Madison Southern and Raceland for bringing some fresh faces to a series of state championship that are so often stocked with familiar ones.
Madison Southern made a title game for the first time in program history after knocking off Harlan County, 27-20, in the Class 5A semifinals. The Eagles (11-3) will play Covington Catholic, which improved to 14-0 after a 43-7 win at South Warren.
Harlan County took possession after a MadSouth fumble with two minutes to play but the Black Bears coughed it up and the Eagles recovered with 1:18 remaining. Carter Smith scored a go-ahead TD on a 27-yard run for MadSouth with 45.6 seconds left.
“When we were down and there wasn’t much time on the clock left to score, we weren’t chucking it around the field,” said Eagles Coach Jon Clark, in his seventh year leading the program. “We leaned on the guys that got us there and they got us there again. It was typical of what our team is and what our boys are for each other.”
Raceland also will make its finals debut in 2017. The Rams upset Pikeville, 17-14, at home on Friday night in the Class A semifinals. Luke Lemaster hit a 36-yard field goal as time expired to give Raceland the hallmark victory.
Return of Titletown
The city of Danville’s longstanding “Titletown” moniker will have a chance to ring truer after next weekend.
Danville (43-0 over Glasgow) and Boyle County (14-7 over Elizabethtown) both won road games to advance to their respective championship rounds. Danville will play Mayfield (21-14 over defending champ Christian Academy of Louisville) in the Class 2A finals on Saturday while Boyle will get Corbin in Class 3A.
The Admirals (14-0) lost to CAL in last year’s title game, which was their first appearance since 2006. They’ve won 10 championships but none since 2003.
Boyle County (13-1) last played for a state championship in 2010, when it defeated Allen County-Scottsville for the Class 4A crown. The Rebels, whose only loss this season was to Danville, are looking for their eighth trophy.
This will be the first season that the crosstown rivals have both played for a championship since 2004. From 1999-2003 the schools combined for eight championships.
Beechwood, Johnson Central and Trinity all will get an opportunity to defend state titles from a season ago.
Beechwood, whose 63-7 decision at Campbellsville was the largest among Friday’s semifinals, will meet Raceland, which took down Pikeville, 17-14. The Tigers will play in their third straight Class A finals and seek their 13th championship.
Johnson Central won its first state title last season and will get to defend that honor after besting Wayne County 43-24 in the Class 4A semifinals for a third straight season. The Golden Eagles (12-2) will play Franklin-Simpson (42-38 winners over Collins on Friday) in a rematch of last year’s title game. Johnson Central won that one 48-0.
Trinity advanced with a 49-3 victory over Central Hardin in the 6A semifinals. The Shamrocks, who’ve won more titles than any program in Kentucky, will seek their 25th next Sunday when they meet St. Xavier.