Trey Wood kicked a 22-yard field goal as time expired to give Lexington Catholic a 20-17 halftime lead at home.
After that, it turns out, the Knights could have gained from the inclement weather that affected the area the last two weeks. Instead they saw their lead evaporate on a muggy evening as Highlands scored 24 straight second-half points en route to a 44-27 victory.
Beau Allen, a junior quarterback who last weekend added a scholarship offer from Duke to ones from UK and Michigan, rushed for a 24-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left to end LexCath’s second half drought. The Knights (4-1) lost their first game of the season and put up fewer than 30 points for the first time this year.
Cooper Schwalbach rushed for 47 yards and two TDs, a game-tying score late in the second quarter and the Bluebirds’ go-ahead score with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
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Nick Bowman converted the first of three field-goal makes to give Highlands a 3-0 lead with 9:29 remaining in the first quarter. Lexington Catholic scored TDs on back-to-back drives to close the quarter — the first from Ryan Nichols and another by Phillipe Ilumva — and got two field goals from Woody in the second quarter before experiencing a second-half lull.
Nichols had a game-high 79 yards on 22 carries. Allen was 29 of 48 for 309 yards and one interception.
Highlands quarterback Grady Cramer was 18-for-25 for 274 yards and a TD, thrown to Nate Roberts midway through the final quarter to put the Bluebirds up 17 points. Roberts had 92 yards on four receptions while Hunter Ahlfeld led Highlands with a game-high 102 yards on five catches.
Highlands improved to 8-2 all-time against the Knights and 4-1 on the year. The Bluebirds defeated the Knights four straight seasons, from 2011 to 2014, each of those meetings in the Class 4A semifinals. LexCath dropped to Class 3A and Highlands moved up to Class 5A in the 2015 season but the football titans renewed their rivalry last year (Catholic won that game, 21-18 on the road).
Lexington Catholic next week will travel to DeSales, a Class 2A stalwart that’s defeated Class 6A contenders Butler and St. Xavier and is 4-0 this season.
Highlands, now 4-1, will host Simon Kenton (5-0) next week. The Bluebirds’ only loss was a weather-shortened contest against Scott County at the end of August.