High School Football

Region finals feature double-overtime thriller, 20-point comeback in 4th quarter

Photo slideshow: Boyle County defeats Belfry for Class 3A regional title

Boyle County defeats Belfry 41-24 Friday to claim the Class 3A regional title.
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Boyle County defeats Belfry 41-24 Friday to claim the Class 3A regional title.

Madison Central 28, Conner 27 (2OT): The Indians secured their first region championship at home in nail-biting fashion. After finishing regulation in a 14-14 deadlock both sides needed two extra frames to settle on a winner. Special teams and cool kickers proved necessary in overtime as an extra point was the only difference between the 6A squads.

At the beginning of the second overtime, Conner (9-4) needed only two plays to punch in a go-ahead touchdown, but a missed extra point left the Cougars vulnerable. The Indians took over next, with their possession culminating in a 7-yard touchdown lob to Blake Muntz. The game tied at 27, Madison Central took a timeout. Then, Cooper took a timeout. Finally, a solid boot through the uprights from Jordan Hatcher of Madison Central (10-3) got the on-field celebrations started for the Indians.

Regulation was a dead-heat slog through chilly November football weather. By the end of the first half, Conner led 7-6 and both teams combined for just 154 yards of total offense. The third quarter saw a flourish of scoring, with both teams finding the end zone, leaving them tied at 14 all. The fourth quarter — which included three fumbles, an interception and a missed field goal — was all offensive mistakes, tough defense and no scoring. In overtime, both sides traded touchdowns until the eventual game-winning kick.

Freddie Chenault, the Indians’ senior running back, grinded out 85 yards on the ground and managed to score both of Madison Central’s regulation touchdowns. Ethan Hahn led the victors in all-purpose yards as a 28-yard punt return, 44 receiving yards and 63 rushing yards combined for over half of the Indians’ total yardage.

Christian Webster spearheaded the Cougar offense with 84 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and 17 yards from the air. Jared Hicks, the Conner quarterback, tossed 127 yards and a touchdown on 28 passing attempts.

In the 6A semifinals, Madison Central will travel to Scott County (10-3) to face a Cardinals team that has won five straight—including a 28-27 victory last week over a top-ranked Frederick Douglass squad.

Scott County 56, Simon Kenton 28: The Cardinals won their third straight playoff game on the road to secure a region title and their first home game in the postseason next week. Scott County jumped out to a 29-0 lead in Independence and never looked back.

Austin Barnett led the way with 182 yards and four TDs on 23 carries. Bronson Brown had 141 yards and two TDs on 16 rushes for a Scott County offense that generated 406 total yards on the ground.

Covington Catholic 36, Highlands 0: At halftime these two northern Kentucky rivals seemed poised to play out a 5A playoff classic, but three third quarter touchdowns from Covington Catholic senior Cooper McGinness put the game out of reach.

Covington Catholic (13-0) — widely considered the state’s top team — was dominant on both sides of the ball. The Bluebirds (10-3) were barred from the scoreboard and were held to just 79 total yards on 48 plays. The Colonel offense totaled 405 yards on the same amount of plays. McGinness led the way with four rushing touchdowns and 201 yards on the ground on 22 attempts.

Michael Mayer scored the only touchdown of the first half — a 65-yard pass from Caleb Jacob — and led the team with six receptions and 140 yards. Under center, Jacob was 9-of-16, threw for 176 yards and tossed an interception and the Mayer touchdown. Mayer also led the defense with 12.5 tackles, a sack and a — fumble recovery.

Highlands quarterback Grady Cramer was sacked five times and only managed 36 yards on 14 passing attempts. The Bluebirds eked out 43 rushing yards on 34 attempts — that’s 1.3 yards per carry. CovCath senior Jacob Shriver was in the backfield the whole night, tallying three sacks.

In next weekend’s 5A semifinals, Covington Catholic faces Pulaski County (11-2) on the road after the Maroons grinded out a 13-6 win over Southwestern.

Walton-Verona 18, Glasgow 14: The Bearcats scored twice in the final five minutes to upset the Scotties in a Class 2A regional. They’ll host Mayfield, a 57-13 winner over Murray on Friday, next week in the state semifinals.

Pulaski County 13, Southwestern 6: The Maroons went 2-for-2 in meetings with their cross-town rivals, this time securing their fifth region title in the last six seasons. They’ll host Covington Catholic next week.

LaRue County 40, Elizabethtown 32: Louisville commit Anthony Adkins scored twice in the final five minutes to cap an improbable come-from-behind win on the road. The Hawks trailed 32-12 entering the fourth quarter but twice recovered onside kicks to overcome E-town’s advantage and win their first region title since 1991.

LaRue County will travel to Central, a 26-0 winner at Russell, next week.

South Warren 44, Owensboro 7: Spartans Coach Brandon Smith will join his father, Boyle County Chuck Smith, on the Thanksgiving practice fields next week. The Spartans travel to South Oldham — a 35-12 winner at Fern Creek — with a state-title berth on the line next week.

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