High School Football

Down early, UK commit leads Lexington Catholic to comeback in opener

Photo slideshow: Lexington Catholic, Beau Allen rally to defeat Pulaski County

Lexington Catholic defeats Pulaski County 21-14 in the Don Franklin Bowl at Southwestern High School in Somerset.
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Lexington Catholic defeats Pulaski County 21-14 in the Don Franklin Bowl at Southwestern High School in Somerset.

Down 14-0 at the half and lucky to have kept the game that close, Lexington Catholic and quarterback Beau Allen woke up and walked out with a 21-14 win Friday night over Pulaski County in the season-opening Don Franklin Bowl at Southwestern High School.

The Knights scored 21 unanswered points in the second half and the defense kept the Maroons frustrated with either four-and-outs or turnovers to end their drives.

“We didn’t play too well to start the game. I didn’t play too well … but we clicked when it mattered. We really came through in the second half,” said Allen, who committed to the University of Kentucky this summer.

Allen finished the game going 22-for-32 for 276 yards and a touchdown in the air and gained another 22 yards on the ground that included two punch-ins for TDs from about 2 yards out.

Pulaski County could have jumped on top 7-0 in the first quarter after a 55-yard pass from Brady Cain to Eastern Kentucky commit Jake Sloan that set up the Maroons on LexCath’s 11. But three plays later, Maroons QB Drew Polston mishandled a snap from the 1 and the Knights recovered.

But with that threat avoided, Catholic proved unable to solve Pulaski’s defense and Polston and the Maroons heated up. Devin Tolson completed a 12 play, 72-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run to put Pulaski up 7-0 with 3:17 left in the second.

After pushing LexCath off the field with a quick three-and-out, the Maroons struck again. Polston hit Jacob Shepherd on a 52-yard TD catch to make it 14-0 with just over two minutes left.

Allen couldn’t explain the slow start, but the Knights made halftime adjustments that helped him find open receivers and convert drives into scores.

“It was a mental thing, really,” Allen said. “We kind of just stepped it up and we just came a little bit more ready to play than we did the first half. We can’t let that happen any more.”

Circumstances changed dramatically in the third quarter after JD Woodall intercepted a Polston pass and brought it back to the Maroons’ 40. Six plays later, Allen scrambled to find Dylan Bracken for a juggling 5-yard catch in the back of the end zone.

LexCath’s defense stifled a fourth-down attempt on the next series and gave the Knights the ball back at its own 25. The third quarter ended on a 34-yard pass from Allen to Blake Busson that put LexCath on the 6. Allen capped the drive with a 2-yard score.

The Knights’ defense kept up the momentum and forced a Maroons punt that LexCath set up a reverse on to get the ball to Bracken for a 24-yard return that gave LexCath the ball at the 48.

A 28-yard pass to Busson in the middle of that drive pushed the Knights close. A pass interference call in the end zone gave Allen the ball at the 2 and he walked it in from there for a 21-14 lead with 5:57 to play. A John Simms interception, the Maroons’ third turnover of the game, essentially ended the game.

“It was a good test,” Allen said of the last opener of his LexCath career. “We’ve got a lot of young talented guys who haven’t gotten to play as much and it was a good test. We definitely could have played better.”

Jared Peck, the Herald-Leader’s Digital Sports Writer, covers high school athletics and has been with the company as a writer and editor for more than 19 years.
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