Paul Dunbar 27, Lafayette 19: Down 13-0 late in the third quarter and struggling to generate anything offensively all night, Paul Laurence Dunbar dialed up a trick play that not only got the Bulldogs on the board, it got them on a roll.
Wide receiver Tyre Garrard took a reverse handoff and let loose a 61-yard touchdown throw to Jamarcus Robinson on the final play of the third quarter.
“Our first touchdown was a big momentum swing,” said Dunbar quarterback Jake Smith. Dunbar went on to score 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat Lafayette in the Class 6A UK Orthopaedics/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl.
“It’s awesome, man,” Smith said.
Robinson agreed and said he knew when the play was called it was going to be big.
“It gave us a spark and helped us battle to the end and get the win,” Robinson said. “I knew we could pull it off. We’re 3-for-3 with trick passes, so I knew we’d get it.”
No matter that Oumar Toure capped a five-play, 73-yard drive with a 10-yard TD to put Lafayette back up 19-7 with 10:11 left in the game, Dunbar’s momentum could not be denied.
Smith took Dunbar right back down the field in five plays, capped by a 40-yard TD pass to Mario Paul that cut the lead to 19-14 with eight minutes left.
Then, disaster struck for Lafayette as a fourth-down play resulted in a 30-yard loss that put Dunbar at the Generals’ 12-yard line. Three plays later, Kamarion Robinson ran it in from 3 yards out to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 20-19, with 5:19 to play.
“It’s just how we are,” Smith said of the rally. Dunbar came back from a 21-0 halftime deficit last week to secure the program’s first winning season since 2005. “I don’t know how to explain it. We just find a way to come back when it’s just not going our way.”
Dunbar stifled Lafayette’s next series forcing another turnover on downs, the second of the fourth quarter, which set up the Bulldogs in Lafayette (2-9) territory again. Smith capped a six-play, 35-yard drive with a sneak on fourth-and-inches at the goal line.
“They believe in themselves and they believe we’re going to win no matter what,” said a cold and wet Coach Wes Johnson, who got a cooler bath in the postgame celebration. “This team does not go away … They did a great job today just executing down the stretch and that’s what it takes.”
Dunbar (7-4) faces Tates Creek next Friday for the Class 6A 7th District championship. The Commodores beat Dunbar 46-7 on Oct. 11.
Tates Creek 48, Henry Clay 27: Luke Duby and Miles Thomas connected for three touchdowns through the air as the host Commodores turned a tie game into a rout.
Henry Clay’s DJ VanHorn returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and later ran for a 1-yard touchdown to put the Blue Devils ahead 14-7 before Delarisco Jones evened the game for Tates Creek with an 89-yard interception return. That was the first of four unanswered touchdowns by the Commodores, who took a 28-14 lead into halftime.
Thomas made six catches for 138 yards. Duby completed 19 of 31 passes for 273 yards and four TDs, adding a 7-yard rushing score late in the fourth quarter to put Tates Creek (7-4) ahead 48-21.
VanHorn threw for 151 yards and ran for 51 yards and three touchdowns for Henry Clay (0-11).
Lexington Christian 43, Washington County 14: DeArious Smith’s 153 receiving yards in the first half made him Lexington Christian’s all-time leading receiver and helped push the Eagles to a win over Washington County in the Class 2A first round.
Smith caught TD passes of 10, 15 and 15 yards, all in the second quarter, as LCA staked a 29-0 lead.
“Like I just told my team, I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Smith, who has been battling for the top spot among all classes in receiving yards all season. “They’ve blocked. The quarterback’s been making good plays. It’s just this team.”
LCA QB Jayden Barnhardt threw for 186 yards and four TDs and ran for another 95 yards. Junior linebacker Mattie Lebryk’s four tackles gave him 110 on the season, another LCA all-time mark, according to the school.
Now LCA looks ahead to a rematch with Somerset, a team the No. 1 Eagles edged 35-34 at home a few weeks ago.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Barnhardt said. “We’ve got a good game plan, got some stuff ready to go, got some people healthy … It’s going to be a good one.”
When LCA (10-1) beat the Briar Jumpers on Oct. 18, Eagles Coach Doug Charles seized the momentum late by going for a go-ahead two-point conversion. He knows revenge will be on Somerset’s mind.
“They know us. We know them. Everybody knows what the deal is,” Charles said. “It just becomes a matter of execution. From the day we started this season, our kids have shown up every game, so we’re going to roll it out and see what happens.
Lexington Catholic 43, Bourbon County 23: University of Kentucky commit Beau Allen completed 10 of 12 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns and added 93 yards and another score on the ground as the host Knights rebounded from last week’s tough loss to Frederick Douglass.
Allen ran for a 15-yard touchdown to open the scoring as Lexington Catholic (8-3) built a 29-7 first-quarter lead, capped by a 44-yard TD pass from Allen to Blake Busson.
Nakwan Joyce led Bourbon County (4-7) with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown while Justin Blankenship ran for 77 yards and a TD.
Scott County 43, Montgomery County 8: Bronson Brown led a fierce rushing attack as the host Cardinals won their fifth straight. Brown ran for a pair of first-half touchdowns, including a 51-yarder, as Scott County (10-1) built a 36-0 halftime lead. Brown ran for 105 yards on six carries.
The Cardinals had 322 rushing yards as a team. Bryson Gibson pitched in 71 yards and a TD. Next week Scott County will face Frederick Douglass in Lexington. The Broncos dealt the Cardinals their only loss of the year, a 36-0 shutout, on Sept. 27.
Devin Johnson ran for 97 yards Josh Wheaton scored the lone touchdown for Montgomery County (3-8).
Oldham County 60, Bryan Station 24: After Terrick Mulder threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Damin Green to draw Bryan Station within 21-16, Oldham County went on a 39-8 run to bury the visiting Defenders.
Parker Caudill ran for 122 yards and a TD for Oldham County, which forced five Bryan Station turnovers. Joey Law intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble for the Colonels (7-4). Sam Young threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three more scores in the win.
Joey Bond ran for 80 yards and a TD for Bryan Station (3-8).
Southwestern 17, Pulaski County 7: For the second time in two weeks, Southwestern, a No. 1 seed in Class 5A’s 8th District, knocked off rival Pulaski County, this time to advance the Warriors to next week’s district championship.
A Max Brainard 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter put the Warriors ahead 10-7 and a Giddeon Brainard 83-yard breakaway a few minutes later sealed it.
Tanner Wright opened the scoring with a 15-yard TD run for Southwestern (6-5) early in the second quarter. Pulaski’s Tristan Cox tied it with a short TD run midway through the third quarter.
It was the third straight loss for the Maroons (7-4), who have been playing without injured sophomore quarterback Drew Polston since their regular-season loss to the Warriors.
Clark County 35, Madison Central 20: Jordan Manley tossed three touchdowns and Azariah Israel ran for two more as the host Cardinals pulled away in the fourth quarter for their fifth straight victory. Nate Storie threw two touchdowns, the second of which pulled Madison Central within 21-20 in the third quarter, before Israel put the game away with TD runs of 29 and 23 yards.
Israel finished with 131 rushing yards for Clark (7-4). Storie threw for 137 yards and intercepted a pass on defense for Madison Central (1-11).
Boyle County 64, Anderson County 14: Reed Lanter threw for 152 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were caught by Reiley Colwick, as the undefeated Rebels pounded the visiting Bearcats.
Wilson Kelly had two sacks for Boyle County (11-0), which held the Bearcats to 92 yards of total offense. Andrew Sacco ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Austin Beasley caught a 22-yard touchdown from Jagger Gillis for Anderson County (4-7).
East Jessamine 50, Collins 6: Dylan Moore ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns as the host Jaguars won their seventh straight. Andre Johnson, Connor Darby and Logan Woolums each recovered a fumble for East Jessamine (9-2). Chi Rankin caught the lone touchdown for Collins (2-9).
Somerset 34, Danville 14: Quarterback Kaiya Sheron passed for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Briar Jumpers (10-1). Jerrod Smith racked up 101 yards and a TD and Kade Grundy had 105 receiving yards. Cam Austin caught a TD pass and ran for another. For Danville (3-8), Sage Dawson hit Darrian Bell for an 86-yard TD pass in the first quarter.
Franklin County 50, Waggener 32: Nick Broyles threw for three TDs and ran for another before going out in the second half due to injury, according to The State Journal. Fred Farrier and Braedyn Tracy had a pair of TD catches for the Flyers (11-0) who next face Central for the district championship. Sophomore QB Jayden Mattison had two TD passes in relief of Broyles.
Madison Southern 50, Woodford County 20: The Eagles (6-5) dominated from the outset getting a score on a fumble recovery return for a touchdown by Jayshaun Etheridge early and four rushing TDs from running back Adrian Jones, including break-aways of 50, 47 and 60 yards.
Hazard 36, Phelps 8: Nick Miller ran for a pair of touchdowns and Max Johnson returned an interception 40 yards for a score as host Hazard (7-4) blew the game open in the second quarter. Dominique Francis ran for a 20-yard touchdown for Phelps (4-7).
Holmes 21, Harrison County 0: Tayquan Calloway ran for two touchdowns to lead host Holmes (8-3) past the Thoroughbreds (4-7).
Mason County 27, Powell County 0: Carson Brammer threw four touchdowns, two to Colby Jones, as Mason County (6-5) rolled to its first shutout of the year. Powell County (3-8) was held scoreless for the first time this season.
Union County 26, Trigg County 13: Mathias Ervin ran for two touchdowns and Soloman Teehan returned an interception 42 yards for a score as visiting Union County (6-5) dealt Trigg County (6-5) its second straight loss.
Clinton County 14, Monroe County 7: The Bulldogs (7-3) scored their first-ever playoff points and got their first-ever playoff win. “It means a lot to me, but it means more to those kids in there, 16 seniors,” Clinton County Coach Rocky Tallant told the Glasgow Daily Times. “They’ve been building this program.”
Bell County 44, Garrard County 0: Bobcats QB London Stephney completed seven of eight passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another score. Jason Jones was the recipient of two of those scores.