GEORGETOWN — Scott County's football hex over Madison Central continued Friday night as the Cardinals rallied for a 24-21 victory in a showdown of top-15 teams at Toyota Stadium.
It was the Cardinals' fourth win over Madison Central in five years, and three of them have been heartbreakers for the Indians.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Scott County freshman Josh Walls had three touchdowns, and Jay Willmott provided the winning margin with a 36-yard field goal with 4:13 left.
The Cards still weren't home free. Their defense had to come up with a clinching stop in the closing seconds after Madison Central drove to their 11.
On third down, Tyler "Bear" Williams and Chris Ramsey hurried Indians quarterback Zac Coldiron into throwing to an illegal receiver. That forced Madison Central into trying a 40-yard field goal, which didn't come close.
"We worked so hard all week for this, we weren't going to lose," Williams said. "It was our district, our game."
After Madison Central took a 14-0 lead, Walls, the brother of former Scott County basketball star Matt Walls, caught a pair of TD passes from Cory Cronin. The first covered 42 yards, and the second went for 25 yards after Cronin scrambled out of trouble.
The Indians regained the lead at 21-14 on the first snap of the second half when Isaiah Kavanaugh raced 80 yards for a TD. But Scott County answered again, with Walls zig-zagging his way for a 49-yard TD run.
"He's miraculous," Williams said of the 5-foot-9, 155-pound freshman.
Walls credited his teammates. "I'm so proud of the the offensive line, and the way the defensive line stepped up in the fourth quarter," he said.
As for Willmott's game-winning field goal, McKee had no doubts. "Jay Willmott could kick (for UK) against South Carolina (on Saturday)," McKee said.
Madison Central was led by Kavanaugh (11 carries, 123 yards, two TDs) and Keshawn Simpson (15 carries, 113 yards, one TD).
McKee knew the Indians were dangerous.
"You can be up 35-0 on them, but they're only five plays away from tying it," McKee said. "But the big thing was, once we got settled in on defense, we were OK."
Williams led the Cards with 7.5 tackles, followed by Ramsey, Cody Skimmerhorn and Sean Higgins.
Madison Central Coach Kenny Turner said he was "real happy with the way our kids kept fighting back.
"It was a real good game against a real good team that came down to that one play with the penalty."
For Scott County, the win was redemption for a surprising loss to Oldham County last Friday.
"We totally laid an egg last week," McKee said. "So it was important that we respond tonight. We did with a great effort."
Madison Central 7 7 7 0—21
Scott County 0 14 0 10—24
MC—Keshawn Simpson 32 run (Taylor Deaton kick). MC—Isaiah Kavanaugh 2 run (Deaton kick). SC—Josh Walls 42 pass from Cory Cronin (Jay Willmott). SC—Walls 25 pass from Cronin (Willmott kick). MCe_SEmDKavanaugh 80 run (Deaton kick) SC—Walls 49 run (Willmott kick).
Records—Madison Central 5-1; Scott Co. 4-2.