High School Football

LCA goes from playoff upstart to veteran in two years

It was something of a shock when Lexington Christian Academy reached the Class A football finals in 2007 and came within a whisker of knocking off perennial power Beechwood.

LCA had been playing varsity football only seven years, and even Coach Paul Rains admitted that the Eagles' meteoric rise left him "almost dumbfounded."

Two years later, LCA is back in the state finals, and nobody is dumbfounded.

The Eagles have been rated No. 1 in Class A most of the season, they have a Mr. Football hopeful in record-setting running back Domonique Hayden, and they are favored to beat tradition-rich Mayfield in Saturday's title game in Bowling Green.

If LCA was a surprise contestant two years ago, it is a veteran finalist this time around.

"In 2007, we were shocked we made it that far," said offensive lineman Evan Jacoby. "But we expected to get there this year.

"And since we've been there before, we know how to handle that kind of pressure and that kind of spotlight a little better now."

Jacoby and his fellow offensive linemen don't spend much time in the spotlight. They are the grunt workers in LCA's high-powered attack that features Hayden, quarterback Lucas Witt and receiver Branden Burdette.

Witt knows where his bread is buttered.

"The O-line should get a lot of credit," he said. "They keep me and Dom and everybody else alive. They deserve the headlines as much as we do."

Jacoby, who plays right guard, is one of three seniors up front. Nick McSorley is at right tackle, and Beau Baker is at center.

Zach West, a junior left tackle, is a three-year starter.

"Those guys are the unsung heroes," Rains said. "Evan is a big boy at 265 pounds. He's strong and runs well. Nick's probably the most improved player. Beau (230 pounds) plays much bigger than what he is."

McSorley said Hayden, Witt and Burdette "are such good athletes, if you do your (blocking) assignments, you know you'll do a good job."

Jacoby agreed.

"Obviously, with Domonique and Lucas back there, it's pretty easy for them to make plays," he said. "Our role is to open holes so they can get the numbers they do."

LCA would most like to see the numbers in their favor on the scoreboard on Saturday.

If the Eagles do soar to a state title, it won't be a surprise considering their talent and experience. But even Rains will consider it an amazing feat.

"It kind of blows your mind when you think about how far we've come in a few years," he said. "It really has been like a skyrocket."