BOWLING GREEN — Lexington Christian Academy put the finishing touches on one of the quickest championship construction jobs in state history by winning the Class A football title Saturday.
Playing only their eighth season of varsity competition, the Eagles soared to the top by trouncing traditional power Mayfield 55-19 before 3,582 fans in L.T. Smith Stadium.
When Paul Rains took over the LCA program in 2003, the team had a thin, inexperienced roster, no goal posts, and its scoreboard was attached to the side of a bread truck.
Rains has compared the Eagles' meteoric rise to a "skyrocket," and it reached its zenith Saturday night.
"You can't find better young men than these 16 seniors right here," Rains said. "What an awesome reward for those guys to be able to go out with a state championship."
LCA, which lost a heart-breaker to Beechwood in the finals two years ago, closed the deal this time around, and did so impressively.
The Eagles' 55 points were the most scored in a 1A title game in the 50-year history of the playoffs.
LCA senior stars Domonique Hayden, Lucas Witt and Branden Burdette shone brightly as they helped their team pile up 512 yards.
Hayden ran 38 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns, topping off his career state records for TDs (138), rushing TDs (118) and total points (837).
Witt, who will play college baseball at Kentucky, made his last football game one to remember. He threw for 205 yards and three TDs, and ran for 62 yards and two scores.
"The seniors have been working on this for four years, and to come out and play like we did tonight feels great," Witt said. "We're proud to finish it off like this."
Burdette was a standout on both sides of the ball. He had seven catches for 141 yards and two TDs. He added two interceptions on defense.
"This means the world to me," Burdette said. "We're so blessed, with so much athleticism, so much heart, so much camaraderie. There was no doubt in my mind we'd come out and get this win."
LCA's defense, often overshadowed by the Eagles' high-powered offense, carried its share of the load by forcing Mayfield into six turnovers.
Chad Hall, Adam Hall and Clay Mossbarger led LCA in tackles.
Mayfield quarterback Luke Guhy threw for 263 yards and two TDs, but was picked off five times. Xavier Shelton caught eight passes for 174 yards and two scores. Tyreese Murrell ran for 87 yards.
But the Cardinals lost for the eighth time in 15 championship game appearances.
Mayfield Coach Joe Morris paid tribute to LCA's overall performance.
"They've got a lot of weapons," he said. "Hayden keeps running in there, but when you put extra guys up to stop him, Witt burns you or Burdette gets loose.
"But the thing that disappointed me was that they kind of got the best of us in the offensive and defensive lines."
Among the guys manning the trenches for LCA were seniors Beau Baker, Evan Jacoby, Nick McSorley and Chase Fairchild, and juniors Zach West and Neil Whitman.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock and LCA was assured its 14th win in 15 games this season, Rains sought out Hayden and gave him a bear hug on the sidelines.
The coach and player shared a special bond this year. Rains' wife Denise and Hayden's mother have both been battling cancer throughout the season.
"It was motivation, coming out and playing for Coach Rains' wife and for my mom," Hayden said.
Rains said winning the state title was good for his wife, and it also confirmed his decision to come to LCA after he had been a successful coach at three other schools the previous 15 years.
"It was 22 years in the making to get me a state title at a school where people thought I was half crazy for taking the job," he said.
Rains also praised his coaching staff, which includes former head coaches Ray Graham (Harrison County) and Mike Meighan (Paul Laurence Dunbar).
"Our whole staff understands that football is important," Rains said, "but that we've also got a higher purpose in everything we do.
"For us to be rewarded with a state championship is an awesome blessing."
Lexington Christian 55, Mayfield 19
Mayfield 7 0 12 0—19
Lexington Christian 7 21 14 13—55
First quarter: LC—Domonique Hayden 5 run (Chaz Witt kick), 5:50; M—Xavier Shelton 47 pass from Luke Guhy (Marc Wynstra kick), 0:58. Second quarter: LC—Hayden 27 run (C.Witt kick), 11:45. LC—Branden Burdette 25 pass from Lucas Witt (C.Witt kick), 2:12. LC—Burdette 31 pass from L.Witt (C.Witt kick), 0:48. Third quarter: M—Matthew Shultz 1 run (kick failed), 10:39. LC—L.Witt 4 run (C.Witt kick), 3:39. M—Shelton 76 pass from Guhy (run failed), 3:26. LC—Chad Hall 16 pass from L.Witt (C.Witt kick), 1:09. Fourth quarter: LC—L.Witt 38 run (kick failed), 10:54. LC—Will Collins 1 run (C.Witt kick), 1:07.
Records: Lexington Christian 14-1, Mayfield 13-2.
First downs 8 22
Rushes-yards 24-89 56-307
Passing 263 205
Comp-att-int 15-28-5 13-20-2
Punt returns 0-0 1-9
Kickoff returns 5-48 3-30
Interceptions ret. 2-35 5-77
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg. 3-29.0 4-27.8
Field goals 0-0 0-0
Fumbles lost 5-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 3-21 3-38
Third-down conv. 3-13 9-18
Fourth-down conv. 0-1 3-4
RUSHING—Mayfield, Murrell 18-87, Noonan 2-10, Shelton 1-1, Shultz 2-1, Guhy 1-(-10). Lexington Christian, Hayden 38-210, L.Witt 9-62, Collins 8-33, Hall 1-2.
PASSING—Mayfield, Guhy 15-28-5-263. Lexington Christian, L.Witt 13-20-2-205.
RECEIVING—Mayfield, Shelton 8-174, Higgingson 4-34, Richardson 2-5, Murrell 1-50. Lexington Christian, Burdette 7-141, Hayden 2-21, Walls 2-12, Hall 1-16, Mossbarger 1-15.