BOWLING GREEN — Purples reign.
Bowling Green completed an undefeated season with a dominating performance in the Russell Athletic Class 5A finals Saturday night in front of 8,623 fans in WKU's L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Purples pounded Anderson County 55-3 to win their first state title since 1995 and erase Coach Kevin Wallace's painful memories of runner-up finishes in 2005, '06 and '07.
Bowling Green's 52-point margin of victory was a record for the state finals.
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"It sure feels good to win that last game," Wallace said.
"This is such a great group of kids, 30 very mature seniors, that went through such heartbreak last year. We lost three games, and all were in terrible fashion.
"But they came back this year with a real commitment, and we got over the hump."
For Anderson County, it was a bruising end to an otherwise joyous season in which it reached the finals for the first time in school history.
The Bearcats had the bad luck to run into perhaps Bowling Green's best team ever, a talented collection of fast athletes and big, strong linemen.
"They're outstanding," Anderson County Coach Mark Peach said. "We knew that going in. They're big, fast and extremely well-coached and deep on both sides of the ball. That's a nice combination."
Bowling Green, which never left its hometown in its five-game romp through the playoffs, put Anderson County away early. It built a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 34-3 by halftime.
The Purples started the second half with the same fervor. They scored on their first two plays from scrimmage, with Scooter Hollis going 75 yards for a touchdown, and K.J. Cofer following with a 70-yard scoring burst.
That gave Bowling Green a 48-3 lead and started the mercy-rule running clock midway through the third quarter.
Hollis capped a sensational senior year with a sensational title game. He completed eight of nine passes for 205 yards and two TDs (all in the first half). He ran eight times for 103 yards and two scores.
"This is great for our program, our fans, but most of all for our seniors," Hollis said. "We've been talking about this since the seventh grade. It's great to be able to finally get the state title."
Cofer ran for 71 yards and two TDs and had a 73-yard TD catch. Nacarius Fant had four catches for 93 yards.
The Purples had 548 yards to just 120 for Anderson County. Michael Bailey led the Bowling Green defense.
Bearcats quarterback Seth Carmichael and running back/receiver Ethan Kelly, who made big plays all season, couldn't find room to breathe against the Purples.
Carmichael was 15-for-35 passing for 127 yards. Kelly was limited to 23 yards rushing and receiving.
"I wish we could've gone out different, but we still made history tonight, being the first Anderson County team to make the championship game," Carmichael said. "This was big for our program."
Peach agreed, noting this was the first Anderson County team to play for a state title since the Bearcats, led by Jimmy Dan Conner, were state basketball runners-up in 1971.
"Sometimes your program's gotta take steps along the way," Peach said, and noted that Hazard took its lumps in the state finals before winning a title this weekend.
"You hope you can keep coming back and eventually get an opportunity and convert on it."