High School Football

LCA's King showing uncanny nose for end zone

Justin King is king of play-making for Lexington Christian Academy's football team. The Eagles are 3-0 thanks in large part to King coming through in the clutch.

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound junior's latest heroics came at Harlan last Friday night.

LCA, trailing 25-20, faced a fourth-and-21 on its own 44-yard line with just more than a minute left.

"If we get in a tight spot and really need a first down or a big play, I definitely go to Justin," Eagles quarterback Dima Ballard said. "We have other play-makers, but he's No. 1."

Ballard threw to King, who caught the ball about 20 yards down field, got a key block from teammate Josh Weber, and raced to the end zone for the winning score.

"That was exciting," King said.

Exciting, but fairly routine.

King's fingerprints (and footprints) are all over LCA's three close victories this year.

He scored all of the Eagles' points in the first two games. He had TD catches of 19 and 5 yards, and booted the decisive extra point to beat Louisville Christian 13-12. He had TD catches of 83 and 74 yards, returned an interception 38 yards for a TD, and added three PATs to push LCA past Corbin 21-14. And he provided the punctuation mark score in the Eagles' dramatic 28-25 escape at Harlan last week.

King has 13 receptions for 369 yards and five TDs this year, along with a pick-six and six PATs.

"When you go back and figure out that one out of every four or five times he touches the ball, he finds the end zone, there's not many guys you can say that about," Coach Ray Graham said.

King, who also starts at safety and is one of LCA's surest tacklers, has 4.5 speed and a nose for the football.

He showed both talents in getting his first varsity TD a year ago this week.

LCA was 0-3 when it went to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy last September, and the Eagles trailed 3-0 in the closing seconds. But Adam Hilton blocked a punt, and King scooped it up and raced 56 yards for a TD with five seconds left to give the Eagles a 6-3 victory.

"That was a fun touchdown," King said this week.

That play sparked King to a big sophomore season. He wound up with 37 catches for 571 yards and seven TDs.

He's been even more of difference-maker this year, although he's still trying to improve his game.

"I see myself getting better," he said. "I come out every day trying to get better with every single rep. I need to work on route-running, and I'm trying to get faster."

Not many people expected LCA to be undefeated at this stage of the season, but the Eagles have shown a penchant for survival.

"We've won three games by the skin of our teeth," Graham said. "We've won with a lot of heart, a lot of character and a lot of resilience.

"We're just a bunch of winners."

Led by the King of play-makers.