The only showdown between city football teams on Friday happened between two winless teams, but by night’s end it outshined a matchup of Class 6A title contenders happening across town.
Tates Creek, playing its third straight road game to start the year, overcame Paul Laurence Dunbar in a roller-coaster battle, 41-35. After leading by 14 points midway through the second quarter, the Commodores needed to erase a 14-point deficit to force overtime. A blocked field-goal attempt and Laron Warner touchdown run completed the Creek comeback.
“It felt good to get that first ‘W,’” Warner said. “ I don’t even know what’s going through my head right now.”
Nobody was more thrilled about the result than Creek Coach Antoine Sims, a former lineman at the school who went on to play at Louisville.
“The kids are great, man,” said Sims, unable to contain a contagious smile. “We had our nervous points, but they came out and found a way to win. I’m excited for ’em. This feels good. I hope they cherish this feeling right now.”
Tates Creek went up 21-7 on a 94-yard TD pass from Cameron Workman to Turner Gentry in the second quarter, but Dunbar answered with a 28-0 run. Isaiah Yeast’s 38-yard reception from Gavin Bugg put the Bulldogs ahead 28-21 in the third quarter, a lead they extended to 35-21 early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 6-yard run by Alex Bard. The Commodores scored 14 points in a four-minute span to force overtime.
At third and 5 on its drive in overtime, Dunbar junior Tre Homer nearly reeled in a go-ahead throw from Bugg. Dunbar attempted a 21-yard field goal, which Creek junior Obie Taylor got his hands on after breaking through the line.
Dunbar’s will still be searching for its first win under new coach Chris Mullins when Eastern comes to Lexington this week. Mullins was happy with some areas of Dunbar’s performance; it executed halftime adjustments well for much of the second half and established a strong run game for the first time this season. He was less thrilled with his team’s attitude following a close loss.
“We just didn’t react the way we should have reacted,” Mullins said. “We should have been proud of our effort and proud of the way we played. We were angry. Some of our kids were angry at each other and that just shows we don’t have a winning mentality yet.
“I’m extremely proud of the way we played. Our play on the field took a step forward, but I feel like maybe our attitudes took a step back. And that’s almost, if not more, important than anything.”
Nate Gay led Dunbar with 109 yards on 25 carries. Isaiah Yeast had 88 yards and a TD on six catches for the Bulldogs (0-3).
▪ Dontell Brown, a standout senior for Dunbar, exited in the first half with an apparent knee injury. Brown will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, Mullins said.
“Preliminarily it doesn’t look very good,” Mullins said. “ ... We’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’ll come back and be fine and that it’s just a sprain.”
▪ Tates Creek will finally get to play at home when it hosts Henry Clay on Friday.
Lafayette, ranked third in Class 6A, hoped to avenge last season’s drubbing at Trinity when the No. 1 Shamrocks came to Lexington in the return game this year. Trinity didn’t hang 70 points on the Generals this time around, but it did leave Lexington with a 45-7 victory, its most dominant performance so far in 2016.
Jovel Smith finished with 122 yards and three TDs on six catches for the Shamrocks, who defeated Tennessee powers Ensworth (14-7) and Brentwood (35-21) coming into Friday’s bout. Trinity led 35-0 at halftime and took a 45-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Lafayette’s Walker Wood connected with Quinten Brown on a 6-yard TD throw to prevent the shutout midway through the final period.
▪ A week after a narrow loss to Ryle, Henry Clay dominated Clark County (0-2) on the road, 34-6. Junior quarterback Greg Couch completed 12 of 25 passes for 197 yards and four touchdowns while Demarcus Tyler and Zac Berezowitz each reeled in two TDs for the Blue Devils (1-1).
“We needed to be able to throw the ball tonight,” Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson told the Herald-Leader on Friday. “Clark has some nice size players up front and they said, ‘We’re gonna take the run away from you.’ It was part of the game that I thought we could exploit and we did … Tonight we did what we needed to do to get the win.”
▪ Lexington Christian overpowered Green County early on the road, generating 401 yards and allowing only 135 by the Dragons (1-2). The Eagles (3-0) will play host to Estill County next week.
“We were able to load the box and limit some of their best offensive players,” said LCA Coach Ethan Atchley. “The kids were disciplined and uniform and executed the game plan, so I was proud of them for that.”
▪ Johnson Central rushed for 432 yards against Lexington Catholic in a 54-27 win over the visiting Knights (1-2).
Johnson Central likely will be ranked as the No. 1 team in Class 4A on Tuesday because South Warren fell at Greenwood 17-16 on Friday night. The Golden Eagles were ranked second coming into the week.
▪ Cooper pulled away from Bryan Station in the second half of a 52-28 home win. Jarod Lonaker threw four TD passes and rushed for two in the win for the Jaguars (2-1).
Station (1-2) trailed 24-21 at halftime. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Burbage went 27-for-43 for 266 yards and three TDs — two to fellow sophomore Micah Lowe — but also threw two picks. Lowe had 91 yards on seven catches.
▪ Jackson Beerman and Turner Gentry, who combined for nearly 300 of Tates Creek’s 400 yards through the air Friday. Gentry had five catches for 189 yards; Beerman grabbed four balls for 103 yards. Both seniors caught two touchdowns.
▪ Kenneth Houlihan and Jesse Cox, who each had two sacks and three tackles for loss in Madison Central’s 15-0 win at Bourbon County.
▪ Kendrick Hamilton, who had 205 yards and three TDs on the ground in Scott County’s 42-33 win over Highlands.
▪ Geordan Blanton, who rushed for a TD, caught a TD, threw a TD and had two interceptions in a strong all-around performance for Johnson Central.
▪ Clark Payne, who was 24-for-36 for 248 yards and three TDs in Bowling Green’s 31-10 win against St. Xavier.
▪ Kent Phelps, who rushed for 207 yards and two TDs in Paintsville’s 40-28 win at Pikeville.
▪ Kyree Hawkins, who had 234 total yards of offense and scored four TDs in Fern Creek’s 55-10 win over Moore.
▪ Danville’s 43-15 win at Boyle County was its first in the intercounty rivalry since 2012 and its first under Coach Clay Clevenger. The Admirals’ last home win over the Rebels was on Sept. 7, 2007.
▪ At 2-1 three weeks into 2016, Campbell County has doubled its win total from last season. The Camels defeated Newport Central Catholic 33-28 on the road Friday.
▪ Taylor County’s 30-0 rout of Campbellsville was the first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 2010, when Campbellsvile won 22-0. It was the largest margin of victory in the series since the Cardinals won 45-14 on Sept. 6, 2002.
▪ McCracken County’s 72-7 win over Madisonville was a school record for margin of victory; the previous best was a 70-7 win over Muhlenberg County last season. The Mustangs’ 72 points matched a school record set against Fort Campbell in 2014.
▪ Greenwood’s win over South Warren was the Gators’ first in school history over the Spartans, whose school began play in 2011. South Warren had won 17 straight games and 25 straight regular-season games before Friday’s loss.
▪ Male is the sole owner of the state’s longest win streak, now. The Bulldogs, who visit Trinity on Friday, won their 18th straight with a 57-8 win at Fairdale.
▪ Sheldon Clark defeated Betsy Layne 40-12 in its home opener. It was the Cardinals’ first win under Chester McCoy.
▪ Owensboro Catholic’s 34-29 win over Owensboro was its first since 2012.
▪ Boyd County improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2005 with its 34-8 win over South Point (Ohio).