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Class 5A: Bowling Green Defeats Owensboro 17-7

Photo by Brenden Miller

Photo by Brenden Miller

The Bowling Green Purples used a suffocating defense to defeat the Owensboro Red Devils 17-7 in the 5A state title game at Kroger Field. Their defense, which came in ranked #1 in 5A in points allowed, didn’t let Owensboro cross the goal line until the final minutes. By that time, the game, and the school’s 7th state championship, were already in hand.

The Purples, who came in ranked first in the state in interceptions, never let Owensboro quarterback Gavin Wimsatt get into any sort of rhythm, picking him off twice. Wimsatt, who is ranked as one of the top dual threat junior quarterbacks in the nation, was made one dimensional by the Purples’ scheme and personnel. He put up decent passing numbers but gained only 13 yards on 14 carries.

Photo by Brenden Miller

One of Owensboro’s only real chances for points came on their second drive of the game. They got to the Bowling Green 30-yard line and decided to go for it on 4th and 9 but had to settle for an underneath throw. This became a pattern for the game, as Bowling Green constantly forced Wimsatt to throw underneath, and then stepped up to make the sure tackle. Sophomore DB Augustin Nyembo, who had several key defensive plays today, made the tackle to end the drive.

After a scoreless first quarter, Bowling Green got on the board with a short Colin Fratus field goal early in the second quarter. Check out this pass play from Conner Cooper to UK commit Jordan Dingle that helped get the Purples into range.

The Purples’ defense continued their dominant ways with an Eli Burwash interception on Owensboro’s next possession.

When the Bowling Green drive stalled, Burwash punted a beauty, pinning the Red Devils deep in their own territory. Owensboro quickly punted back to Bowling Green, but shanked the punt and Bowling Green took over on the Red Devil 23-yard line late in the first half. That set the stage for this Copper touchdown run on a broken play that put Bowling Green up 10-0 going into halftime.

The Purples limited Wimsatt to 6-of-17 passing for 49 yards in the first half. They recorded their second interception of the game midway through the 3rd quarter. Nyembo got the pick and returned it to the Owensboro 28-yard line.

Bowling Green capitalized on the short field with a Dingle touchdown run, virtually putting the game out of reach midway through the 3rd quarter.

Owensboro got on the scoreboard with only a few minutes left on a Wimsatt pass to Kendrick Williams but it was too little, too late.

The Purples’ offense gained only 199 yards but managed to get points on all three drives that started in Red Devil territory. Cooper was 11-for-17 for 83 yards. He added 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Javy Bunton gained 67 yards on 18 carries and Dingle hauled in 5 passes for 42 yards. Standout wide receiver Dez Wilson was injured early in the fall and missed the remainder of the season, causing the Purples to rely heavily in their defense and run game.

Tyler Moore led the Purple defense with 12.5 tackles (11 solo) and 2 pass breakups, with one coming on 4th down. Rece Jones, Bert Kibawa, Seth Rainville, Burwash, Dingle, Nyembo and a host of other Purples shined on defense. Dingle looks like he enjoys playing at Kroger Field.

Owensboro actually outgained Bowling Green 299-199, but several of those yards came when the game was virtually out of reach. Wimsatt finished 31-of-60 for 279 yards. Ethan Avery caught 11 passes for 88 yards. Owensboro gained only 20 yards on 23 carries. Their season ends at 12-1, one game short of their third state title in the school’s illustrious history.

The Purples won their 6th state trophy in 11 years but first since 2016. Current Wildcats Justice Dingle and Vito Tisdale were part of that 2016 Bowling Green team that manhandled Pulaski County 70-22 in the 5A state championship game. Justice Dingle, Jordan’s older brother, just transferred to UK from Georgia Tech.

After the dominant run of 5 titles in 6 years between 2011-2016, it appeared as though Covington Catholic (2017, 2019 state titles) and county rival South Warren (2018 state title) were putting an end to the Bowling Green dynasty. Covington Catholic beat Bowling Green (28-0) in the semifinals last season and South Warren knocked off Bowling Green (10-7) earlier this year. Bowling Green put the state on notice in the playoffs though, knocking out both South Warren (41-24) and Covington Catholic (20-0) on their way to the 2020 state championship. The win today also kept Owensboro from evening the all-time series. Bowling Green runs their record against Owensboro 41-39-2 and is now 1-0 against the Red Devils in state finals. The Purples finish with a 10-2 record, including 4-2 against teams ranked in the KSR Top 25.

PHOTOS

Shoutout to Brenden Miller for hooking KSR up with some images from the state finals.

Photo by Brenden Miller

Photo by Brenden Miller

Photo by Brenden Miller

Photo by Brenden Miller

Photo by Brenden Miller

Article written by Troy Howell

Follow me on twitter @ teeroyhowell