Male advanced to the state championship with a 50-0 win over Central Hardin. The best defense in the state held Central Hardin to 98 total yards on 38 plays. Hayden Shelton was 15/18 for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Louisville commit Keion Wakefield returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown as Male had a running clock midway through the second quarter. Male will take on Lafayette in the state title after the Generals beat Simon Kenton 42-28. Lafayette had to climb out of a hole on the road once again when they trailed 28-12. Mason Alstatt and Walker Wood led the Generals to their first state title since 1985. Walker Wood threw for 305 yards (194 to Quinton Brown) and ran for 105 yards. Alstatt had 136 yards on the ground as the Generals scored 30 consecutive points to advance to the title. Male and Lafayette will play next Saturday at 5 in Bowling Green.
Bowling Green pitched a shutout at home to win 21-0 over Fern Creek. Clark Payne threw three touchdowns, including two to Jamale Carothers. Tre Fant picked off his ninth pass of the season to set up the final 65-yard TD pass from Payne to Carothers. Bowling Green has been in four of the last five state title games. They have won the last three, including one over their opponent this year. Pulaski County needed 27 unanswered point to come back and beat Highlands 41-31. Nick Kendall ran for two first half touchdowns and Austin Hergott added two more as the Bluebirds jumped out to a 31-14 leads. But Pulaski County could not be stopped in the second half. George Gregory ran for three second half touchdowns and four total. Riley Hall threw for 348 yards and will lead his team to their third straight state title appearance. The Purples and Maroons will play next Saturday at 8.
Johnson Central and South Warren are both headed to the state title for the first time in each school’s history. JCHS had to stand tall and withstand a late comeback from Wayne County, but the Golden Eagles stood tall. Johnson Central allowed only 44 rushing yards while running for 144 yards and two scores themselves. Bryce Workman threw for 133 yards, including a 71-yard TD pass to Geordon Blanton in the first quarter. South Warren’s defense shut down yet another running attack in a 36-6 win over Shelby County. The Spartans led 28-0 at the half with two touchdowns in the final seconds of the half. Ryder Litten had five touchdowns to force a running clock in the second half. Michael Perry and Malik Manica were non-factors for Shelby County on the ground. This was the 12th time that South Warren had allowed fewer than 10 points in a game. The 4A title will be next Sunday at 7.
Lexington Catholic is on their way to their first state title since 2007 after beating Elizabethtown 35-14. Andy Thompson totaled 263 yards and Jaylen Jones ran for 139 to end the Panthers undefeated season. The Knights rebounded nicely after a 3-3 start and losing Legend Brumbaugh to injury. Lexington Catholic has won eight straight games and will take on Belfry next week. Belfry is now 13-1 after a 42-14 over Corbin. The Pirates were in control for the entirety of the game and advanced to their sixth straight title game. Xondre Willis ran for 151 yards and a touchdown and Andrew Fletcher added 92 yards. LexCatch and Belfry will play next Sunday at 4.
Both Mayfield and Newport Central Catholic survived scares in the semifinals to advance to the state championship. Mayfield beat DeSales 24-19 behind Trajon Bright’s 145 yards on 40(!) carries. The Colts picked off Landon Arnett three times, but Arnett bounced back late. Arnett found Kevin Caldwell for six to give Mayfield the final lead of the game. DeSales will not get a chance for a three-peat, but Mayfield will look for their fourth straight title against NCC. Newport Catholic struggled heading into the fourth quarter. Jacob Smith ran for two touchdowns in the final minutes to beat Danville 15-7. Danville out-gained NCC, but could not put up points late in the game. The Thoroughbreds will take on Mayfield next Sunday at 1.
Pikeville got their revenge on Paintsville after an early season loss. The Panthers won 42-23 over Paintsville in the battle in the mountains. Kash Daniel was out with an MCL sprain, and it was evident that the Tigers defense missed him. Kent Phelps helped to pace the Paintsville offense early with a TD pass and kickoff return. But the Pikeville offense proved to be too much in the second half. Wyatt Battaile threw three touchdowns and Daric Pugh ran for two scores. Pugh had 234 of the Panthers’ 388 rushing yards in the win. Pikeville will play traditional powerhouse Beechwood next week. Brett Slusher ran for three touchdowns in the win. Beechwood returns to the state title for the first time since 2008. Pikeville and Beechwood will play on Thursday night at 7.
We will have full coverage throughout the week leading up to the championship games.