BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Blue Tisdale ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns as Bowling Green beat Cooper 34-20 the KHSAA Class 5A state championship game Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The title is the Purples’ second straight and third overall.
“I’m tickled to death,” Bowling Green coach Kevin Wallace said. “It’s been a fun group to coach, and it’s just an honor to be standing here with a great group of players and coaches.
“We might not have played our best tonight but we played well enough to win. We hung in there and we’ll take the big trophy home.”
Tisdale ran for both of Bowling Green’s second-half touchdowns, including a 2-yarder with eight minutes left to put the Purples up 34-20.
He was able to gain yardage against a Cooper defense that was focusing more on shutting down the Bowling Green passing attack.
“They backed up and we were able to take advantage of it,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale’s last touchdown run came after an 80-yard Cooper touchdown drive had cut the Purples’ lead to 27-20.
Bowling Green marched 59 yards in 11 plays, consuming 5 minutes, 48 seconds, before Tisdale punched it in on a run from the wildcat formation.
The Purples defense then clinched the win, forcing the Jaguars into a turnover on downs.
Safety Allen Gonsalves led the Bowling Green defense with seven tackles and two sacks. He was one of a group of seniors who finished their careers 30-0 over their last two years.
“Me being a senior, it’s a great finish to my high school career,” Gonsalves said. “Us seniors tried to incorporate what we learned last year, and we did it again.”
Bowling Green outgained Cooper 396-248 overall.
Purples quarterback Devin Hayes was 9-for-15 for 173 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Nacarius Fant caught three of Hayes’ passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Fellow receiver Spencer Renfro added three catches for 51 yards and a score.
Cooper quarterback Tyler Morris was 14-of-27 through the air for 153 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for two scores.
Wide receiver Aaron Morgan had nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
The Jaguars, who finished just their fifth season of football, turned the ball over on their first two possessions and trailed 6-0 early.
“After the turnovers we just tried to stay calm on the sideline,” Cooper coach Randy Borchers said. “We knew if we could weather it, we’d be all right.”
Morris knotted the score at 6-6 late in the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Hayes threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Renfro and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Fant to put the Purples up by two scores.
But the Jaguars hung around, cutting the lead to eight right before halftime on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Morgan.
Tisdale ran for a 4-yard touchdown to open the third quarter, pushing the lead to 27-13.
A 13-yard Morris run cut the lead to 27-20. But that was the last score of the day for Cooper.
Newport Central Catholic 30, Caldwell County 26
Josh Cain hit Tyler Lyon on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left as Newport Central Catholic clinched a 30-26 win over Caldwell County in the KHSAA Class 2A championship game Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
It was the Thoroughbreds’ fifth state title, and second in three years.
Cain’s touchdown pass capped a five-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that came after Caldwell’s Brett Seymore kicked a 19-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 26-24 with 2:30 left.
“It was a memorable win, the way a state game should be,” NewCath coach Edward Eviston said. “Caldwell County’s a young team that really took it to us. That was a battle.”
Cain was 14-of-23 passing on the day for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed five times for 32 yards.
Dylan Hayes was NewCath’s top rusher, carrying 27 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Mac Franzen added four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Franzen’s biggest grab of the day was a 54-yard catch on the game-winning drive, getting to the Tigers’ 4-yard line with less than two minutes left.
NewCath rushed for 3 yards on the ensuing first down and then was stopped for a 3-yard loss on second down.
Eviston called a timeout with 30 seconds left and called for a play-action pass.
“I think everyone expected us to run it and go for the field goal,” he said. “We’d worked on that play and the way we were stacking the box we thought we might have had a shot at it.”
Caldwell’s defenders bit on the run fake, allowing Lyon to catch a wide-open pass in the end zone.
“They’d been blitzing and I knew it was going to be there,” Cain said.
Lyon, who had caught just five passes all season going into Saturday’s game, said catching the state title-winning pass was the biggest moment of his career.
“We all have dreams like that, it’s just having it come true is amazing,” he said.
Caldwell’s last-ditch efforts to retake the lead ended when NewCath’s Jack Sutkamp sacked Elijah Sindelar on the game’s final play.
“I don’t think anyone gave us a shot to win the game and we had a shot at the end,” Caldwell coach David Barnes said. “I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys and the way they played this afternoon.”
Sindelar, a strong-armed, 6-foot-4 sophomore, was 21-of-29 passing for 258 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 14 times for 54 yards and a score.
Receiver Martez Sivils caught 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Young added five catches for 80 yards.
Running back Jaylen Boyd ran 21 times for 92 yards. Cole Webster added 10.5 tackles.
The championship game appearance was the first since 1998 for the Tigers, and a game Barnes said he hopes his young team can use as motivation next season.
“It’s a learning experience for us,” Barnes said. “Our kids are going to go back to work and hopefully we’ll be back.”
Trinity 61, Pleasure Ridge Park 7
James Quick fought through a rib injury to catch three passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns as Louisville Trinity beat Pleasure Ridge Park 61-7 in the KHSAA Class 6A state championship game Saturday night at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The Shamrocks (13-1) handed the Panthers (14-1) their first loss of the season in winning their 22nd overall state title, tying Fort Thomas Highlands for the state record. It’s also the Shamrocks’ third straight championship and 10th in the last 12 years.
“We talked about all year how this team had to create its own journey,” Trinity coach Bob Beatty said. “It was rough on these kids all year because everyone wanted to compare us to last year but these guys made their own journey.
“It was a very, very special year, a hard year. They persevered.”
Dalyn Dawkins carried 15 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns and fellow running back L.T. Thomas scored twice.
Quarterback Travis Wright was 15-of-29 passing for 239 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Alex Graehler and Cody Swabek caught one touchdown apiece.
For the Panthers, quarterback Spencer Sumpter was 14-of-33 passing for 147 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also ran 12 times for 32 yards.
But the star of the night was Quick. The wide receiver will choose his college in the coming weeks — likely picking between Louisville, Ohio State and Oregon.
He had caught 82 passes for 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, but was doubtful for Saturday’s game after suffering broken ribs two weeks ago against Louisville St. Xavier in the state quarterfinals.
Quick told Beatty on Friday that he was ready to play, Quick said. After running some routes Friday afternoon and then again during the Saturday morning walk-through, Beatty gave Quick a shot to play.
“You saw how the team responded to him being out here,” Beatty said. “He got everyone fired up.”
He hauled in two long touchdown passes in the third quarter, a 35-yarder from Wright and another 35-yarder on a wide receiver reverse pass from Swabek.
“It means a lot to me as a player to come out here and help my team win,” Quick said.
Trinity scored the game’s first 27 points, 20 of which came in the second quarter.
Pleasure Ridge Park got some defensive stops early but was unable to move the ball much against the Shamrocks’ defensive attack.
Trinity out-gained the Panthers 518 to 251 on the night.
“You don’t want to go out like this,” Pleasure Park Ridge coach Jason Hiser said. “The field position killed us in the first half. We actually got some stops, but their defense was lights out. We’ve got a good offense and we couldn’t get much going early and then we started to play lazy on defense and you can’t play lazy against these guys.”
“You take some bad field position and a few things not going your way and it just kind of snowballed out of control a little bit.”
The Panthers’ Davon Quisenberry hauled in a 14-yard pass from Sumpter late in the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 27-7.
But Quick’s two touchdown grabs in the third quarter put Trinity up by five touchdowns and put the game out of reach.
“They created their own chapter and that’s what it’s about,” Beatty said of his team. “They understand what it is to be successful.”