Despite what some would say is a down year for Danville, the Admirals came through in fine fashion this season. Danville, one half of "Titletown," came into the rematch of last year's title game as a favorite to repeat, especially since the Admirals ran for over 500 yards against the Tigers of Beechwood. However, Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle remembered that game, "Those guys had huge thighs and rear ends and were massive and just moved us right off the ball. So I told my guys this season that we will do more squats than any other school in the state, because we need to be able to run like that."
The time spent in the weight-room paid off coach. Beechwood ran the ball for 253 yards, but more importantly, held Danville and perhaps one of the state's best running backs ever in Kelvin Turner, to 144 yards. Neither team passed the ball effectively with Beechwood's 86 yards and Danville's 35 yards, respectively.
The passing game of Beechwood did not strike often, but it did strike early when quarterback Patrick Muth hit Eric Sawyer for a 54 yard touchdown to open the scoring.
In the first half, Danville relied on running backs Kelvin Turner, who holds the state record for career total touchdowns with 116, and Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins tied the game at 7-7 with an eight yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but Beechwood would tighten the reins on the Danville duo, holding them to 93 yards in the first half.
Sawyer again found the endzone in the second quarter on a 25 yard reception from Muth. The Tigers' limited passing attack opened things up for the running game and Dustin Menetrey. Menetrey rushed the ball 34 times for 187 yards on the day and was named MVP of the Class A State Championship.
Beechwood used the steady ground game to pound out the clock and the Admiral defense. The Tigers ammased 179 yards in the second half and chewed up almost 17 minutes of clock, while Danville managed only 30 yards on the ground. Beechwood would add a Patrick Muth 24-yard field goal and a Muth three-yard touchdown run to break the game open and abolish any chance for a repeat by Danville. Beechwood wins its first state title since 1999, 23-7.
Danville's Kelvin Turner finished a stellar career with 7,160 yards, 109 rushing touchdowns, and 702 points. Turner is only 20 points shy of the state's all-time record of 722 points, set by Old Kentucky Home's Herbie Phelps 41 years ago.
Yeagle was brought to tears in the post game press conference when he talked about Dustin Menetrey, "He means more to me than any player I've ever coached," Yeagle said, "He is a special kid and if any college looks past him, they need to look again."
"We didn't really focus on Turner this week," Yeagle commented, "I don't believe I said his name more than once. We focused on Menetrey!"
Menetrey, tired and bloody, diverted any attention away from his performance, "My offensive line played so well and got off the ball great and all the credit for my game goes to them!"
Stay Tuned to KentuckyPrepReport.com for updates on Dustin Menetrey and Kelvin Turner.
Class 2A Championship
Owensboro Catholic 21
Louisville, KY -- Doug Howard rushed 32 times for 278 yards and three scores and was named MVP of the Class 2A State Finals.
The Class 2-A State Championship featured two teams with distinct looks of their own. Belfry, a powerhouse football program, likes to ram the ball down its opponents' throats. Owensboro Catholic looks to use its air attack, which is led by Marshall commit Zach Barnard.
Offense was the key word in this matchup, meaning, the numbers put up by both squads were quite frankly, offensive! Belfry racked up 526 yards on the ground alone. And yes, alone is the right word due to the fact that Belfry threw the ball three times for zero yards.
On the other side of the field, Owensboro Catholic relied heavily on standout quarterback, Zach Barnard, a Marshall commit. Barnard threw the ball 35 times, completing 22 of those passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns.
Belfry started the scoring in the ballgame on a 43-yard scamper by Doug Howard. Howard came into the game with 1790 yards on the season. He would surpass 2,000 yards by the start of the fourth quarter.
Zach Barnard completed a 65 yard strike to wideout Jacob Randolph to take the lead 7-6. That lead, however, would be short-lived as Belfry and Howard would march 70 yards to go up 14-7 after a David Jones 2-point conversion.
Now one would think that if a running back rushes the ball 27 times for 176 yards and a touchdown, like UK commit David Jones, he would be the star and statistical leader. One would be wrong. Doug Howard chewed up and devoured the artificial turf in the pizza box, running all over Owensboro Catholic for 278 yards.
Jones' only score came in the first half and put Belfry up 21-7 at halftime. Both Jones and Howard accrued over 100 yards in the first half, while Barnard threw for 201 yards.
Belfry took the second half kickoff and looked to literally run away with the ballgame after Howard's third touchdown, a 64 yard sweep to the right that seemed to crush any hopes of a state title for the Aces of Owensboro Catholic.
As dominant as Howard was in the first half, Barnard was just as impressive in the third frame. Barnard threw for 140 yards and two scores, pulling Owensboro Catholic within seven at 28-21.
Belfry failed to score again in the fourth quarter as turnovers seemed to keep giving the Aces life. Barnard would have two different opportunities late in the fourth quarter, but two interceptions on Owensboro Catholics' last two possessions would seal it for the Pirates of Belfry. Belfry would hang on to win 28-21 for its second consecutive state title.
Belfry coach Philip Haywood, when asked about the zero yards through the air, said, "Well we only threw the ball three times! That's a lot for us! Everytime we did throw the ball we heard it from our fans in the crowd, so we stopped doing it."
"Our running backs (Howard, Jones, and Gary Childers) mean so much to this team and not just because of the numbers they put up," Haywood continues, "Now they do put up great numbers, but these kids are seniors and they each stepped up when we needed them to," said Haywood when asked about his offense.
Stay tuned to KentuckyPrepReport.com for updates on Doug Howard, David Jones, and Zach Barnard.
Class 3A Championship
Boyle County 6
Fort Thomas Highlands 22
Louisville, KY -- Boyle County had won five straight State Titles, the first two in Class 2-A and the last three in 3-A. Fort Thomas Highlands ended 'Titletown's' reign, 22-6, forcing six turnovers.
Boyle County left the Championship game for the first time holding the runners-up trophy in six years. The five previous years, the Rebels owned the show, as well as Class 2-A and 3-A football. Last year, the Highlands Bluebirds fell to Boyle County in the Championship game, but this year came away victorious, 22-6.
Turnovers and penalties plagued both teams from start to finish in the Class 3-A Title game. The first half alone saw 13 penalties for close to 100 yards. Boyle County was penalized seven times for 64 yards, but the offense seemed to penalize itself more. Quarterback Brandon Smith, a Mr. Football candidate, threw three interceptions and running back Quinn Givhan would fumble once, leading to two Justin Auton field goals. Smith, would however, find Seth Temme in the endzone in the second quarter. The score at the half was tied at six apiece.
The second half only got uglier for the defending champions, as 6 more penalties racked the offense and the clock-killing Highlands offense baffled the Rebel defense. In the third quarter, Highlands running back James Hubbard took a Chase Cecil pitch, ran right and threw the ball to a wide-open Chris Owens, who was chased down at the Boyle County two-yard line.
"I've wanted to throw that pass since little league," Hubbard said. "I asked coach all year long to let me throw it and he came to me before the game and said I would get the chance."
The half-back pass summarized the entire day for Boyle County as they tried to find anything to work, but could not even find 'Waldo.' Hubbard would go on to score from the one-yard line, putting the Bluebirds up 12-6.
The Hubbard touchdown would be all Highlands would need. Another Auton field goal in the third frame and a Jordan Kramer touchdown in the fourth put the game out of reach and put Boyle County out of its misery, 22-6.
The Rebels finished the game with 181 total yards of offense and 111 yards in penalties. Six turnovers, four by quarterback Brandon Smith, led to the destruction of the Rebel Empire and left the entire makeup of Class 3-A football altered.
Highlands Head Coach Dale Mueller beamed with joy when he spoke of his football team, "These guys have been what a high school football team is supposed to be for the last 365 days." Mueller would later reflect back on last year's Title game, saying, "They were like 11 Marines out there last year and we worked out, hit the weight room, practiced incredibly hard because we wanted to be like 70 Navy Seals. Today, these kids played like Navy Seals."
Hubbard finished the game with 132-yards of offense, 71 on the ground, and was named MVP of the Class 3-A State Championship.
Just hours before kickoff, Highlands star Running Back Michael Mitchell was declared ineligible to play by the KHSAA for a transfer violation.
Stay Tuned to KentuckyPrepReport.com for updates on Brandon Smith, Highlands Safety Jordan Nevels, and Highlands Linebacker Ben Guidugli.
Class 4A Championship
St. Xavier 49 Scott Co. 9
Louisville, KY -- Sophomore running back Victor Anderson rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns, leading St. Xavier to a victory over Scott County and the Class 4-A State Crown.
Happy Birthday Saint Xavier Coach Mike Glaser! Glaser celebrated his 52nd birthday with his 6th Kentucky Class 4-A State Title. The Tigers used stellar performances from running backs Justin Brown and Victor Anderson to flat out dominate Scott County Saturday night in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, 49-9. St. Xavier had seven rushing touchdowns on the night with Brown and Anderson combining for six of those scores.
"We have a great respect for this Scott County team," Glaser said after the game, "They are the reason we had to prepare so well and practice so hard."
The game started with both teams punting on its first possession. On St. Xavier's second possession, Victor Anderson took a pitch to the right, broke a few tackles and ran away from the Cardinals' defense like he owed it money, for a 61 yard touchdown and just like that it was 7-0, St. Xavier.
After a partially blocked punt on Scott County's second possession, St. Xavier took control at the Scott County 33-yard line. St. Xavier quarterback Brent Curley led the Tigers down to the Cardinals' 3-yard line, where Anderson would fight his way to a second touchdown and putting the Tigers up 14-0 early.
In the second quarter, Victor Anderson picked up where he left off, simply blowing by the Scott County defense and taking his team to a 21-0 lead on a 34 yard touchdown run.
"I could just smell the endzone tonight," Anderson said, "As soon as I'd break a tackle, I'd look up and my nose would smell the endzone."
The third touchdown of the night for Anderson seemed to shut the doors on Scott County and its hopes for the Championship. St. Xavier's defense took over late in the first half, intercepting two passes and providing its offense with prime field position.
The Tigers took advantage of the great field position, finding the endzone twice more in the first half, breaking the game open 35-0 on two Justin Brown scores.
With such a commanding lead, the defense of St. Xavier looked very comfortable, holding Scott County to only nine points on the night and giving Mike Glaser a very big birthday gift. Scott County's only touchdown on the night came with zero seconds on the clock on a pass from quarterback Cody Andrews to Rodney Haddix.
Anderson's mate in the backfield, Justin Brown finished the game with 97 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers ran the ball for 339 yards, led by Anderson's 151.
The lone bright spot for Scott County was the play of standout running back Ted Sberna, who rushed the ball 23 times for a hard-fought 119 yards. Sberna also returned four kicks for a total of 136 yards, including an 85-yard return that led to a missed field goal in the first quarter.
After the game, the Tigers did their best Marilyn Monroe impression serenading Glaser in a beautiful rendition of 'Happy Birthday.' Glaser just laughed, thanking his team for his sixth State Title, "I just want to thank you all for a great season. You all worked your tails off and this is what it got you." Glaser went on to say, "We had you guys in the weight room on Christmas Eve and on Spring Break, but this win doesn't give you those days off. I expect you in there both Christmas Eve and on Spring Break."
Before the game started, rumors were flying in abundance that this would be Glaser's final season as Head Coach of the St. Xavier Tigers. Glaser would dispute those rumors, "I'm not going anywhere! I love these guys and I love this team! This championship just reaffirms what myself and the coaching staff have been doing here."
One somber moment in the game occured in the final moments when Senior Defensive Lineman Alex Reid was sent out onto the field in his final game after being injured against Henderson County in the semifinals.
Stay Tuned to KentuckyPrepReport.com for updates on Ted Sberna, William Lewis, Victor Anderson, and Alex Reid.