NKY High School Football: What Happened in First Round of the Playoffs
Mixed results for Northern Kentucky teams as the high school football playoffs got underway Friday night.
Of the region's five Class 1A teams, four saw their seasons come to an end, including Bishop Brossart, which had gotten off to a red hot start this year. Only surging Beechwood survived, thrashing Eminence, 62-0. Bellevue, Dayton, and Ludlow, which also had a solid season, were eliminated.
Class 2A saw better results for local teams. Newport Catholic, Lloyd, Holy Cross, and Walton-Verona all advanced, though the latter did so at the expense of struggling Newport.
There was excitement in Class 4A as the Scott Eagles scored their first playoff victory in more than a dozen years, and heartache as the Holmes Bulldogs saw their season end at Johnson Central.
The larger schools also put on a show.
Dixie surprised Montgomery Co. in Class 5A action where Highlands and Covington Catholic also rolled.
In Class 6A, Conner held off a strong fight from Campbell Co. and Ryle put an end to a winless season for Boone Co. Simon Kenton and Cooper manhandled a pair of teams from Louisville.
Here's what happened:
Scott 33, Rowan Co. 26
Scott played host to Rowan County in a game that came with much anticipation for the Eagle faithful. It was the first time in school history they had hosted a playoff game. Not only have they never hosted a playoff game, but they haven't won one since 2002. However, that would change Friday night as Scott won in exciting fashion by the score of 33-26.
Both defenses came out of the gate playing strong. The first score of the game came at the 7:52 mark of the second quarter on a trick play from Rowan County. It was a 20-yard triple reverse pass from tight end Blake Chapman to fellow tight end Dalton Martin. With that score, Rowan County went up, 7-0.
Scott answered on the first play of the following drive with an explosive 65-yard touchdown run from sophomore wide receiver Nelson Perrin. The extra point was blocked, making the score 7-6 in favor Rowan County with 7:39 remaining in the second quarter.
Rowan County responded to that score with a long, methodical seven minute drive behind the legs of senior fullback Jeffery Masters. He carried the ball eleven times for 44-yards on the drive, and eventually punched it from 1-yard out with 28 seconds left in the first half. Thanks to that score, Rowan County carried a 14-6 lead going into halftime.
Scott had the ball to start the second half, and they got the scoring going in what would be an exciting half of football. On the fourth play of the drive, quarterback Danny Fitzgerald flew past the Rowan County defense for a 41-yard touchdown run. After a failed two-point conversion, the score was 14-12 in Rowan County’s favor with 10:54 to go in the third quarter.
Rowan County got the ball back hoping to answer with a score of their own. It appeared that was going to be the case after a strong start to the drive, but the Scott defense came up with a huge fumble recovery instead. The fumble was recovered by senior defensive back, Skyler Hale.
With the ball at the Rowan County 40-yard line, Scott had a golden opportunity to take the lead. They would do just that thanks to a 3-yard run from Danny Fitzgerald. After another missed extra point, Scott took an 18-14 lead with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
Rowan County would answer on the ensuing drive with a shifty 14-yard touchdown run from quarterback Devin Helvey. Rowan County would miss the extra-point, making the score 20-18 in their favor.
On the ensuing drive, Rowan County nose guard Kyle Fannin took the life out of the Scott crowd by intercepting a screen pass and returning it for 63-yards all the way to the Scott 7-yard line. Rowan County would score a few plays later on a 1-yard run from Jeffery Masters. After a crucial missed extra-point, Rowan County had a 26-18 lead with 7:45 left in the game.
Scott was down, but not out. Quarterback Danny Fitzgerald struggled to throw the ball most of the evening. However, on a third and long with six minutes left in the game, he fired a strike down the middle of the field to Nelson Perrin for a 45-yard touchdown play that very well may have saved the season for the Scott Eagles. Thanks to a successful two-point conversion from Perrin himself, the score was tied, 26-26 with 6:08 left in the game.
Rowan County had six minutes to march the ball down the field and win the game. After a few first downs, the Scott faithful started getting a little bit nervous. However, their nerves were eased when Scott came up with a huge stop on 4th and 1 with 2:32 left in the game. A few plays later, Nelson Perrin ran it in from 25-yards out to give Scott a 33-26 lead with just 45-seconds left on the clock. That would end up being the final score as Scott celebrated their first playoff win in more than a dozen years.
Head Coach Dan Woolley was very proud of his team for accomplishing this feat. “I’m just proud of the way they kept fighting. They’ve never been in this situation before, and they had had to get over the hump. They got over the hump,” said Woolley. Scott (9-2) now turns their focus toward a meeting with Ashland Blazer (9-2) in a Class 4A second round matchup next Friday in Taylor Mill.
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