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NKY Football Playoffs: Simon Kenton Rolls, Scott's Dream Season Continues

Eight Northern Kentucky teams survive and advance in the high school football post-season after Friday night's games.

Simon Kenton proved to be unbeatable again. Scott's dream run continues after a big comeback. And the season ends for Walton-Verona, Ryle, Holy Cross, and Conner.

Here's what happened:

Scott 28, Ashland Blazer 18

Ashland Blazer junior running back Kurtlen Brown played a key role in the Tomcats’ early 18-0 lead in the first quarter Friday night vs. Scott with two touchdowns. But, he later fueled an Eagles’ comeback, fumbling twice – each time ending in Scott touchdowns -- as the home team stormed back with 28 unanswered points to advance to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs for the first time in school history, 28-18.

Brown diced up the Scott defense on the Tomcats’ initial drive of the game, opening up with a 58-yard run down the sideline into Eagles’ territory. A few plays later, he found the end zone, completing a three-play, 69-yard drive for a 6-0 Ashland Blazer lead.

On its first drive, Scott senior quarterback Danny Fitzgerald tried to pull the ball back to his chest, deciding not to throw, but fumbled and Tomcats’ defensive lineman Bryce Wright scooped it up and rambled down to the Scott 12. But four plays later on fourth down, Ashland Blazer still found itself at the 12-yard line and were unable to take advantage of its great field position and gave the ball back to Scott. 

Only this time, the Eagles gave it right back. The Tomcats took advantage of a Fitzgerald sack-and-fumble inside the Scott 10, and three plays later, fullback Noah Roberts gave Ashland Blazer a 12-0 lead with a one-yard run up the middle.

Following a Scott punt on its next possession, the Tomcats’ would find the end zone for what would be the final time of the evening. With under a minute left in the first quarter, Brown found the end zone from five yards out, capping a six-play, 65-yard drive for Ashland Blazer and an 18-0 advantage.

Then, the Eagles began to chip away into the Tomcats’ lead. Led by several big runs from sophomore Nelson Perrin, Scott was able to score before halftime via a fourth down slant pass from Fitzgerald to sophomore receiver Ryan Muck. Beginning its next drive deep in its own territory at the 14, Brown took a handoff around the right side but was hit and fumbled. Two plays later, Perrin inched Scott closer with an eight-yard touchdown run and the Ashland Blazer lead was cut to five going into halftime.

To begin the third, Eagles duo Perrin and senior running back Roberto London took turns gaining significant yards on the ground, culminating in a one-yard run for London with 6:38 to go, giving Scott its first lead of the game, 21-18. On its first play from scrimmage on the next drive, Brown put the ball on the ground for the second time, giving Scott another chance to capitalize. But Tomcats’ senior cornerback Josh Bradley intercepted a third-and-long Fitzgerald pass over the middle, bailing out his teammate. 

Despite being knocked out of the game briefly on their ensuing possession following an 11-yard scramble and hit out of bounds, Fitzgerald returned to give Scott a key third down conversion to Perrin. 

Following a facemask penalty on the play that gave the Eagles’ possession at the Tomcats’ 18, Muck capped an 80-yard drive for Scott on a pass from Fitzgerald and a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter, 28-18. The Eagles’ did not score again in the fourth but held Ashland Blazer scoreless, sealing the game with 3:17 to go, picking off a floating pass over the middle from Tomcats’ junior quarterback Tate Dowdy.

With the win, Scott (10-2) advances to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history and did so without one of its best players, senior running back Deondre Pleasant. Despite his season-ending injury against Rowan County last week, Scott Head Coach Dan Woolley said his team was up for the challenge. “Anytime you lose a player the quality of Deondre, it’s a big loss. We’ve had a good team the whole year and it hasn’t been a one-man show and we’ve got multiple guys…we’ve got multiple guys with 500 yards rushing, five or more touchdowns. We’ve got a lot of weapons to account for,” he said, also giving his team credit for the fight it showed after being down 18 points early. “The game ain’t over until it says zero,” he told his team.

Johnson Central (10-1) pays a visit to Scott next Friday at 7:30 after its 49-6 victory over Greenup County.

-Jason Finnell