Covington Catholic took advantage of two Fairdale fumbles on two separate opening drives and led 14-0 one minute into their Class 5A opening round playoff game Friday night in Park Hills and never looked back, cruising to a 63-7 victory over the Bulldogs.
Almost three minutes into the first quarter, Cov Cath defensive back Adam Schneider snuffed out Fairdale’s momentum inside Colonels’ territory, intercepting Jordan Brock at the 28-yard line. Three plays later, Sam Schuh took a screen pass from AJ Mayer 37 yards down to the Bulldogs’ 24. Mayer outraced the Fairdale defense on the Colonels’ ensuing play, for a 24-yard score and 21-7 lead with five minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Following a three-and-out Bulldogs’ possession, Cov Cath drove down the field, powered by a 40-yard catch-and-run by Jack Coldiron to the Fairdale 20. Sophomore running back Casey McGinness then found the end zone from three yards out to put the Colonels up 21 to complete the first quarter.
Beginning their next drive on its own 38, Ryan O’Connell took a handoff from Mayer around the right side down to the Bulldogs’ 38. McGinness capped off the Colonels’ drive with a 17-yard score and 35-7 lead with 8:27 left in the second.
On second-and-four at the Cov Cath 35, Brock fumbled as he was hit and the Colonels recovered. With the ball back, Mayer found Alex Christmann over the middle for a 35-yard touchdown, his pass narrowly splitting two Bulldogs’ defenders. Cov Cath stretched its lead to 42-7.
The Colonels ensured a running clock in the second half when junior Grant Dyer took a handoff seven yards off right tackle for a 49-7 score into the half.
McGinness continued where he left off to begin the third for the Colonels, culminating in a 34-yard touchdown run and a 56-7 lead. Fairdale’s Korey Morgan then picked up the ensuing kickoff and stepped out on his own one-yard line. The Colonels partially blocked the Bulldogs’ punt from inside its end zone, setting Cov Cath up for its final score of the game. With backups in, Colonels’ new quarterback Tyler Reusch handed the ball off to Jacob Shriver, who took it in from 14 yards out with just under five minutes still remaining in the third.
In the win, McGinness pushed his rushing yards total for the season to over 1,000.
Cov Cath (8-3) stays home to face Louisville Doss next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Other Playoff Scores
Kentucky Country Day 42, Dayton 6. The season ends for the Greendevils on the road in Louisville. Dayton finishes at 2-9, with a 7-game losing streak.
Beechwood 56, Eminence 6. The Tigers had no trouble at home in the first round and just racked up their seventh consecutive win. Beechwood (9-2) hosts Louisville Holy Cross next week in round 2.
Louisville Holy Cross 38, Ludlow 12. The Panthers see their season end at 3-8.
Frankfort 53, Bellevue 16. The Tigers' season ends at 3-8.
Raceland 47, Bishop Brossart 21. A good season for the Mustangs came to an end Friday night at the hands of a tough Raceland squad. Brossart ends the year at 8-3.
Holy Cross 55, Owen Co. 12. It's four wins in a row for the Indians who improved to 8-3 on the year and march on to Round 2 next week at Walton-Verona.
Walton-Verona 50, Newport 0. The Bearcats easily put an end to Newport's season. Walton improves to 7-4 and hosts Holy Cross next week. The Wildcats finish the year at 1-10.
Lloyd 44, Gallatin Co. 0. The Juggernauts put more than 40 points on the scoreboard for the second straight game and put away Gallatin Co. easily. Lloyd is now 6-5 and heads to Newport Central Catholic next week for Round 2.
Newport Central Catholic 43, Carroll Co. 6. The Thoroughbreds bounced back from last week's lopsided loss to Beechwood by putting down Carroll Co. New Cath improves to 6-5 and hosts Lloyd next week.
Johnson Central 54, Scott 7. A tough season for the Eagles ends at 2-9.
Dixie Heights 37, Louisville Southern 12. The Colonels pulled away in the opening round of the playoffs and improved to 6-5. Next week Dixie travels to Louisville to face Fern Creek.
Louisville Doss 52, Highlands 32. The Bluebirds unusually difficult season ends at 3-8.
Ryle 47, Lexington Henry Clay 3. The Raiders are off to a hot start in the post-season and are now 11-0 this year. Next week is a rematch in Union with Cooper.
Cooper 35, Lexington Bryan Station 7. The Jaguars improved to 7-4 setting up a big date next week with Ryle.
Conner 39, Lexington Paul Dunbar 8. The Cougars are now 9-2 and travel to Scott Co. for round two next week.
Simon Kenton 56, George Rogers Clark 6. The Pioneers picked up their tenth win of the year with an easy victory over George Rogers Clark in Independence. Simon Kenton (10-1) hosts Campbell Co. next week.
Campbell Co. 26, Madison Central 21. The Camels hit the road on Friday and came back with an upset win, improving to 4-7. Next week, the bracket is even tougher for Campbell Co. with a trip to Simon Kenton.
Lexington Tates Creek 34, Boone Co. 27. The Rebels hung tough in Florence but fell short of picking up a second win in a season that saw its 28-game losing streak end. Boone Co. finishes the year at 1-10.
-Jason Finnell in Park Hills and Michael Monks in Covington