NKY Football: Tough Opening Round for Local Teams as Most are Eliminated

Twenty-one Northern Kentucky high school football teams are in the state playoffs that started Friday night.

Twenty of them took the field (Beechwood has a first-round bye in Class 1A).

Only eight survived.

The carnage included two of the region's toughest teams, with both Ludlow (Class 1A) and Ryle (Class 6A) being upset at home by teams from Louisville.

Bright spots included Covington Catholic (Class 4A) staying undefeated, Scott (Class 4A) winning big, and Walton-Verona (Class 2A) running up the scoreboard with 72 points.

Here's a look at what happened.

Louisville Holy Cross 30, Ludlow 21

It started as a dream season for Ludlow in which the Panthers opened with seven straight wins.

But a trip to Beechwood on October 13 ended with a 63-0 loss, and Ludlow finished the year losing three of its last four games, including a heart-breaker at home Friday night against Louisville Holy Cross in the opening round of the KHSAA Class 1A football playoffs.

Ludlow finishes the season at 8-3.

The game on Friday got off to a tough start for Ludlow, including a bad snap on a punt that gave Holy Cross the ball and a short field to work with.

The Panthers were able to punch in a late-first half touchdown, and trailed at the break 17-7.

The third quarter was scoreless, so Ludlow had to make up its ground in the fourth. And they came close.

With 1:40 to play, Ludlow closed the gap to 23-21.

But Holy Cross answered with one of its own, and put the game out of reach, ending the Panthers' season.

One bright note: senior quarterback/linebacker Justin Blackburn set a new Ludlow record for rushing yards in a season and became the school's all-time leading rusher.

Other class 1A results:

Frankfort blasted Bellevue out of the state capital ending the Tigers' season, 42-0. Bellevue finishes 5-6 on the year. Frankfort (7-4) will play Beechwood (8-2), which had a bye in the first round, in next week's second round.

Bishop Brossart saw its season end on the road at the hands of Raceland, 55-14. The Mustangs finish the year at 5-6.

Dayton was roughed up in Louisville and had its season ended by Kentucky Country Day, 55-0. The Greendevils went 1-10 this year.

In Class 2A...

Lloyd, Walton-Verona, and Newport Central Catholic are all moving on while Holy Cross and Newport were knocked out.

Walton-Verona improved to 9-2, winning its sixth straight game, a streak in which the Bearcats have only given up 7 points, outscoring opponents 307 to 7. On Friday night, Walton slaughtered Shawnee, 72-0, its highest scoring game of the season. Next week, Walton hosts Christian Academy of Louisville (9-2) in the second round.

Lloyd improved to 8-3 with a 43-6 win over Green Co in Erlanger. Next week, the Juggernauts get to stay home and play host to Monroe Co. (8-3) in the second round.

Newport Central Catholic is now 6-5 after beating Metcalfe Co., 37-12 at home on Friday. Next week, the Thoroughbreds hit the road to Glasgow (8-3).

Holy Cross finished its season without a win, 0-11, losing Friday night to Glasgow, 64-0. The young Indians will look to bounce back next season.

Newport's season ended at the hands of Monroe Co., 36 to 6. The Wildcats finished 2-9 this season.

In Class 4A...

Scott 49, Rowan Co. 7

Scott overcame a penalty-filled first half and ran away from Rowan County, 49-7, Friday night in Taylor Mill, as Perrin brothers, Nelson and Quincy, led the Eagles with five combined touchdowns.

Eagles fullback Alex Thurza opened the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run on a reverse – a play Scott relied upon throughout the game to its advantage vs. a Vikings defense that had surrendered an average of 34 points per game to its seven previous opponents. On its ensuing drive after the Thurza score, Rowan County sophomore quarterback Devon Stevens mishandled the snap and Scott recovered at the Vikings 40.

Following consecutive runs of eight and seven yards, respectively, Eagles junior Chad Ohmer was intercepted by Rowan County’s Devin Davidson near the goal line on a pass thrown into double coverage. However, the Vikings were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt. On first-and-10 from their own 39, Eagles left tackle Eric Linton’s false start penalty pushed Scott back five yards. Quincy Perrin was then tackled several yards out of bounds following a second down run and the Vikings gave Scott its lost yardage back. Two plays later, offsetting penalties occurred as Quincy Perrin was brought down by his facemask; but, the run was nullified by a holding call by the Eagles, simultaneously. To pour salt on the wound, Ohmer was stripped and fumbled on the Eagles next play and Rowan County recovered. The opening quarter’s flurry of flags ended with Scott holding on to an 8-0 lead.

Following a missed 45-yard field goal attempt, the Eagles slowly began to pull away despite multiple miscues. A holding penalty pushed back the Eagles after a six-yard run from Quincy Perrin. Nelson Perrin broke a long gain down to the Vikings 25, but the play was negated due to holding. Nelson bailed out his team several plays later cutting back across the field from left-to- right, making a defender miss at the goal line to complete an athletic, zig-zagging 45-yard effort for the senior. Perrin again found the end zone, picking up a fumbled exchange, taking it 60 yards the other way as the Vikings second turnover in as many drives gave Scott a 22-0 lead with under five minutes to play before halftime.

On its ensuing possession, Stevens hesitated as the ball fell to the turf, giving the Eagles another chance to widen its lead as it recovered Stevens’s miscue. Quincy Perrin shot through the left side of the line on Scott’s first play from scrimmage and the home team added 14 points in less than a minute, 29-0. With the ball back and time running out after a Vikings punt, Ohmer spiked the football, stopping the clock at 12 seconds.

However, a false start penalty on third down left the Eagles confused and searching for answers as it left the field for halftime when the clock was restarted and ran out. Head Coach Dan Woolley stood on the field for several minutes conversing with the referees as his players filed behind him into the locker room. Woolley said a new rule was instituted this season that enabled an opponent the option of letting the clock run out after a penalty is called.

“It’s a new this year where the opposing team can choose to start the clock after a penalty. It’s nothing he [the referee] did or anything; I’m just trying to learn. We
had a great crew tonight that was receptive to that, answering all the questions," he said.

The Eagles hastened the game’s pace early in the third, courtesy of a 41-yard run by Quincy Perrin, enabling a running clock on the sophomore’s second touchdown of the evening. After a Rowan County punt, Perrin scored for the final time on second down, outrunning Vikings defenders 73 yards nearly untouched on a play preceded by a Scott fumble that was eventually ruled an incomplete pass.

Stevens put Rowan County on the board with a 37-yard touchdown toss to senior Noah Tansil, who came down with the jump ball between two Eagles defenders. But on the ensuing kickoff, Scott’s David Patrick put the Eagles deep into Vikings territory with a 53-yard return to set his team up for their final score of the game to conclude the third quarter.

Several plays later, Patrick bulled his way into the end zone from three yards out to put the Eagles up, 49-7.

Despite the margin of victory, Woolley was not satisfied with his team’s effort, saying championship squads don’t make the number of mistakes the Eagles did on Friday night.

“We’ve obviously got to clean some things up. Some of the penalties we had were mental errors and mental errors we can’t have. If you’re downfield 15 yards blocking, and you get a block in the back, that stuff is going to happen because you’re giving good effort, those things are going to happen and we are never going to be able to stop it; that’s the game of football and why the refs are there. But it’s cleaning up some of the things we can control,” Woolley said.

Scott (8-3) continues its season in the second round of the playoffs with Johnson Central next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Paintsville. The Eagles look to stop their two-game playoff skid against the Golden Eagles, who eliminated Scott in 2015 and 2016.

Ashland Blazer 52, Holmes 6... The Bulldogs saw their challenging season end with a record of 3-8. It is the fifth straight losing season for the Holmes program.

In Class 5A...

Covington Catholic is now 11-0 on the year, rolling over Bullitt East, 56 to 14 in Park Hills on Friday night. Next week, the heavily-favored Colonels get a visit from another Bullitt Co. team, Bullitt Central (7-4).

Bullitt Central ended the season for Dixie Heights (3-8), 18 to 14 in a game played in Nelson Co.

Highlands had no ttrouble at home on Friday night during a visit from Oldham Co. The Bluebirds (6-5) won, 34 to 7, their third straight win, Read the game recap at Fort Thomas Matters.

In Class 6A...

All the Boone County teams were knocked out, including one of the region's toughest teams.

Ryle was just two weeks removed from ending Simon Kenton's unbeaten streak and had racked up four straight wins, but the Raiders' season ended at 8-3, as Louisville Butler rolled out of Union with a 20-14 win.

Simon Kenton had no trouble with Jeffersontown, winning 48 to 17, and improving to 10-1 on the year. Next week, the Pioneers stay home to host Louisville Ballard (6-5) in the second round. Ballard ended Boone Co.'s season, 20 to 12. The Rebels finish at 1-10.

Campbell Co. held off Louisville Eastern, 19 to 14, earning the Camels (7-4) a trip to Louisville to face undefeated Trinity in next week's second round.

Cooper lost at home to Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park, 37 to 12, finishing the season at 2-9. Conner was also knocked out, losing big at Louisville Male, 64 to 0, to finish the season at 4-7.

Written by Brian Frey in Ludlow, Jason Finnell in Taylor Mill, and Michael Monks in Covington