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High School Football Playoffs - Round 1: NKY Results

The first round of the Kentucky high school football playoffs is in the books. Some Northern Kentucky teams are moving on, and others are hanging it up until next year.

Class 1A:

Ludlow held off a comeback attempt by Louisville Holy Cross, winning at home on Friday night, 45-34. The Panthers (8-3) advance to the next round to face Frankfort (7-3), which earned a bye in the first round. RCN was at the Ludlow-Holy Cross game and has a full story and photos below.

Bishop Brossart, Bellevue, and Bracken Co. all lost their games on Friday.

Class 2A:

Lloyd held off Washington Co. in a shootout, 50-44, in Erlanger. The Juggernauts (7-4) will take on Christian Academy of Louisville (11-0), which had no trouble ending Holy Cross's season, 62-0.

Walton-Verona ran away from Metcalfe Co., 41-8. The Bearcats (9-2) will play Monroe Co. (4-7) next week. Monroe ended Gallatin Co.'s season on Friday.

Newport Central Catholic was beating Shawnee, 50-0, in the third quarter. A final score is not yet available. The Thoroughbreds (5-6) will now face Louisville DeSales (10-1), which dominated Newport, ending the Wildcats' season on Friday.

Owen Co.'s season ended at Glasgow.

Class 4A:

Scott was able to hold off Greenup Co. in Taylor Mill, 48-38. The Eagles (7-4) now face Johnson Central, one of five teams in the class with a 10-1 record.

Holmes's season ended at Ashland Blazer, 48-6.

Class 5A:

Covington Catholic stayed perfect, moving to 11-0, with a 49-0 rout of Woodford Co. in Park Hills. Next week, the Colonels play Montgomery Co. (9-2), which ended Dixie Heights's season on Friday night.

Highlands improved to 9-2 with a big win over Madison Southern, 36-7. The Bluebirds now face undefeated Anderson Co. (10-0), which had a bye in the first round.

If Cov Cath and Highlands win their round-2 games, they'll face off in the quarterfinals.

Class 6A:

Six Class 6A teams from Northern Kentucky took to the field Friday night, but only three survived to round-2.

Simon Kenton ran away from Bryan Station, 48-34. The Pioneers (9-2) will face Henry Clay next week.

Conner beat Lafayette, 28-7, and Cooper beat George Rogers Clark, 48-21. That sets up a round-2 showdown between these Boone Co. rivals next week. Conner is 8-3 and Cooper is 5-6.

Ryle, Boone Co., and Campbell Co. all saw their seasons end.


Ludlow holds off Louisville Holy Cross

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor

The Ludlow Panthers held off a resilient Louisville Holy Cross Friday night, 45-34, to advance to the second round of the 1A State Playoffs, where it will face Frankfort, who had a first round bye.

Ludlow’s Noah Hoffmeister put the Panthers on the scoreboard first corralling Cougars’ running back Bricklen Avdevich in the end zone for a safety to put his team up, 2-0. Following a fumbled handoff exchange on its ensuing possession, Ludlow took advantage of the early turnover and Ian Vallandingham found Will Richardson from eight yards out to stretch the Panthers’ early margin to nine. Louisville Holy Cross was again plagued by the fumble and the Panthers’ quarterback turned it into points, calling his own number from a yard out to give Ludlow a 16-0 advantage. But as it had done multiple times, the Cougars’ bounced back. LHC’s Barrett Emberton gave the Cougars’ a needed boost as the second quarter wound down with a big kickoff return into Panthers’ territory, combined with a facemask penalty and LHC was in business inside the Ludlow 20. Avdevich’s 20-yard TD run on the ensuing play from scrimmage put his team on the board with under two minutes to play in the half. However, the Panthers’ Richardson and his knack for the big play on the rainy night, hauled in his second touchdown catch of the night over the outstretched hands of a Cougars’ defender to give Ludlow a 23-6 lead at the break. Richardson, Ludlow and LHC would be far from finished and second half fireworks were still to come. But despite the weather, Panthers’ head coach Greg Taphouse counted on Richardson to be ready to play. “He had a great game. He’s kind of been our go-to receiver and we told him we were going to lean on him,” he said. Even if it rained, he had to have a big game. Stratton was getting us down into the red zone and they were loading the box on us, so we knew we were going to have to throw and Richardson stepped up and he had a great game. He’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder and he proved that tonight.”

LHC received the opening kickoff of the third quarter and its seven-minute run-play-dominated drive featuring Avedevich, Lex Thomas and Jaren McDonald resulted in a McDonald 16-yard TD run to pull the Cougars to within 10, 23-13. Ludlow countered with Sean Stratton and the senior running back pounded away at the LHC defense for nearly 40 yards, setting up the Panthers for another scoring opportunity. After nearly stalling out after taking a sack and an 11-yard loss to place the ball outside the 15-yard line, Vallandingham found Cameron Underwood in the right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard scoring play on fourth down to stretch the Ludlow margin to 30-13 to begin the final quarter. And the Panthers’ played add on shortly thereafter.

On the Cougars’ opening play of its next possession, Avdevich coughed the ball up once again, squandering an opportunity to close the gap. Prior to the fumble, Avdevich’s 44-yard catch-and-run to the Ludlow 23 gave his team a chance to get a quick score but his fumble cost the Cougars’ a chance for a sorely-needed quick score to begin the quarter. The Panthers’ recovered on their own nine and Stratton burst up the middle nearly untouched 82 yards on the next play to the LHC nine and Underwood gave Ludlow a 38-13 lead two plays later with his second touchdown reception of the night. Avdevich redeemed himself on the ensuing kickoff return going over 70 yards for the score to cut the deficit to 18, 38-20, with 9:30 to go in the fourth. With time winding down, the Cougars’ recovered the onside kick but was unsuccessful in converting it into points. Stratton’s second long touchdown run of the night put Ludlow ahead for good on its next possession and the Panthers’ led, 45-20.

LHC only needed two plays to close the gap, 45-27, and received the ball one final time inside of five minutes, scoring on a Graham Carnes’ TD reception close out the scoring, 45-34, and the Panthers held off the feisty Cougars. “Hats off to Holy Cross, they got a great team and they didn’t give up. They fought back and stayed in it,” Taphouse said.

Ludlow faces Frankfort for the first time in six seasons when it travels down to the capital city next Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.


The full scoreboard (if Friday's scores are not displayed, simply click "back" on the widget):

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Photos by RCN's Brian Frey

Slideshow Images & Captions: