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NKY Football Playoffs: Ludlow Beats Dayton; Lloyd, Highlands, Cov Cath, Dixie Move on

The first week of high school football playoffs in Kentucky kicked off on Friday with several Northern Kentucky teams in action.

RCN's Jason Finnell and Brian Frey were at the Dayton-Ludlow match-up in Class 1A. Jason wrote the article and Brian produced the photos below. The full local scoreboard is also below.

The Ludlow Panthers were victorious for the second time this season over Dayton, 39-20, on Friday evening in Ludlow. Junior Braxton Newborn led the way with three scores for the Panthers despite the unexpected two-week layoff leading into the playoffs due to COVID-19.

Newborn’s one-yard score put the Panthers on the board first until Austin Daniels found Brogan O’Brien over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown as Ludlow increased its early lead, 12-0, with time winding down in the second quarter. Dayton appeared to be headed toward being shutout in the first half until reaching into its bag of trick plays for the first of several tries. Quarterback Nolan Brooks tossed right to running back Braiden Comstock as Brooks took off down the left side wide open, catching Comstock’s throw in-stride and the halfback pass worked to perfection for the Greendevils, as Brooks found the end zone to complete the 54-yard scoring play. With 1:23 remaining until the half, Dayton trailed by six, 12-6.  

To open the third quarter, Noah Hoffmeister gave the Panthers good field position with a big kickoff return into Dayton territory. Newborn’s 23-yard carry gave Ludlow a new set of downs followed by Hoffmeister’s seven-yard gain. On first-and-goal, Newborn cut through the middle for his second touchdown and an 18-6 Panthers lead. The ensuing kickoff headed toward the sideline and bounced in front of the Dayton return team player. Before he could fall on it, several Panthers piled on and Ludlow retained possession as it looked to increase its lead. Three plays later, it was Newborn again from eight yards away for his third touchdown run of the night. After a successful two-point conversion, the Panthers led 26-6. Dayton’s ensuing possession was filled with drama. On fourth down from the Ludlow 25, the Greendevils pulled the halfback pass out once again. And it appeared to work again. However, after Comstock found Brian Lewis in the end zone, there was a flag, and it was determined Comstock crossed the line of scrimmage – an illegal forward pass. Taking over on downs, Newborn fumbled after a long run giving the ball back to Dayton but the Greendevils were unable to capitalize. 

Newborn’s long run as the final quarter began placed the Panthers inside the Dayton 20, and Jaylen Bridges added to the Ludlow lead with a 13-yard run one play later and the Panthers led 33-6. After the Panthers retained possession upon recovering a pooch kick, Daniels found Hoffmeister who put Ludlow within scoring range once again near the 10-yard line. Drew Kendall’s carry down to the one then set up the unexpected. Offensive lineman Hector Castrellon’s carry from a yard out made it 39-6 with just over seven minutes remaining. The Greendevils countered with a big play of their own and a second chance for senior Chris Bacak. On first down on their own 40, Brooks found Bacak wide open for what would have been an easy touchdown. However, the receiver tipped the ball several times before falling to the turf with the ball on the ground as he lay face first for several seconds in frustration. But on second down, Brooks found Bacak open near the Dayton sideline and he raced 60 yards for the score. After Ludlow went three-and-out, Dayton was able to close the margin on another successful halfback pass play to Eric Jimenez to make it 39-20, with under 10 seconds to play. 

The Panthers (4-5) face Newport Central Catholic (6-2) next Friday in the second round while Dayton finishes its season at 5-4.

-Jason Finnell


Class 2A

Lloyd 20

Newport 13

The Juggernauts move on after defeating Newport on the road in the opening round of Class 2A action. Lloyd (3-3) faces Beechwood (6-2) next Friday. Newport ends its season at 4-4.

Class 5A

Highlands 27

Conner 16

The Bluebirds move on after defeating Conner on the road in the opening round of Class 5A action. Highlands (5-5) will face Covington Catholic next Friday. Conner ends its season at 3-4.

Cooper 8

Covington Catholic 36

The Colonels move on after defeating their guests in Park Hills, Cooper, in the opening round of Class 5A action. Cov Cath (8-1) will play Highlands next week. Cooper ends its season at 3-6.

Class 6A

Simon Kenton 33

Dixie Heights 34

The Colonels move on after defeating their guests in Edgewood, Simon Kenton, in the opening round of Class 6A action. Dixie (5-3) will play Ryle (6-3) next week. Simon Kenton Kenton ends its season at 3-7.

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
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