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Prep football notebook: Lexington Christian stuns LexCath in thriller; Pikeville wins showdown with Belfry

By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

The 2020 version of the gridiron Holy War in Lexington was a hard-fought battle between two outstanding programs and was decided by a last-second field goal Friday night.

Lexington Christian kicker Andrew Dobbs drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Eagles a 23-20 win at Lexington Catholic. The Eagles (2-0) rallied from a 20-7 deficit in the final 9:22 of the game to defeat their city rival for the third time in the past four years.

And they did it in heart-stopping fashion.

Lexington Christian kicker Andrew Dobbs drills a 37-yard field goal as time expires to give the Eagles a 23-20 win at Lexington Catholic. (Photo by Alicia Quenemoen)

Trailing by 13 points, Lexington Christian quarterback Drew Nieves connected with Xavier Brown for an 80-yard touchdown pass to cut the LexCath lead to 20-14. With less than three minutes remaining, Brown caught his third touchdown pass to even the score at 20-20, but LexCath blocked the extra point to keep the game tied.

Lexington Christian forced a LexCath punt, setting up the final drive that set up Dobbs’ winning field goal. Dobbs also played a key role in the Lexington Christian boys soccer team’s 2-1 win over LexCath on Thursday evening.

Nieves ended the night 20-of-31 passing for 294 yards and three touchdowns. Brown hauled in nine receptions for 218 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 13 carries for 45 yards on the ground.

Dobbs’ game-winning kick was set up by a gutsy fourth-down call by LCA head coach Doug Charles, who decided to utilize a short pass play from Nieves to Brown to extend the drive. Dobbs then stepped up and drilled the kick through the uprights as time expired to give the Eagles back-to-back Holy War wins over the Knights.

The LCA defense played well throughout the game and was led by the likes of Mattie Lebryk with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Tyler Morris added seven tackles, two tackles for losses and a quarterback sack.

An unexpected hero cemented his legacy on the rivalry as freshman defensive back Parker Chaney picked off LexCath’s Jack Gohmann late in the fourth quarter to halt a drive by the Knights.

Lexington Christian’s Drew Nieves (12) rushes for yardage against LexCath. (Photo by Alicia Quenemoen)

Lexington Christian, which is one of the favorites to win Class 2A, takes to the road to face Williamsburg next week. LexCath will remain local and take on a Tates Creek Commodores squad that lost its opener on Friday to Bryan Station, 41-21.

Broyles makes statement for 2020 Mr. Football
Playing for a school in between Lexington and Louisville can sometimes get a player lost in the shuffle when it comes to postseason accolades due to so many great teams from each of those cities, but Nick Broyles is making a name for himself as a candidate to win Kentucky Mr. Football in 2020.

Broyles plays for a talented Franklin County Flyers squad that is off to a 2-0 start after posting a 40-22 win over Woodford County. Broyles threw for 431 yards and four touchdowns on 23-for-32 passing in that victory.

Franklin County’s Zach Claudio hauled in five catches for 141 yards and a touchdown, while Fred Farrier added five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Four Franklin County players collected a touchdown pass, seven different receivers grabbed at least one reception and five receivers had at least 50 yards as the Flyers outgained the Yellow Jackets 538-311.

“Nick is off to a great start this year,” said Franklin County head coach Eddie James about his senior quarterback. “He is doing a great job leading our offense and our team in general. He is in the midst of an amazing career and will go down as one of the best to do it at Franklin County.

“He is overlooked in my opinion. The young man has accounted for almost 90 touchdowns in the last 27 games and has under 15 turnovers in his career.”

Mattie Lebryk (41) pressures LexCath quarterback Jack Gohmann on Friday night. Lebryk finished with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. (Photo by Alicia Quenemoen)

The Flyers defense featured Phillip Peiffer (12), Jayden Mattison (11) and Brenton Sears (10) with double-figure totals in tackles.

Panthers hold on for 34-33 win over Colonels
Bourbon County (1-1) scored a touchdown with 31.5 seconds remaining in the game to pull to within 34-33 of Knox Central (2-0), but Clay Estes’ quarterback keeper on the two-point conversion attempt was stopped just short of the goal line.

Knox Central featured outstanding rushing performances from Ethan Mills and Seth Huff. Mills finished with 163 yards and three touchdowns, while Huff added eight carries for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Huff combined with Abram Brock to collect eight of the team’s nine pass catches from quarterback Brady Worley. Brock finished with four receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown, while Huff accounted for 68 yards receiving on four catches.

Lancers defeat Crimsons in Ohio/Kentucky battle
La Salle is the defending Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state champion and is headed for another long playoff run after starting the season with a 3-1 record thanks to a 17-7 win over Louisville DuPont Manual on Friday night.

JaWuan Northington was the offensive star of the night for Manual as he accounted for 172 rushing yards on 29 carries and the team’s lone touchdown in the first quarter to put the Crimsons up 7-0.

La Salle answered with a first quarter touchdown of its own from Zack Branham and took the lead for good when Mason Luensman kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining in the first half. A blocked punt was returned by the Lancers just 0:36 later to set up the final scoring margin.

Franklin County quarterback Nick Broyles looks to pass against Woodford County on Friday night. (FCHS photo)

Outside of Northington’s numbers on the ground, the game was dominated by both teams on defense as Manual had 191 yards on 46 total plays in its season opener. La Salle tallied 170 yards on 50 plays.

20-year streak broken in battle for Pike County supremacy
A streak is long overdue for being broken when neither team had a player alive the last time that one school had back-to-back wins over the other, but that was the case as Pikeville defeated Belfry, 20-14, at the Hambley Athletic Complex.

The Panthers defeated the Pirates in 2019 by a final of 22-21. Both teams eventually won state titles in their respective classes, with Pikeville taking the Class 1A crown and Belfry claiming the Class 3A championship. Pikeville (2-0) and Belfry (1-1) have combined for 12 state titles over the years and both will challenge for another in 2020.

The Pirates started the scoring in the first quarter on an Isaac Dixon touchdown run. Pikeville answered when Blake Birchfield, a sophomore wide receiver and defensive back, punched it in from inside the 5-yard line. The extra point kick was blocked, leaving Belfry with a 7-6 lead.

Belfry eventually took a 14-6 advantage, but Dixon later fumbled the ball and Birchfield collected a 23-yard scoop and score. Isaac Coleman’s two-point conversion tied it up at 14-14. Isaac McNamee later hit Zac Lockhart for a touchdown to put the Panthers up 20-14.

With 3:30 remaining in the game, Belfry went for it on fourth and four inside Pikeville territory, but it was Birchfield who once again rose to action, stopping Dixon to force the turnover on downs.

“It feels great. There was a lot of talk that we wouldn’t be as strong as last year,” Birchfield said in a postgame interview with WYMT. “I think we have just as good of a chance to win it this year as we did last year.”

“(The win) was huge for our program because we know the type of team Belfry is,” said Pikeville head coach Chris McNamee. “To be able to beat them once is something else. The 1999-2000 (season) was the last time we did it and to be able to put two in-a-row is really special. It speaks a lot for our guys and our program and the work they’ve put in. We got a lot of young guys and hopefully it will give them confidence going forward.”

Lexington Christian’s Xavier Brown (left) runs past the LexCath defense for a 74-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter on Friday. (Photo by Alicia Quenemoen)

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