Story Matters

Story Matters

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

DeSales blanks NewCath in 2A title rematch

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Newport Central Catholic senior Brandon Gray (2) makes a catch in Friday's Class 2A championship against Louisville DeSales. Gray had four catches for 21 yards.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Newport Central Catholic junior defensive linemen Maleek Lawrence (72) and Konner Carmack (74) pursue DeSales quarterback Austin Johnson (left) in Friday's Class 2A title game. DeSales won 26-0.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, NewCath senior Nate Enslen (23) looks for room while DeSales junior Michael Wheatley (35) tries to make the tackle. DeSales claimed its second straight state championship over the Thoroughbreds on Friday.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

BOWLING GREEN – Their strength of scheduled helped out a lot in this playoff run.

The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team hoped it would help out one more time in the Class 2A state championship game rematch against the Louisville DeSales Colts. But that was not the case as DeSales blanked NewCath, 26-0 on Friday at Western Kentucky University’s Feix Field, Houchens/LT Smith Stadium.

The Colts (14-1) allowed just 101 points entering the game to go with five shutouts. They allowed just 13 points in the entire playoffs on their way to their second straight state championship. They beat the Thoroughbreds last year, 34-26.

“They did exactly what they’ve done all year (defensively),” said Harold Davis, DeSales Head Coach. “It’s been really, really fun. I’m proud of our defense for the shutout.”

NewCath (8-6 overall) made its 13 state championship appearance in school history. The Thoroughbreds are 5-8 in those contests. The Thoroughbreds faced three 6A and one 5A school in preparation for the playoffs while the Colts took on one 6A and two 5A schools in non-district action.

None of those DeSales opponents made it past the second round. But Simon Kenton, Cooper and Dixie Heights all played for region championships and Dixie Heights is in the 6A title game Saturday night.

DeSales lost to District 4 rival Christian Academy of Louisville, 17-0 on Oct. 17. But the Colts won the playoff rematch in the Region 2 finals, 7-6 on Nov. 21.

The Thoroughbreds had been moving the ball well throughout the playoffs. They only managed 50 yards of total offense against the Colts. That included a minus-21 yards on the ground. NewCath converted just 3-of-13 third-down attempts and none of its three attempts on fourth down.

“They kicked the dog snot out of us up front,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath Head Coach. “You have to be able to move the football and we didn’t come close to being able to move the football. We put ourselves in bad situations. We didn’t take advantage of anything. We knew they had a good defense.”

NewCath tried to establish the vaunted running game with junior Jacob Smith. But DeSales held him to just 13 yards on 16 carries. His longest run went for 12 yards.

That forced the Thoroughbreds to take to the air. Henschen completed 12-of-26 attempts for 71 yards and three interceptions all to Adam Nord. The Colts sacked sophomore quarterback Patrick Henschen four times for a loss of 27 yards.

NewCath completed a lot of short passes. Senior Brandon Gray led the Thoroughbreds with four catches for 21 yards.

The Thoroughbreds recovered two fumbles in Colt territory and three total. But they never advanced the ball past the Colt 24-yard line. Ben Barbara, Peyton Davis and Erik Anderson had fumble recoveries for the Thoroughbreds.

On the other side, DeSales rushed for 300 yards on 56 carries for an average of 5.4 per touch in its traditional Wing-T set. The Colts showed their balance as nine different players had carries.

Quarterback Austin Johnson led the way going for 83 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown for the Colts. Bryant Pirtle, Frankie Tharp and Austin Tharp rushed for 63, 63 and 61 yards respectively.

Johnson completed 7-of-11 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Three went to Austin Craig for 57 yards and a touchdown.

DeSales went on a long drive on its first possession. It ended with a Tharp 3-yard touchdown. The Colts led just 6-0 after the Thoroughbreds blocked the extra-point attempt.

The play that broke the Thoroughbreds happened a few minutes later. On a 4th-and-7 from the NewCath 35, NewCath lost Craig on a bootleg right. Johnson found him wide-open for a 35-yard touchdown. Johnson then made the extra-point kick to put the Thoroughbreds up 13-0. That was 1-of-2 fourth-downs DeSales converted.

“They did exactly what we thought they’d do,” Wagner said. “I was a little disappointed in the one touchdown they had down there. We worked all week on that play and we let (Craig) run down. But they’re high school kids.”

DeSales received the ball back not long after that. Nord picked off a Henschen pass and set DeSales up at the Thoroughbred 11. But the Thoroughbred defense held up and Johnson kicked a 26-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the quarter to put DeSales up 16-0.

Nord then picked off Henschen the second time at the end of the first quarter. He returned it 57 yards to the NewCath 18. Johnson scored from two yards out on third-and-goal to put the Colts up 23-0.

NewCath played better defensively in the second half. The only DeSales score of that half came with 4:01 left in the game. Johnson booted a 27-yard field goal.

The Thoroughbreds graduate 15 seniors from this team. They are Gray, Nate Enslen, Clint Bartels, Thomas Owens, Brent Moore, Grant Schilling, Josh Boyle, Kyle Sampson, Barbara, Logan Neff, Jacob Raleigh, Jacob Wieland, Maurice Hehman, Michael Terry and Matt Frey.

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