2020 Football Week 16 (Kentucky Quarterfinals)
Normally, this weekend would have meant the KHSAA Football Championships at UK's Kroger Field. But with this year being not as normal due to the pandemic, Kentucky high school football was in quarterfinal mode as December got under way.
While teams like Male, Trinity, KCD and Lexington Catholic waltzed through their opponents onto the semifinals, and others like Owensboro, Covington Catholic and Boyle Co. advanced due to Covid-19-related forfeitures, the round contained an assortment of closely-contested matchups, along with a few upsets. One game that combined both was in Lexington, as 6A quarterfinalists Paul Laurence Dunbar and Bryan Station went at it in a showdown that would see one of them in the semifinals for the first time in a long time. What largely hurt the Defenders' case was their quarterback, Mikaleb Coffey, going down with a torn knee late in the first half. What helped the Bulldogs was Jake Smith and Howard Jackson connecting on three touchdown passes while their defense held off several Station opportunities in the final quarter to pull off a 21-16 upset. Dunbar has their first semifinal appearance since a 2003 loss to Trinity in the old 4A.
Over near Elizabethtown, N. Hardin were expected to defeat St. Xavier, but it was running back Mekhi Smith, transitioning to quarterback after a Giles Pooler injury, with two touchdown carries in the Tigers' 16-9 upset of the 2nd-seeded Trojans. As a result, next Friday's 6A semifinals have Dunbar traveling to Male, while St. X gets another shot at archrival Trinity.
Frederick Douglass had a muddy turf to deal with in their 5A quarterfinal at Southwestern, but that didn't stop Broncos QB Samuel Cornett from throwing two touchdown passes, to Dekel Crowdus and Isaiah Allen. Their 21-6 lead going into the 4th quarter nearly evaporated in a Warrior comeback that came up short when the Broncos' defense stuffed them on a two-point play with 50 seconds left. Escaping with a 21-20 victory, Douglass travels to top-seeded Owensboro, while Bowling Green plays at Covington Catholic.
CAL's 3A quarterfinal match at Glasgow was expected to be an evenly-contested affair. Two touchdown runs by Brandt Babin, and two scoring tosses from Connor Masters to Easton Messer, helped the Centurions pull off a mild 28-20 upset of the Scotties and send them to top-seeded Elizabethtown. The other 3A semifinal has Belfry traveling to Ashland Blazer.
Our live semifinal coverage this Friday features Dunbar at Male and Douglass at Owensboro. Plus, you can visit the ticker on our homepage for updated scores.