The Highlands Bluebirds repeated history Friday night as they tossed Covington Catholic from the playoffs the second year in a row, defeating the Colonels 28-13 and advancing to the Kentucky Class 4A State semi-finals.
It marked the ninth straight win for Highlands (12-1) against rival CovCath (9-4).
The Colonels came out fighting, getting on the board first, but the Bluebirds answered shortly after as Donovan McCoy scored the first of four touchdowns on the night.
With the game tied at 7-7, Highlands' junior defensive end Seth Hope stopped CovCath's Bobby Beatrice's 4th-and-1 attempt on Highlands' 28, forcing a turnover on downs and giving the ball back to the Bluebirds' offense. Hope totaled ten tackles in the game and sacked quarterback Blake Bir four times.
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McCoy answered his team's defensive stop as he connected with teammate Luke Turner for a 43-yard pass all the way to CovCath's 29 on the very next play. This possession ended with McCoy going just three yards into the end zone for Highlands to take their first lead of the night and the Bluebirds would not relinquish the lead the remainder of the game.
The Colonels struggled to get Bir any room to create some offense, and they even failed to protect the football, being forced into four turnovers. Highlands' defensive back Quentin Murray had one interception and two fumble recoveries during the game. Murray's first recovery was at the beginning of the second half and that drive resulted in a touchdown by McCoy making the score 21-7 Bluebirds.
"The whole plan was just to figure out what they were doing, where their weaknesses were, and to exploit it to the max," McCoy said.
The Colonels made their last score of the night with still over a quarter left to play when Beatrice took it 15-yards into the end zone, but the extra point was no good, giving CovCath only six and making the score 21-13 Highlands.
The Bluebirds next and final drive was dominated once again by McCoy, who covered half the field in eight attempts and finished the drive with a touchdown. McCoy finished the night completing 8 of 13 passes for 145 yards and rushed 28 times for 84 additional yards.
CovCath compiled 258 total yards of offense in the loss with Bir leading the way. The senior connected on 19 of 29 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown in the loss.
Next week, Highlands will play Lexington Catholic in the state semi-finals and if victorious they will get a chance to play for their sixth consecutive state championship.