Even without their fearless leader the Highlands Bluebirds won their Kentucky record sixth straight state championship and 22nd in the program's history by taking down Collins 47-0 on Friday night at Western Kentucky's Feix Field at Houchen's Stadium.
Head coach Dale Mueller was not on the sidelines as the death of his mother-in-law sent him and his wife to New York to be with their family. Defensive Coordinator Brian Weinrich stepped in for Mueller and was not phased one bit about filling the shoes of the legendary coach. Highlands did not miss a beat as they routed Collins.
Highlands built a 33-0 halftime lead while dominating the first half stat sheet. Colin Seidl had 115 yards and a rushing touchdown on six carries. He didn't touch the ball in the second half. Zach Harris ran for two TD's of his own and Donovan McCoy had a pair of scoring tosses in the win. Luke Turner led all Bluebird receivers with four for 48 yards and a touchdown. The boys from Fort Thomas ran up a 353-101 advantage in total yardage by intermission and finished with 476 total yards on the evening.
Junior Seth Hope paced the defense with an eye-popping five sacks, including two huge tackles of quarterback Lawson Page to squash Titans drives. The Bluebirds registered seven sacks on the night. Collins finished the game having gone 4-of-19 on third and fourth-down conversions. It was the Bluebirds first shutout of the year.
The Titans got the ball to start the second half and held the ball four minutes, but came away empty once again. By this time they had the ball seven plus minutes more than the Bluebirds with nothing to show for it. Collins wide receiver Nathan Sames came into the game with 62 receptions for 994 yards and 16 touchdowns catches, but the Highlands secondary held him to a goose egg. Page, who came into the contest with 2,825 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air, mustered just 106 passing yards in the defeat.
McCoy would take over in the second half as his second rushing touchdown with 11:01 left in the contest started the running clock on. The senior would finish with 105 yards on the ground and 153 passing. Harris added 95 more on the ground to push him to exactly 1,000 to go with his 20 scores on the year. Highlands finished with 323 yards on the ground, 316 of those by the trio of Seidl, McCoy and Harris. Seidl finished up a great career finding the end zone 29 times for the Bluebirds.
Highlands' sixth straight state championship establishes a new state record as they entered the game tied with Boyle County for a state-best five straight championships. The Bluebirds 22 overall state titles also sets a new record mark, but Trinity can pull back into a tie with Highlands with a victory over PRP in Saturday's Class 6A title game.