The Highlands Bluebirds advanced to the state championship once again, knocking off the Lexington Catholic Knights 61-28 in Ft. Thomas Friday night. The Bluebirds won with an offense that couldn't be stopped and backed by a defense that made plays in the clutch.
Highlands (13-1) wasted no time scoring the game's first points on their opening possession. Colin Seidl went on a 39-yard TD scamper setting the tone with just two minutes gone in the game.
Lexington Catholic (11-3) turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage, but the Bluebirds would fumble and give the ball right back. The Knights then went on a sustained drive that knotted the score at seven as the drive was capped off by a Noah Mitchell's 7-yard scoring run.
Highlands answered with a drive of their own that went 80 yards and culminated on a Donovan McCoy 13-yard touchdown run. McCoy was masterful all night both running and passing the football. His touchdown run here came on 4th and 6.
After a Knights' punt the Bluebirds put together another scoring drive, this time converting a 4th-and-7, and also a 3rd-and-10, before a 4-yard Zach Harris TD run, the first of three for the junior. Highlands was now ahead 21-7.
Lexington Catholic answered quickly, and this game was shaping up to be the shootout that was expected. The Knights went 65 yards in two and a half minutes. Reese Ryan finished the drive with a 12-yard run bringing his club back to within seven at 21-14. Lexington Catholic would never be that close again.
McCoy scored another rushing touchdown, this time from ten yards out after another impressive Bluebird drive and with under two minutes to go. Highlands was back ahead by two scores 28-14.
With less than a minute to go in the half the Knights faced a 4th-and-1 from near midfield, and chose to go for it. Ryan rolled to his right, and seemed to have room to run for the first down, but the sophomore signal caller elected to go for the big play and tossed it to an open receiver down field that dropped the ball giving Highlands the ball, and a chance to go for the kill.
The Bluebirds capitalized on the chance when McCoy ran it into the endzone with one second on the clock, giving his team a huge half time edge 35-14. That play was set up by a long toss and catch just short of the goal line.
Lexington Catholic received the opening kickoff of the second half and went right down the field, scoring on a 1-yard run by Marcelis Logan. Logan would score on more time for his club, but by that point the game was well out of reach.
Highlands would continue to score possession after possession, while Lexington Catholic simply couldn't keep pace. David Christian caught a 30-yard touchdown pass, Seidl ran in another, while Harris added two more scoring runs of his own.
After the chilling evening finally came to a conclusion the squad from Ft. Thomas had pummeled the visiting Knights 61-28. Highlands struggled with penalties, and defense at times, but the offense never missed a beat.
The Bluebirds take on the Collins Titans (11-3) for the state championship next Friday night at Western Kentucky University. Collins knocked off previously unbeaten Warren East 58-7 to advance to the finals, but did lose to Boyle County 49-26 in August just one week after Highlands beat them 52-31.