The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds will get a chance to play for their fifth state championship after knocking off the Somerset Briar Jumpers on the road Friday night in a Kentucky Class 2A state semi-final matchup 27-18.
NewCath (10-4) got a big effort from senior running back Dylan Hayes, who rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in the victory.
The Thoroughbreds got on the scoreboard first when Hayes punched one in from a yard out to give them a 7-0 lead after one quarter of play.
Freshman quarterback Castle Hatcher would score Somerset's (11-3) first points of the night with a 1-yard TD run of his own in the second quarter, but the point-after kick failed and the score stood a 7-6 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Hatcher would give the Briar Jumpers the lead early in the third quarter when he connected with junior Will Lange on a 54-yard scoring pass. After a failed two-point conversion Somerset was up 12-7.
Hayes crossed the goal line for a second time with a 4-yard TD run later in the quarter, but a failed two-point conversion kept things close with NCC holding a 13-12 lead heading into the final frame.
NewCath would add to its lead behind a 3-yard run from senior Brady Thacker and sealed the deal when senior Josh Cain threw a 33-yard TD pass to classmate Mac Franzen later in the quarter. Cain finished the night going 15-for-24 through the air for 166 yards.
Somerset added a final score as time expired on a Hatcher to Jalen Jones 2-yard touchdown pass, but it was too little, too late as NCC moved on.
NewCath advances to next Saturday's Class 2A state final versus Caldwell County at Western Kentucky as they try to lay claim to their second state championship in three years under head coach Eddie Eviston.