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Saturday, November 24, 2012

NewCath bests Somerset in state semifinals again

Photo by Steve Cornelius. Newport Central Catholic senior Brady Thacker (54) celebrates his fourth-quarter 3-yard touchdown with teammates Elliot Rust (73) and Colin Hoover (60) at Somerset on Friday. The Thoroughbreds beat the Briar Jumpers, 27-18 to advance to their eighth state championship game since 2000.


By MICHAEL CHILDERS
For Fort Thomas Matters

SOMERSET – Thanks to the arm of quarterback Josh Cain and the legs of running back Dylan Hayes, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (10-4) punched their tickets to Bowling Green for the Class 2A State Championship game.
With a 27-18 victory over the Somerset Briar Jumpers (11-3) on Friday at Clark Field, the Thoroughbreds are headed to their second state championship game in three seasons, where they will square off against the Caldwell County Tigers (11-3) next Saturday at Noon at Western Kentucky University’s Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Caldwell County advanced to the championship with a 43-31 win over Louisville DeSales on Friday.



“We were there in 2010,” Cain said. “It was disappointing last year because we didn’t make it. I can’t wait for next week.”
Through the air, Cain torched the Jumper defense, going 15-of-24 for 166 yards and one touchdown. Cain also ran for 23 yards in the victory. Hayes continued his brilliant season carrying the ball 25 times for 118 yards and two scores for an average of 4.76 yards per carry, which wore down the usually tough Somerset defense.

The Thoroughbreds overcame a 12-7 third-quarter deficit to escape Somerset with the victory, allowing them to advance to their 11th State Championship game in school history. The win also marks NewCath’s 12th double-digit win season in 13 years.

With 4:43 remaining in the third period, Hayes ran in from four yards out to give NewCath a 13-12 lead. The Thoroughbreds did not trail for the rest of the evening.
NewCath added two late touchdowns to the total, giving them a 15-point, 27-12 advantage over the Briar Jumpers. Brady Thacker bulldozed his way into the end zone for a 3-yard score before Cain and Mac Franzen hooked up for a 33-yard touchdown connection.
 
“Somerset is a heck of a football team and they really made us think about what we were doing the whole game,” said NewCath head coach Eddie Eviston. “We had to dig deep, put the ball behind our horses a little bit and our kids made the plays. That made it tough for us to have to travel this far and come away with the ‘W.’ Two great teams went at it (Friday).”

Somerset tallied a touchdown as the clock hit zero, but it wouldn’t affect the final outcome. Quarterback Castle Hatcher completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Bryson Jones to end the game.

The Thoroughbred offense finished with 328 total of balanced offense. They rushed for 162 and passed for 166. The Briar Jumpers managed just 222 yards including just 45 on the ground.

“We knew (Somerset) was a big team,” Hayes said. “We dug deep to get the job done. We used our speed to our advantage, and that’s what helped us.”

NewCath scored first in this one, as Hayes tallied his first of two touchdowns on a 1-yard run. Nathan Grosser’s extra point gave the Thoroughbreds an early 7-0 advantage with 2:54 left in the opening quarter of play.

Despite scoring the first touchdown of the night, NewCath committed three turnovers in the opening half. Two were two fumbles and the other an interception.

“I am probably the most proud of the way our kids came back after those three turnovers in the first half,” Eviston explained. “We hadn’t done that in the last three or four weeks and now we have a little adversity but the kids didn’t let those turnovers bother them too much. They came down and punched it in when we had to.”

Through the first three quarters, the two Class 2A powerhouse programs traded punch-for-punch. NewCath led just 13-12 entering the final stanza.



“We came out fired up, but I think (Somerset) came out more fired up than us,” Cain said. “We knew it was going to be a physical game. We had a lot of turnovers in the beginning.”

Somerset cut the Thoroughbred lead to a lone point with 10:03 remaining until the intermission. Hatcher dove in from a yard out for a Jumper touchdown. The extra point failed, keeping NewCath out front by a score of 7-6.

Hatcher and the Jumpers took their first lead of the ballgame with 9:28 left to play in the third frame when the freshman found Will Lange right down the middle for a 54-yard touchdown pass. The Jumpers went for two but failed keeping the score at 12-7, in favor of Somerset.

Coming into the game, the most points Somerset had given up in one game was 24 points to Breathitt County. NewCath surpassed that by three points.

NewCath moved to 8-0 in state semifinal contests since 2000. The Thoroughbreds own state championships in 2005, 2006 and 2010 during that time. They also beat the Briar Jumpers in the state semifinals in 2005 and 2006.



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