Highlands and Newport Central Catholic will get a shot to defend their state football championships next Saturday in Bowling Green. But both teams got a scare on Friday night.
Highlands, winner of six straight state titles, opened a 42-7 lead, putting the game on a running clock before watching Lexington Catholic score 21 unanswered points after halftime. The Bluebirds prevailed, 49-35, in the 4A semifinal.
RELATED: Highlands game story
RELATED: NewCath game story
NewCath won a double-overtime thriller over Somerset, 49-48, in a 2A semifinal. The Thoroughbreds will be gunning for their third title in four years.
The Northern Kentucky teams play back-to-back in the state finals on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Western Kentucky University.
Highlands (13-1) will play Collins (12-2) at 4 p.m. ET. Collins whipped Owensboro 50-14.
NewCath (10-4) will play DeSales (13-1) at noon ET. DeSales crushed Murray 38-0.
Here is the championship schedule:
All games at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green (All times Eastern):
FRIDAY, DEC. 6
> Class A: Mayfield (13-1) vs. Williamsburg (11-2), noon
> Class 3A: Wayne County (14-0) vs. Belfry (13-1), 4 p.m.
> Class 6A: Meade County (12-2) vs. Scott County (14-0), 8 p.m.
SATURDAY, DEC. 7
> Class 2A: DeSales (13-1) vs. Newport Central Catholic (10-4), noon
> Class 4A: Collins (12-2) vs. Highlands (13-1), 4 p.m.
> Class 5A: Bowling Green (13-0) vs. Pulaski County (14-0), 8 p.m.
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Junior right-hander Hayden Molitor went the distance to earn his second win of the season as Lloyd edged Ludlow.
Senior right-hander Rachel Carroll tossed a one-hitter as Campbell County blanked Lloyd.
Sophomore Nathan Eberhard battled to a first-singles win as Conner shut out Campbell County, in an NKAC semifinal.
Junior center fielder Blaise Ostertag doubled in two in the bottom of the fourth to lift Conner to a win over Scott.
Freshman center fielder Hailey Nicholas singled up the middle with no outs in the bottom of the eighth to lift Cooper to a win over Campbell County.
Sophomore Sheldon Preisler won his eighth straight match to open the season as Boone County edged Lloyd, 3-2 on Wednesday.
Sophomore Erin Mogus remained perfect through five matches with her win at third singles as Cooper shut out Covington Latin.
Eighth-grader Curtis Kalbaugh improved to 7-0 on the season with a win at second singles as Ryle shut out St. Henry.
Conner coach Brad Arlinghaus set the school record for coaching wins as his Cougars beat Ryle.
Junior designated hitter Chelcey Broughton singled home two to put Simon Kenton ahead for good in a win over Grant County.