BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) -- Josh Cain hit Tyler Lyon on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left as Newport Central Catholic clinched a 30-26 win over Caldwell County in the KHSAA Class 2A championship game Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
It was the Thoroughbreds' fifth state title, and second in three years.
Cain's touchdown pass capped a five-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that came after Caldwell's Brett Seymore kicked a 19-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 26-24 with 2:30 left.
"It was a memorable win, the way a state game should be," NewCath coach Edward Eviston said. "Caldwell County's a young team that really took it to us. That was a battle."
Cain was 14-of-23 passing on the day for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed five times for 32 yards.
Dylan Hayes was NewCath's top rusher, carrying 27 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Mac Franzen added four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Franzen's biggest grab of the day was a 54-yard catch on the game-winning drive, getting to the Tigers' 4-yard line with less than two minutes left.
NewCath rushed for 3 yards on the ensuing first down and then was stopped for a 3-yard loss on second down.
Eviston called a timeout with 30 seconds left and called for a play-action pass.
"I think everyone expected us to run it and go for the field goal," he said. "We'd worked on that play and the way we were stacking the box we thought we might have had a shot at it."
Caldwell's defenders bit on the run fake, allowing Lyon to catch a wide-open pass in the end zone.
"They'd been blitzing and I knew it was going to be there," Cain said.
Lyon, who had caught just five passes all season going into Saturday's game, said catching the state title-winning pass was the biggest moment of his career.
"We all have dreams like that, it's just having it come true is amazing," he said.
Caldwell's last-ditch efforts to retake the lead ended when NewCath's Jack Sutkamp sacked Elijah Sindelar on the game's final play.
"I don't think anyone gave us a shot to win the game and we had a shot at the end," Caldwell coach David Barnes said. "I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys and the way they played this afternoon."
Sindelar, a strong-armed, 6-foot-4 sophomore, was 21-of-29 passing for 258 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 14 times for 54 yards and a score.
Receiver Martez Sivils caught 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Young added five catches for 80 yards.
Running back Jaylen Boyd ran 21 times for 92 yards. Cole Webster added 10.5 tackles.
The championship game appearance was the first since 1998 for the Tigers, and a game Barnes said he hopes his young team can use as motivation next season.
"It's a learning experience for us," Barnes said. "Our kids are going to go back to work and hopefully we'll be back."