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Covington Catholic comeback comes up short in Kentucky Class 5A final

Down 20-0, Colonels had chance to win on last play
Posted at 9:07 PM, Dec 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-02 21:07:45-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A  great comeback by Covington Catholic fell a few yards short in the Kentucky Class 5A championship game Sunday.

Down 20-0, the Colonels rallied with two late TD's but couldn’t convert on two more drives inside the 3-yard line.

A last-gasp pass into the endzone with eight seconds left fell incomplete, and South Warren escaped with a 20-16 victory that denied the Colonels their second straight state championship.

It was a sad ending to an outstanding career for running back Casey McGinness and other seniors, who hadn't lost in the last two years and were used to winning big under running clocks.

CovCath coach Eddie Eviston applauded his players.

"They gave us everything. They were built to play a game like this that came down to the end and make a comeback," Eviston said. "Obviously, we wish it would have ended different, but they're a good ballclub and I can't be more proud of our guys."

Nevertheless, the Colonels weren't used to having to come from behind or making costly errors, including a blocked punt and three turnovers.

CovCath was held to 56 total yards in the first half while South Warren took a 13-0 lead.

Stymied by the South Warren defense for more than two quarters, CovCath finally scored with 8:37 left in the third quarter on a 58-yard pass from Caleb Jacob  to Michael Mayer down the sideline.

Later, McGinness ran 77 yards on a draw play to make it 20-14 with 10:21 left in regulation.

The Colonels defense made the next big play, stuffing South Warren on fourth-and-inches on the CovCath 43 with 6:12 left.

CovCath drove to the 2 but turned the ball over on a fumble with 3:06 left.

Stopped on three downs, South Warren took an intentional safety to make it 20-16. After a free kick, CovCath got one last chance, taking over at the SW 41 with 51 seconds left.

The Colonels got to the 3 but couldn’t punch it in.

McGinnis found the going tough against the South Warren defense. Not counting his 77-yard TD, he was held to 18 yards on 15 carries. He also had two catches for 24 yards.

Jacob completed 15 of 25 for 176 yards and one interception. He was sacked three times.

Mayer had five catches for 109 yards. Jackson Blank was CovCath’s leading tackler with 10.

South Warren quarterback  Gavin Spurrier, grandson of the legendary Steve Spurrier, threw two TD passes in the first quarter.  He completed 17 of 31 for 237 yards.

Spurrier said South Warren (15-0) was looking to avenge a 43-7 loss to CovCath in last year’s semifinals.

CovCath (14-1) had won 29 games in a row and was trying for its second straight 15-0 season.

SEE Game Stats