In Kentucky, every team makes the playoffs, so the final week of the season is meant to position a team for the best playoff pairing. That was the case when the 1A Beechwood Tigers took on 2A Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds at Newport Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers' offense, racking up 42 points in route to a 42-14 victory, was too explosive for the Thoroughbred defense.
The Tigers got on the board first in the first quarter when Brayden Burch found Aiden Justice for a 65-yard touchdown pass to give Beechwood the 7-0 lead early.
NewCath responded on its next drive. Kyle Kelly found the end zone on a four-yard rush to tie the game 7-7 going into the second quarter.
On its first possession of the second quarter, the Beechwood offense began its domination. Burch found Trevor Soward for a 10-yard touchdown pass to kick-off a 28-0 run for the Tigers. After the score, the Tigers were up 14-7.
Before the first half ended, Justice found the end zone twice on rushing touchdowns, one from three yards out and the second from an explosive 70 yards out. In addition, Burch added a 30 yard touchdown pass to Daniel Mescher and at halftime, the score was showing a blowout, 35-7.
NewCath found a little bit of life in the second half. With a little under six minutes left in the game, Patrick Henschen found Kyle Losey for a 22-yard strike in the end zone, bringing the ‘Breds within three touchdowns at 35-14.
However, Beechwood put a stop on NewCath’s chances of a win when James Davis found the paint from 38 yards out to give the Tigers a commanding and eventual final score of 42-14.
Beechwood Head Coach Noel Rash said that front line play was important in the game, as well as playing together as a team.
“The three things we wanted to focus on: we wanted to play faster than them, we wanted to play more physical than them, and we always want to play together,” Rash said. “I am extremely proud of our O-line. It was their best game of the year.”
Aiden Justice was quick to credit it O-line for the win after the game.
"We’ve been doing extra practice after practice, working on passes and working on our timing," Justice said. "Our O-line did great tonight."
Burch led the Beechwood offense with 10-for-18 through the air for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Justice added 168 yards on the ground on 20 rushing attempts and two touchdowns.
The NewCath offense was led by quarterback Patrick Henschen, who completed 11 passes on 24 attempts for 227 yards and one touchdowns. The receiving corps was led by Job Freppon, who had three receptions for 126 yards.
Beechwood (9-1) will begin its playoff run next week when it will host Eminence next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
NewCath (5-5) will look to make a run to the state title game for a fifth straight year when it will host Carroll County next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
LISTEN: The TriStateFootball crew chats with Beechwood head coach Noel Rash.