LEXINGTON, Ky. - Beechwood won its 14th Kentucky football title and third straight by outlasting playoff rival Pikeville 21-20 in a thrilling, seesaw Class 1A final Friday afternoon.
Quarterback Cameron Hergott’s 1-yard TD plunge with 9:42 left in the game and the extra point made the difference, thanks to Pikeville’s two missed extra points earlier in the game.
With Pikeville driving for a go-ahead score, John Odom’s interception n the endzone with 1:07 left saved the day for the Tigers.
Hergott threw two first-half touchdown passes to stake the Tigers to a 14-6 halftime lead. Pikeville quarterback Connor Roberts, named the state’s Class 1A player of the year at halftime, threw three TD passes.
Pikeville got one last chance when Beechwood turned the ball over at Pikeville’s 21-yard 3:38 remaining. A fourth-down catch by Christian Billiter got Pikeville to the Beechwood 33 with 1:16 left. Roberts tried to hit Billiter again, but Odom stole it and the Tigers ran out the clock.
The game matched two 11-2 teams at the start in one of the state’s best playoff rivalries. Pikeville won their last meeting in the 2015 Class 1A state final, 42-28. Beechwood had won the last two Class 1A crowns.
Both offenses tried to get the edge in the first quarter by going for it on fourth down, but both defenses rose up and stuffed the plays. After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers jumped ahead 7-0 on Hergott’s 24-yard TD pass to Luke Bolger with 10:51 left in second quarter.
Pikeville answered after the kickoff when Roberts connected with Jackson Hensley on a 57-yard scoring strike. But Pikeville missed the extra point and Beechwood kept a 7-6 lead.
The Tigers went up 14-6 when Hergott threw 19 yards to Logan Castleman with 5:14 left in the first half. Beechwood had an opportunity to stretch its first half lead when it recovered a pooch kick in Pikeville territory. But the Tigers couldn’t take advantage and turned the ball over on downs.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Roberts threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Hensley, pulling Pikeville within 14-12 at the 5:31 mark. The Panthers went for the two-point conversion but couldn't convert. No matter. Pikeville recovered an onside kick at the Beechwood 49. Pikeville then recovered an onside kick at the Beechwood 49, leading to More Roberts' third touchdown pass - a 25-yarder to Christian Billiter – put Pikeville ahead and Roberts ran for the two-point conversion to make it 20-14 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
This was the 14th playoff meeting between Beechwood and Pikeville. Beechwood came in with a 9-4 advantage. Since 1984, they have met in three championship games and 11 semifinals. However, the rivalry will be suspended starting in 2019 when Beechwood moves up to Class 2A and Pikeville stays in Class 1A.
Beechwood came in 13-5 all-time in state finals, while Pikeville was 4-3 all-time.
WCPO will update this story.
SEE game stats.