BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The names have changed, but the Bowling Green High School football program continues to produce late-game magic and keep its winning streak alive.
Campbell Gott hit Robbie Lofton for a 4-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give the host Purples a 6-0 victory over St. Xavier on Friday after a back-and-forth defensive struggle.
Bowling Green (3-0) — winner of three straight Class 5-A state championships — improved its winning streak to 47 and moved just three away from the state record of 50 set by Trinity from 1988-91.
Purples coach Kevin Wallace admitted he wasn’t sure this team could continue the streak after the graduation of stars such as Nacarius Fant, Devin Hayes, Blue Tisdale and several others.
St. Xavier’s Mason King (17) can’t reach a pass as Bowling Green’s Andrew Spader (45) defends him during the Tigers game against Bowling Green at Bowling Green High School on Friday, September 5, 2014. The Tigers would go on to loose 6-0 in overtime. Photos by Brian Powers
“There’s nothing better in sports — or maybe in life — to do things that people don’t think you can do,” Wallace said. “We’ve heard the chatter in town and from our own people that, ‘Well, we’ll be OK, but we’re not going to be that good.’
“We just beat Lexington Catholic and St. X on back-to-back weekends, and that’s pretty special for a group that maybe a lot of folks didn’t think would be an elite team.”
St. X (2-1) outgained Bowling Green 263-227 yards and drove into Bowling Green territory four times in the fourth quarter. Those four drives ended with a turnover, a fourth-down incompletion, a missed field goal and the end of regulation play.
“Our defense has played extremely well this entire year, and they just played with all the heart, mind and guts they can,” Tigers coach Will Wolford said. “Offensively, we’re just not clicking. We’re hit and miss too often. …
“To come on the road in this situation with a pretty inexperienced team, we’ll only get better from it.”
The Tigers’ best chance to score came on the final possession of the first half, moving to the Purples’ 8-yard line with 29 seconds left. After a 5-yard run by Noah Houk and 2-yard carry by TaiJon Smith, St. X called its final timeout with 15 seconds left.
After a false-start penalty moved the Tigers back to the 6, Houk was flushed out of the pocket and sacked by Ben Holt as the clock ran out.
“One, we should have put points on the board,” Wolford said. “Two, we lost all momentum by faltering at the end of the first half. We guaranteed ourselves a grudge fight, which it was to the end.”
Michael Bennett missed a 47-yard field-goal try with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter. After a 2-yard punt by the Purples, St. X had a final try inside Purples’ territory. Houk completed a 17-yard pass to Mason King, but time ran out.
Bennett missed a 24-yard field-goal try on the Tigers’ overtime possession. After a 6-yard pass from Gott to Lofton on first down, the duo hooked up again for the game-winner.
“It wasn’t an 80-yard touchdown and he didn’t have a hundred yards and it wasn’t a great pass, but he made the play and that’s all that matters,” Gott said of Lofton.
It marked Bowling Green’s fourth straight victory over St. X in as many years, something Wallace said has been one of the most memorable parts of the long winning streak.
“It really is the respect factor for the people in their program and the history of success and excellence that they have,” he said.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
BG — Robbie Lofton 4 pass from Campbell Gott.