It took Corey Johnson and Central’s offense some time to get going Friday night, so Luke Bowman and the Yellowjackets’ lockdown defense took control against the visiting Boyle County Rebels.
Johnson finished with four touchdowns and 181 yards on the ground, but they all came after Bowman’s 13-yard scoop-and-score defensive touchdown on the Rebels’s first snap as the Yellowjackets pulled away for a 37-6 win in a Class 3-A, Region Two semifinal.
“We were ready to come out and play tonight. Our defense was hyped and we didn’t them to score at all,” said Bowman, whose touchdown was caused by Kendrick Talley’s forced fumble.
Central coach Ty Scroggins said Bowman’s third defensive touchdown of his career set the tone defensively.
“They were emotional and jacked up to begin the game and it kind of shocked me,” Scroggins said. “I didn’t know we were going to go out there that quick and put seven points on the board, but our defense came ready to play.”
Central (7-5) was so ready on defense that it forced five total turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions), made Boyle County punt four times and held the Rebels (7-5) to their lowest scoring output of the year.
Johnson got off to a slow start as he was held to 28 yards on eight first-half carries. He got rolling after the break, scoring on a 7-yard run in the third quarter and on runs of 56 and three yards in the fourth quarter.
“Our intensity was very high and we just had to go out there and finish the job,” Johnson said. “Our defense started it off for us and we had to pick up where they left off.”
Central starting quarterback James Simpson was not with the team Friday, so backup Rico White moved under center. He had a 38-yard run in the third quarter and threw a 50-yard bomb to Ukrari Baker in the first.
“He knew it was next man up and he was ready,” Johnson said of White. “He had to keep his mind ready for the game and stay focused.”
The victory by the Yellowjackets sets up a showdown next week on the road against the Lexington Catholic Knights, who whipped Bardstown in the other Class 3-A, Region 2 semifinal. Lexington Catholic knocked Central out of the playoffs last season.
“We’re ready to make that trip,” Johnson said. “We want revenge because they put us out last year. Now we’ve just got to make it happen.”