Eisert plays big for St. X in victory over Male
Desmond Ridder and Sam Taylor had typically strong games for the St. Xavier High School football team on Friday night, but Tigers coach Will Wolford also singled out senior Austin Eisert for his play on both sides of the ball.
Eisert rushed for a touchdown and intercepted a pass as the Tigers beat visiting Male 31-21 in the Class 6-A, Region One final.
Eisert, a 5-foot-10 158-pounder, has seen his role change for the Tigers this season.
“Going into the season he was our best offensive weapon because he’s our fastest kid,” Wolford said. “We moved him over to defense because we felt like we needed him there, and he’s really played well.”
MORE COVERAGE | St. X beats Male, gets rematch with Trinity
Eisert got his first touchdown of the season Friday on a 2-yard run that gave St. X an 18-7 lead with 10:12 left in the second quarter. With 3:57 left in the second quarter, Eisert intercepted a pass by Male quarterback T.J. Thomas.
St. X intercepted Thomas three times in the first half, with Nic Malubay and Jake Taylor also picking off passes.
“We played great assignment defense and kept the guys in front of them for the most part,” Wolford said.
MALE’S DEFENSE PLAGUED BY INJURIES IN FINAL MONTH
Coach Chris Wolfe was concerned about his injury-plagued defense over the final month of the season, and it finally showed some deep cracks in Friday’s loss to St. X.
“It was dear-in-the-headlights for them in the first half,” said Wolfe, whose team trailed 28-7 at halftime. “You could see it. In the second half, the same guys settled in and played well.”
Male lost a pair of starters in a 27-14 victory over Manual on Oct. 21, with senior safety K.J. Jones and junior linebacker Jeremy Gutterman going out with injuries. Jones was one of Male’s top tacklers with 45 (27 solo), and Gutterman had added 17 tackles (eight solo).
Linebacker Deris Cox and defensive back Zahir Jones – both sophomores – replaced Gutterman and K.J. Jones in Male’s lineup.
“That’s the way it is,” Wolfe said. “We don’t have 50 seniors, so you have to go with what you have.”
CAL FINALLY BREAKS THROUGH
Stefan LeFors looked like someone just took the world off his shoulders.
Just moments before, his Christian Academy football team finished beating DeSales 21-14 in the Class 2-A, Region Two championship. It marked the first-ever regional title for the Centurions (12-1), but perhaps just as important, it ended a four-year losing streak to the Colts in the playoffs.
MORE COVERAGE | Centurions reach state semifinal for first time
“The part I’m looking forward to the most is not having to answer that question anymore,” said LeFors, a former University of Louisville quarterback. “It’s time to move on and get that proverbial monkey off our back.”
And while they celebrated, the Centurions said they knew the job wasn’t done. LeFors mentioned that the team’s goal at the beginning of the season was to win its last game. If they beat Mayfield, ranked No. 12 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, in the semifinal on Friday, they’ll get a shot at that.
“You got two more rounds, and you got this far,” said quarterback Austin Carr, who ran for one score and threw for another. “You can’t stop now.”
BOLD MOVE BY LEFORS PAYS OFF
With just more than two minutes left in the CAL-DeSales game, the Centurions had the ball at the Colts’ 1-yard line facing a fourth-and-goal situation. Even though they needed only a field goal to take the lead and the Colts defense had stuffed the two previous runs from the same spot, the Centurions decided to go for six.
“The field goal came up once, and it was shot down real quick by everyone,” LeFors said.
LeFors admitted he wanted to go a little bolder, with the possibility of all-purpose sophomore Milton Wright passing out of the Wildcat, but ultimately it was a run. Anteneh Thompson, who ran for 79 yards on 14 carries, followed with the biggest yard ever in Centurion football.
“I got (a blocker) on me so I could push all I could to get across that line,” the senior running back said.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
* Jacob Burton carried 24 times for 155 yards and four touchdowns to lead Scott County (11-2) to a 42-40 victory over Ryle (12-1) in Class 6-A.
Tanner Morgan’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Stefan Clarkson pulled the Raiders within 42-40 with 32 seconds left, but the 2-point-conversion try failed. Ryle then recovered an onside kick, but Scott County’s Glenn Covington intercepted a Morgan pass in the end zone to seal the Cardinals’ victory.
Morgan, a Western Michigan commit, completed 20 of 30 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns. Bryce Ashley had 10 catches for 141 yards and two scores.
* Cameron Morgan rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Lafayette (12-1) to a 63-41 victory over visiting Simon Kenton (11-2) in Class 6-A. Generals quarterback Walker Wood, a University of Kentucky commit, passed for 216 and three touchdowns and also rushed for 112 yards and three scores.
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Lafayette will host Scott County on Friday in a 6-A state semifinal. Lafayette was awarded a 1-0 forfeit victory over Scott County on Sept. 16. The Cardinals led the Generals 25-20 with 11:04 left in the third quarter when the game was suspended because of lightning. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association ruled Scott County chose to “not resume the contest in compliance with the competition rules” and declared Lafayette the winner.
* Jamale Carothers scored three touchdowns and became the leading scorer in Bowling Green history as the host Purples (13-0) posted a 50-21 victory over Owensboro (10-3) in Class 5-A.
Carothers, who has committed to Navy, has 466 career points and passed Avery Hibbitt (454) for the most points in school history.
* Jackson Caudill passed for 278 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for two scores to lead host Franklin-Simpson to a 33-16 victory over South Warren (9-4), eliminating last year’s Class 4-A state champion.
MORE COVERAGE | Trinity rolls over Ballard
* Kent Phelps rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to lead host Paintsville (13-0) to a 21-14 victory over Raceland (9-3) in Class A.
Each week Jason Frakes will provide his ranking of the top five teams in the state, regardless of class:
* No. 5 – Scott County (11-2). Tallied 341 rushing yards in a 42-40 victory over Ryle to set up a highly anticipated rematch with Lafayette. Up next: At Lafayette (12-1) on Friday in Class 6-A state semifinal.
* No. 4 – Male (10-3). Committed four turnovers and had its running game stuffed in a 31-21 loss at St. Xavier. Up next: Season complete.
* No. 3 – St. Xavier (10-3). Sam Taylor rushed for 154 yards on 27 carries in a 31-21 victory over Male. Up next: Faces Trinity (13-0) on Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Class 6-A state semifinal.
* No. 2 – Bowling Green (13-0). Running back Jamale Carothers scored three touchdowns and became the program’s all-time leading scorer in a 50-21 victory over Owensboro. Up next: At Fern Creek (11-2) on Friday in Class 5-A state semifinal.
* No. 1 – Trinity (13-0). Jovan Smith rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns in a 63-20 victory over Ballard. Up next: Faces St. Xavier (10-3) on Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Class 6-A state semifinal.
Kyree Hawkins, Fern Creek
The senior rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and also had 11 tackles and a sack in a 35-28 victory over Covington Catholic.
Jovan Smith, Trinity
The senior rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in a 63-20 victory over Ballard.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.