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To anyone who just saw the final score, it may have looked like a first-round playoff blowout .
And while the outcome of Friday night’s game might have been a loss, it was not due to a lack of effort.
The Owen County Rebels traveled north to take on Newport Central Catholic in the first round of the Class 2A State Playoffs. The Thoroughbreds came into the game as one of the favorites to win the state championship. That fact did not seem to intimidate the Rebels.
It looked like the Rebels’ worst fears might come true early in the game.
On the second play of the game, Newport Catholic’s Mark Kelly sprinted 44 yards to set up first down at the Rebels’ 17-yard line.
The Rebels’ defense stiffened and held the Thoroughbreds to a 28-yard field goal with 9:28 to play in the first quarter.
Less than two-minutes later, Brennan Daunt picked off a Jordan Cox pass on the Rebels’ second play and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Following the extra point, the Breds had a 10-0 advantage and appeared to be on their way to an easy win.
The Rebels maintained their poise and righted the ship.
While the Rebels’ offense could not get anything going against the Newport Catholic defense, the Owen County defenders were doing a nice job of stifling the Thoroughbreds’ no-huddle offense. The two teams exchanged punts for the rest of the first quarter.
On their first possession of the second quarter, Newport Catholic attempted a 40-yard field goal that missed wide left.
The Rebels took possession of the ball and after a three and out were forced to punt.
The Thoroughbreds came after Keith Arutoff’s punt and were able to block it. Ben Parr picked up the ball and scampered in for a touchdown to put Newport Catholic up 17-0 with 7:05 to play in the first half.
The score remained at 17-0 at the end of the first half.
After the game, Owen County Head Football Coach Adam Fowler said he was pleased with his team’s performance in the first half.
“Our defense played outstanding. We gave them two gifts,” Fowler said.
The score at the half, Fowler said, “felt better than 17-0.”
Owen County not get off to a good start in the second half. On the opening possession, Cox was again intercepted, this time at the 16-yard line.
It did not take long for the Breds to take advantage.
On the Breds’ first snap of the half, Kelly took the handoff and went into the end zone for the score. The extra point was missed but Newport Catholic had a 23-0 lead.
on its next drive, Owen County was again forced to punt and again Newport Catholic’s Kelly scored a touchdown.
This gave the Thoroughbreds a 30-0 lead with 5:05 to play in the fourth quarter.
Newport Catholic then scored on its next two possessions to open up a 44-0 lead with 11:32 left in the game.
When the Rebels got the ball following the kickoff, they promptly drove down the field for a score. Two long completions by Cox to Zach McDonald and Tyler Pruitt set up first-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Cox then found Tyler Williams in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point made the score 44-7.
The Rebels were not finished.
The next time Owen County had the football, Cox completed a pass to Williams who took it all the way for a 30-yard touchdown.
Williams was aided on the run by a good block by Daniel Dauwe. Justin Davis converted the extra point and the lead had been cut to 44-14 with 4:40 to play in the game.
The Thoroughbreds added a late score to make the final margin 50-14.