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In August, when BGP released its Class 3A Preseason Rankings, the top two teams were Belfry and Lexington Catholic. Now, at the first of December, with one football game left, those same two teams are left standing. It took adjustments, substitutions, and a couple losses, but the two best teams in the state will pair up next Sunday afternoon for a chance at the big trophy.

BELFRY 42, CORBIN 14
As the heavy favorite in this state semifinal, Belfry was able to put away Corbin and move to their sixth consecutive state championship game. Belfry and Corbin had met twice before in the postseason, with both sides winning once. However, those days were long ago, as Belfry won the 1966 matchup and Corbin won in 1969.

After a first quarter that saw both clubs score touchdowns, Belfry (13-1) began to move ahead for good in the second quarter, staking themselves to a 21-7 halftime lead. The Pirates did what they do best in the first half, completing three drives with three touchdowns, while throwing zero passes. The second half saw more of the same, as Belfry compiled 372 yards on the ground, in route to winning for the 26th time in the their last 29 playoff games.

Belfry tailback Xondre Willis ran for 151 yards, caught one pass for 52 yards more, and accounted for three touchdowns. Andrew Fletcher ran for 92 yards while quarterback Noah Corbett ran for 27 yards and also threw a second half touchdown pass. The Belfry defense held Corbin (9-5) to 286 total yards on 57 plays.

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC 35, ELIZABETHTOWN 14
For the second week in a row Lexington Catholic traveled west and picked up a huge victory. Unlike last week where the Knights had to sweat out a missed field goal at the buzzer, Lexington Catholic (11-3) was able to put Elizabethtown on ice late in the third quarter with a flurry of plays.

Andy Thompson threw a touchdown pass to Joseph Ogbogu in the second quarter to break the seal on the game. E-town (13-1) responded almost immediately with a 46-yard touchdown run by Bernil Cecil to tie the game. A Jaylen Jones run from fourteen yards out then gave the Knights a 14-7 halftime advantage. The scored stayed that way for much of the third quarter until Lexington Catholic scored, force a three-and-out, then returned a punt to blow it open.

For the game, Ogbogu caught eight balls for 107 yards and a score, while Jones carried 20 times for 139 and two touchdowns. Quarterback Andy Thompson, starting just his third game under center (or perhaps better said in the shotgun) ran for 113 yards and passed for another 150. All of those weapons will have to be utilized in order to beat Belfry and win Catholic's first title since 2007.

TALE OF THE TAPE
Schedules

BELFRY
Aug. 28 - Tates Creek (W) 55-38
Sept. 4 - at Harlan County (W) 43-0
Sept. 11 - Newport Central Catholic (W) 28-10
Sept. 18 - Pikeville (W) 34-8
Sept. 25 - Knoxville Catholic, TN (W) 38-14
Oct. 2 - at Cabell Midland, WV (L) 7-49
Oct. 9 - Lawrence County (W) 27-23
Oct. 16 - at Sheldon Clark (W) 52-6
Oct. 23 - at Pike County Central (W) 49-16
Oct. 30 - Johnson Central (W) 41-0
Nov. 6 - Bath County (W) 62-0
Nov. 13 - Russell (W) 42-12
Nov. 20 - Lawrence County (W) 52-12
Nov. 27 - Corbin (W) 42-14

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC
Aug. 21 - at Boone County (W) 51-13
Aug. 28 - Ryle (L) 24-31
Sept. 4 - Johnson Central (L) 28-42

Sept. 11 - Covington Catholic (W) 15-14
Sept. 18 - at Madison Central (W) 41-0
Sept. 25 - at Cooper (L) 0-28
Oct. 9 - Western Hills (W) 49-14
Oct. 16 - at Boyle County (W) 31-24
Oct. 23 - Garrard County (W) 28-16
Oct. 30 - at Southwestern (W) 43-14
Nov. 6 - Bardstown (W) 55-13
Nov. 13 - Garrard County (W) 59-26
Nov. 20 - at Central (W) 14-13
Nov. 27 - at Elizabethtown (W) 35-14

Statistics
Leading Rusher
Belfry: Xondre Willis - 1,259 yards; 15 touchdowns
Lexington Catholic: Jaylen Jones - 1,010 yards; 13 touchdowns

Leading Passer
Belfry: Noah Corbett - 452 yards; 8 touchdowns
Lexington Catholic: Andy Thompson - 760 yards; 12 touchdowns & Kirk Fagot - 1,243 yards; 16 touchdowns

Leading Receiver
Belfry: Xondre Willis - 236 yards; 5 touchdowns
Lexington Catholic: Joseph Ogbogu - 1,186 yards; 14 touchdowns

PREDICTION
Even though Belfry and Catholic were 1-2 in the preseason rankings, much of the year saw discussion of a Belfry/Boyle or Belfry/Central championship game dominate discussion. But now we are here and we have what could be the best state championship game of the weekend. Two contrasting styles - the ground and pound of Belfry versus the wide open running and passing of Lexington Catholic. There will be elite athletes all over the offensive side field in this one while the defensive groups are now slouches themselves. In what feels like it will be a close one all the way, I'll pick...

Belfry 28 Lexington Catholic 27