NEWPORT, Ky. - For the 11th straight year, the Firemen's Bell will ring at Newport Central Catholic.
The traveling trophy, the spoils of war in the annual rivalry with Newport, will spend another year on NewCath's campus after the Thoroughbreds dominated the Wildcats, 54-13, Friday night.
NewCath, No. 1 in this week's state Division 2A rankings, scored touchdowns on its first eight possessions while bottling up Newport's offense for much of the night. Newport (3-3) finished the night with 178 total yards of offense, while quarterback Demetri Brown — who entered the game averaging 130 rushing yards a game — managed to break even with zero net yards on 19 carries.
"They're the No. 1 team in the state for a reason," said Newport coach Nick Rice. "They came out and punched us in the mouth, and didn't let us play our kind of game."
NewCath opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by senior runningback Chris Kelly that capped its 78-yard opening possession. After Bryan Doyle intercepted a Brown pass on the ensuing Newport drive, NewCath quarterback Brady Hightchew connected on a 22-yard scoring strike to Brennan Daunt to put the Thoroughbreds up, 14-0.
NewCath tacked on another three touchdowns before the end of the first half, including a six-yard run by Chris Kelly, a one-yard scamper by Jake Cain and a 29-yard touchdown catch from Doyle, before Newport threatened. Held to just five yards of total offense until that point, the Wildcats put together a 68-yard drive just before the half highlighted by a 49-yard pass from Brown to Andrew Merrill. After the catch, the junior receiver then flipped the ball to Brandon Carter, who made it down to the NewCath three-yard line before being tackled as the clock ran out.
Down 33-0 at the half, Newport responded at the start of the second half.
On a third-and-19 play from their own 22, Brown lofted a bomb to sophomore receiver Daylin Garland in double coverage. Garland came down with the reception, then beat the defense in a foot race to the end zone to put Newport on the scoreboard, 33-6.
But NewCath couldn't be stopped, adding touchdowns on a one-yard Clayton Bohla run and a 13-yard touchdown run by Hightchew to go up, 47-6, by the end of the third quarter. The Thoroughbreds tacked on another score after a Newport snap sailed over punter David Franco's head and was downed at the seven. Three plays later, Pete Collopy ran the ball in from two yards to cap NewCath's scoring.
Newport added a late score after three straight rushes by junior Robert Engram encompassing 41 yards, including the two-yard scoring finale.
NewCath finished with 397 yards of total offense, including Hightchew's 10-of-14 performance for 186 passing yards and two passing touchdowns to go with one rushing score. Kelly, named the game's MVP, finished the night with 114 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. The Thoroughbreds defense also shined, sacking the elusive Brown six times.
Brown threw for 154 yards on 6-of-15 passing, including a touchdown and an interception. The Wildcats were led by Engram in rushing (41 yards) and Garland's 78 receiving yards.
NewCath, which advanced to 6-1 on the season, plays at Holy Cross (2-4) next week, while the Wildcats will look to rebound at home against Lloyd Memorial (1-5).
at NEWPORT 0-0-6-7—13
NCC-Kelly 1 run (Burns kick)
NCC-Daunt 20 pass from Hightchew (Burns kick)
NCC-Kelly 6 run (kick failed)
NCC-Cain 1 run (2-pt attempt failed)
NCC-Doyle 29 pass from Hightchew (Burns kick)
N-Garland 78 pass from Brown (conversion failed)
NCC-Bohla 1 run (Burns kick)
NCC-Hightchew 7 run (Burns kick)
NCC-Collopy 3 run (Burns kick)
N-Engram 3 run (Franco kick)
RECORDS: NewCath 6-1, Newport 3-3.