LEXINGTON, KY. (WFIE) - It was a big day on the gridiron as the Owensboro High School football team played for the Class 5A state championship at Kroger Field on Saturday.
Playing in the program’s eighth state championship game appearance, Owensboro (12-0) was looking to win its fifth title in team history this weekend against longtime rival Bowling Green (9-2).
Leading 3-0 in the second quarter, Bowling Green made the big play first when Eli Burwash intercepted Owensboro quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, giving the Purples’ offense some life.
Shortly afterward, Bowling Green quarterback Conner Cooper dropped the snap on the 22-yard-line, before picking the ball up and running over to the right sideline. This scrambling effort was enough for Cooper to make his way for the touchdown, securing a 10-0 lead for the Purples heading into halftime.
Despite a recharged defensive performance from the Red Devils in the second half, Owensboro simply could not make enough plays on the offensive side of the ball.
Following Wimsatt’s second pick of the game during the third quarter, the Purples quickly took advantage of the miscue. At the end of the ensuing drive, University of Kentucky signee Jordan Dingle plunged into the endzone, padding Bowling Green’s lead.
Facing a 17-0 deficit, the Red Devils finally got on the board after Wimsatt found Kendrick Williams for a short touchdown pass during the late stages of the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late at that point.
In the end, Bowling Green holds onto a 17-7 victory to win the Class 5A state championship.
“It’s always tough when you lose the last game of the year and the season’s over,” Owensboro head football coach Jay Fallin said. “It’s always difficult, it’s difficult to say goodbye to the seniors. A lot of credit to Coach Spader and his staff and his team. They had an outstanding plan, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. No one’s defended us like that all year.”
“We started playing together when we were six years old - same group of guys,” Owensboro senior Austin Gough said. “It’s been a fun ride and I’m blessed to be here, and I’m just happy man.”
“When we get some distance from this, I know that these guys are going to look back on this experience and this season, which was in jeopardy from the very beginning of maybe not even happening, and be very proud of what they accomplished,” Fallin said.
For an offense that averaged over 43 points per game this season, it was definitely a disappointing performance.
However, one positive the Red Devils have to look forward to next season is Wimsatt returning for his senior year.