LEXINGTON — Frederick Douglass lose their second Class 5A state championship game in three seasons, falling to South Warren Saturday 38-26.
Trailing 32-19 in the fourth quarter, the Broncos kept fighting, cutting the deficit to six - 32-26 - with a minute left on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Samuel Cornett to Cameron Dunn.
The pivotal moment came with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Fourth down and inches, South Warren with the ball. Douglass needed a stop to have a chance at a potential game-winning drive.
The Broncos' defensive front did not hold. South Warren senior athlete Luke Burton blew by Douglass's defensive line for a 24-yard touchdown run, sealing the victory for the Spartans. Saturday's victory marks South Warren's third state title in seven seasons, all led by former Boyle County and Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Smith. Smith joins his father, longtime Boyle County Coach Chuck Smith (6) to win at least 3 state championships as a head coach.
"I mean they did a great job. Teams haven't ran the ball like that on us all year. Defensively I think we were kind of shocked in a lot of ways, but give them credit," Bronco's head coach Nathan McPeek told media after the game. "They got us into some unbalanced sets. These kids did a great job of fighting in the fourth quarter and putting within one score at the end. It didn't go our way today, but it doesn't take away what our senior class and our team did this year."
Kentucky commit Dane Key gave us a taste of what to expect from him when he stars for the Wildcats. He recorded five catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns in his last high school game Saturday.
"There's a really special culture that we built over there. We love each and every one over there. We hit the weights hard, we practice physical," Key told LEX 18.
"Our team, they're going to come back next year. I have full faith in them. There's a really good culture at Douglass and I love those guys."
Frederick Douglass end the 2021 season at 13-2 overall as Class 5A state runner-ups.