The Male High School football team didn’t score a point on its final two fourth-quarter drives in Friday’s 27-24 victory at St. Xavier, but two plays showcased the depth and fearless play-calling that have epitomized the Bulldogs’ 8-0 start this season.
Jack Krunk’s 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown pulled the Tigers within 27-24 with 11:01 remaining, but the Bulldogs controlled possession the rest of the way to put the game away.
Male’s first drive after Krunk’s touchdown was kept alive on a nice play by sophomore Rasean McCauley. On third-and-7, McCauley made a leaping catch for a 17-yard gain to the St. X 40-yard line. The Bulldogs didn’t score but were able to run 10 more plays before the Tigers got the ball back with 5:28 remaining.
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For McCauley, it was his only catch of the game and his sixth of the season.
“I told him that was probably the biggest catch of the game,” Male quarterback Hayden Shelton said. “The ball was high, and he got up there. He’s a basketball player, so he can get up there and get that rebound. That’s what he does.”
Male coach Chris Wolfe said his team was forced to go deep into its bench as several players were forced out by cramps. Wolfe said the running-clock mercy rule has robbed his team of meaningful reps in game situations throughout the season.
“I’m a sore winner or whatever, but that’s where the mercy rule kills you,” Wolfe said. “That’s just the way it us. Nobody is going to cry for us, but our guys are not in game shape. They started dropping like flies, but we have depth.”
After a St. Xavier punt, Male got the ball back with 3:53 remaining. Facing a fourth-and-1 from his own 44-yard line, Wolfe chose to go for it and Devin Gentry converted with a 2-yard run.
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“If you believe in your line and know that you have to get 1 yard to seal the game … then go for it there,” Wolfe said.
Male eventually punted, but St. X got the ball back on their own 18-yard line with 26.7 seconds left. The Tigers had no timeouts remaining and turned the ball over on downs with 0.7 second left.
DISTRICT TITLES ON LINE
Regular-season district play will wrap up next week, and several of Friday’s games involving Louisville-area teams will decide district champions.
In Class 6-A, Ballard (5-3, 3-0) will host Trinity (8-1, 3-0) in a game that will decide the Nos. 1 and 2 playoff seeds from District Four. Manual (7-1, 2-1) can muddy up the District Three race with a victory over visiting Male (8-0, 3-0). A Manual victory and a St. Xavier (5-3, 2-1) victory over Butler (2-7, 0-3) would create a three-way tie atop the district.
Two other games that will decide champions will be South Oldham (7-1, 4-0) at North Bullitt (8-1, 4-0) in Class 5-A, District Three and Central (6-2, 4-0) at Henry County (7-1, 3-1) in Class 3-A, District Three.
Shelby County (7-1, 2-1) can win the Class 4-A, District Four crown with a victory over visiting Collins (4-4, 2-1). If Collins wins, Spencer County (8-1, 3-1) would take the title.
Fern Creek (5-A, District Four) and Holy Cross (A, District Three) have wrapped up district titles.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
* Evan Perry rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to lead Holy Cross to a 31-0 victory over visiting Frankfort. The senior scored on runs of 19, 29 and 53 yards.
Holy Cross (4-4, 2-0) clinched the No. 1 playoff seed from Class A, District Three.
* Senior running back Quinton Baker rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and also returned an interception 85 yards for a score to lead Ashland Blazer to a 32-6 victory over visiting Greenup County.
Baker, who has committed to Marshall, finished with two interceptions as the Tomcats improved to 8-0.
* Lafayette junior quarterback Walker Wood, who announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky earlier this week, accounted for three touchdowns in the Generals’ 45-28 victory at Madison Central.
Wood completed 16 of 23 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 53 yards and two scores as Lafayette improved to 7-2.
Each week Jason Frakes will provide his ranking of the top five teams in the state, regardless of class:
* No. 5 – St. Xavier (5-3). Defense scored two touchdowns but offense struggled in a 27-24 loss to visiting Male. Up next: hosts Butler (2-7) on Friday.
* No. 4 – Simon Kenton (8-0). Cam Racke passed for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-15 victory over visiting Campbell County. Up next: hosts Ryle (7-1) on Friday.
* No. 3 – Scott County (7-1). Noah Hughes rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-24 victory over visiting Bryan Station. Up next: at Paul Dunbar (3-5) on Friday.
* No. 2 – Trinity (8-1). Held visiting Seneca to one first down and minus-33 total yards in a 42-0 victory. Up next: at Ballard (5-3) on Friday.
* No. 1 – Male (8-0). Overcame five turnovers to win 27-24 at St. Xavier. Up next: at Manual (7-1) on Friday.
Na’Sean Roseberry, Collins
The sophomore ran for a school-record 305 yards and scored three touchdowns on 19 carries in a 42-24 victory over visiting North Oldham. Roseberry scored on runs of 68, 36 and 47 yards.
Devin Gentry, Male
The senior carried 35 times for 114 yards and a touchdown and also caught an 82-yard touchdown pass as the Bulldogs won 27-24 at St. Xavier. Gentry finished with three catches for 97 yards.