QUICK HITTER STORY/Lexington Christian Academy outlasts BGHS to claim dramatic 56-52 victory over Purples at WKU


Lexington Christian Academy’s Cutter Boley guided his squad to a dramatic 56-52 victory over the Bowling Green Purples on Saturday night, gaining a fast start on Opening Night in the Rafferty’s Bowl at WKU’s Houchens-Smith Stadium.

There were nine lead changes before the Eagles survived as the winner. Bowling Green also quickly got into scoring position in the game’s final seconds, until LCA’s Brady Hensley came up with an open-field sack of BGHS quarterback Deuce Bailey on the game’s last play.

Hensley also was the hammer in the Eagles’ stout running game, and he scored the game’s final touchdown on a 12-yard scoring run with 27 seconds left in the game.

Bowling Green’s defense had trouble getting off the field, but the Purples came up with two defensive touchdowns. BGHS linebacker Max Buchanon intercepted a swing pass from the Eagles’ Boley into the flat and scored on a 15-yard return with 3:58 left in the first half, trimming the Purples’ deficit to 28-17. Ji

Then, in the second half, BGHS safety Grayson Newman recovered an LCA fumble near the sideline before scoring on a 38-yard return. The Purples’ Braden Widener, who converted on all of his seven extra points, in addition to a second-quarter field goal, added the PAT, putting Bowling Green in front 38-35 with 11:17 left in the game.

That lead wouldn’t last, of course.

The Eagles used a flea-flicker, two handoffs before pitching the ball back to Boley deep in the pocket, before Boley unleashed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Hensley at the goal line at the 6:48 mark. Will Howell’s extra point made it 42-38.

Deuce Bailey and the Purples offense, however, were a long way from finished.

Bailey slipped the ball on an inside screen to Purples teammate Christopher Sweeney, and Sweeney scored on a 13-yard reception with 4:01 left. Bowling Green went in front, 45-42, but that lead also was short-lived.

Hensley, a commit to Eastern Kentucky University, scored on a 9-yard run to stake the Eagles to a 49-45 lead with 2:24 left.

Again, Bailey and the Purples responded.

Bailey used good protection to hit BGHS tight end Matthew Klein on a 72-yard scoring pass, splitting the LCA defense on the right side. That put the Purples in front, 52-49, but Boley and the Eagles still had two minutes and change with which to work.

“If (Boley) has time, he’ll pick you apart,” BGHS coach Mark Spader said. “There were a couple moments where I thought, ‘Are we gonna fold our tents,’ and we didn’t. They were just too hard to handle.

“It was a combination of a really good offense and a defense that has a lot of new players. Guys in new roles. At times, our heads were spinning.”

LCA coach Doug Charles and Boley were complimentary of the Purples afterward, and there was exceptional sportsmanship on both sidelines. BGHS will play in the Eagles’ bowl game, the LCA Bowl Game sponsored by eCampus.com, when the Purples square off with Bryan Station (0-1) on September 2 in Lexington. Trinity defeated Bryan Station, 36-3, on Friday night in Louisville.

“It feels amazing. We came in with the mind-set that we had nothing to lose,” Boley said.

Boyle will graduate from LCA in December to enroll at the University of Kentucky and become eligible for the Wildcats’ spring football drills.

Bowling Green is on the road to tangle with longtime rival Owensboro High School on Friday night. The Purples defeated Owensboro 17-7 to win their last KHSAA Class 5A state championship in 2020. BGHS returned to the state title game last year, only to fall to Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School, 28-7, last December at Kroger Field.

“It’ll be a short work week for us,” Spader said.

I’ll have a complete story on the game Sunday afternoon. Thanks for reading jimmashek.com