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Lafayette dashes Simon Kenton football team’s playoff hopes for second consecutive year

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The NKyTribune will be providing focused coverage of NKY high school football throughout the season, thanks to support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. See all of our pre-season features on each of NKY’s 21 high school football teams and follow our coverage, including roundups each week at Northern Kentucky High School Football.

By Evan Merrill
NKyTribune contributor

LEXINGTON — For the second straight year, Simon Kenton’s football season ended at the hands of Lafayette. Led by senior quarterback Walker Wood, the Generals defeated the Pioneers, 63-41, Friday in the Class 6A regional finals.

cameron-racke-sk-copy

Simon Kenton senior quarterback Cam Racke passed for 258 yards and five touchdowns in his final game for the Pioneers.

Last year, Lafayette knocked off Simon Kenton, 42-28, in the semifinals to deny the Pioneers a shot at the state title.

“We’ve been to the regional finals eight of the last nine years and these guys were able to carry on and keep that tradition alive,” Simon Kenton coach Jeff Marksberry said of this year’s 11-2 team. “Had a great season, nothing to be ashamed of. The senior class has won a lot of football games. I’m proud of the way our kids fought, how they hung in there, didn’t give in, didn’t quit. I’m just proud of our guys.”

Wood, a University of Kentucky recruit, had a big game operating behind Lafayette’s offensive line that includes Jedrick Wills, who will attend the University of Alabama. The senior quarterback completed 12 of 22 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns.

Lafayette (12-1) opened the game with a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead. Simon Kenton answered two plays later as senior quarterback Cameron Racke threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Fisher Hayden, but the two-point conversion failed.

The score stayed close until the third quarter. After Simon Kenton scored on a 61-yard pass from Racke to senior wide receiver Luke Vance to make it 28-20, the Pioneers attempted an onside kick. The ball was recovered by Lafayette junior Ean Shaw, who returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. That proved to be a real momentum changer in the game.

“We practiced that onside kick every week and we just didn’t execute it,” Marksberry said. “It came down to making plays and they made more plays than we did (Friday).”

The Generals capitalized on a couple of pass interceptions and built a 49-20 lead. At that point, the Simon Kenton defense was getting worn down by the high-powered Lafayette offensive attack.

st-e-football-plug-768x249“Offensively we kind of sputtered a little there, had a couple three-and-outs, our defense had to go back on the field — that hurt,” Marksberry said. “Our defense was tired and we were trying to chase that kind of speed and athletes around. When the defense is tired, it’s not a good combination.”

Simon Kenton’s offensive attack was led by Racke’s 258 passing yards and five passing touchdowns. Hayden served as his go-to option, getting 208 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Racke, a senior captain and three-year starter for the Pioneers, was part of a senior class that finished with the second highest number of wins in team history, one shy of tying last year’s senior class.

“Losing a game should not define the accomplishments this program has achieved over the past eight years of being in the regional finals,” Marksberry said. “We won some big games this year and put ourselves in the position to make it back to the semifinals and this loss won’t define what type of kids we have in our program and how we respond to next year.”

The loss will sting for the Pioneer faithful for a while, but coach Marksberry is optimistic about the future of the program.

“Losing Cam and losing some of our seniors is going to hurt, but we lost great players last year and we’re right back to just one game away from where we were last year,” the coach said. “We’re hoping to reload, fill those guys in and continue on to try and win championships.”

SIMON KENTON   12     0     8   21 – 41
LAFAYETTE           14   14   21  14 – 63

L – Wood 6 run (Averitt kick)
SK – Hayden 46 pass from Racke (pass failed)
L – Edwards 45 pass from Wood (Averitt kick)
SK – Hayden 59 pass from Racke (pass failed)
L – Brown 15 pass from Wood (Averitt kick)
L – Wood 1 run (Averitt kick)
SK – Vance 61 pass from Racke (Racke run)
L – Shaw 63 kickoff return (Averitt kick)
L – Morgan 31 run (Averitt kick)
L – Wood 5 run (Averitt kick)
SK – Vance pass from Racke (Seger kick)
SK – Murry 6 pass from Racke (Seger kick)
L – Morgan 12 run (Averitt kick)
SK – Hayden 65 pass from Shearer (Seger kick)
L – Brown 40 pass from Wood (Averitt kick)

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