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Versatile quarterback leads NewCath to 48-14 win over Lloyd in Class 2A playoff game

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By Evan Merrill
NKyTribune contributor

Newport Central Catholic quarterback Patrick Henschen is a 6-foot-6 senior with a good arm who can run 40 yards in 4.6 seconds. That gave coach Dan Wagner the ability to utilize him in various ways during the team’s 48-14 win over Lloyd in a Class 2A playoff game on Friday.

henschen

Pat Henschen gets the ball into the end zone for NewCath on a quarterback sneak during Friday’s playoff game against Lloyd. (Photo by Jim Day)

In addition to passing for 104 yards and three touchdowns, Henschen rushed for 46 yards and one TD to lead the Thoroughbreds to the victory at Newport Stadium.

“The kid can fly, so you have to honor him,” Wagner said. “Back on the field, with 20 to 30 yards to go, we did a quarterback sneak and picked up a 4th-and-1. He’s a threat, you have to honor him.”

NewCath opened the game with a four-play, 59-yard drive capped off by a 45-yard rushing touchdown courtesy of sophomore running back Kyle Kelly to take a 7-0 early lead.

A few minutes later, Lloyd sophomore running back Travon Mason fumbled the ball on the second play of his team’s first possession and the Thoroughbreds recovered it on Lloyd’s 25-yard line.

Four plays later, Henschen connected with senior wide receiver Trent Wrobleski on a 5-yard touchdown pass, giving the Thoroughbreds a 14-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Lloyd’s sloppy start continued. On the sixth play of the next drive, junior quarterback Jordan Fann bobbled a bad snap, which turned into a free-for-all battle for the ball. NewCath senior linebacker Kurtis Sutkamp came up with it and went 47 yards for a touchdown to seize a 21-0 lead.

Lloyd got on the board courtesy of Jordan Fann’s 6-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tyler Russ. But NewCath answered just prior to the end of the half on a tricky 4-yard jump pass from Henschen to senior wide receiver Luke Moeves in the end zone.

The Thoroughbreds never looked back after the half, continuing to outscore the Juggernauts, 20-7, and not allowing any recovered onside kicks. In the previous meeting between the two teams, Lloyd recovered three onside kicks late to score 18 straight points.

st-e-football-plug-768x249“We prepared for the onside kicks this week,” Henschen said. “We prepared for anything so we’d be ready for everything. I really think it was the week of practice and we’ll continue to practice like that the rest of the season.”

Lloyd’s two touchdowns came off the arm of Fann, who threw for 134 yards. Mason rushed for 111 yards after his first quarter fumble.

“(Mason’s) a good little runner, and they did a lot different than what we thought we were going to get based on the last two weeks what they showed,” coach Wagner said. “Every time we play them (Lloyd coach Eric Turner) comes out with something different. So we told (our players) before the game, you’re going to see something different. Sure enough, we did.”

NewCath has not lost to a Class 2A district opponent since 2011. The last district team to beat the Thoroughbreds was Holy Cross, which will be their opponent in next week’s regional final at Newport Stadium.

“We’re just focusing right now on Holy Cross,” Henschen said. “That’s our main focus. We’re going to have a good week of practice, face them, have a good game against them. We’ll see what happens (after that).”

NewCath made it to the Class 2A state championship game each of the last four years, but Wagner knows it won’t be easy to keep that streak alive.

“It’s tough. We take it for granted sometimes and we shouldn’t,” he said. “It’s hard to do. We just need to keep focusing on what we need to take care of. We’re concerned with what we do. We can’t control the other side.”

NEWCATH   21   7   7  13 – 48
LLOYD            7   0   7    0 – 14

NC – Kelly 45 rush (Otten kick)
NC – Henschen 5 pass to Wrobleski (Otten kick)
NC – Sutkamp 47 fumble return (Otten kick)
L – Fann 6 pass to Russ (Oshon kick)
NC – Henschen 4 pass to Moeves (Otten kick)
L – Fann 6 pass to Townsend (Oshon kick)
NC – Henschen 38 pass to Freppon (Otten kick)
NC – Henschen 2 rush (Otten kick)
NC – Carmack 18 rush (kick blocked)

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