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Holy Cross football team’s rally falls short in 42-35 season-ending loss to Danville

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 Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Nothing went right for the Holy Cross football team during the third quarter of its Class 2A state semifinal game at Danville on Friday and the Indians’ season ended with a 42-35 loss.


Holy Cross ball carrier Xavier Abernathy is upended by a Danville tackler during Friday’s playoff game. (Photo of Mary Lynn Lampke)

Danville scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to open up a 42-21 lead and held off a late rally by Holy Cross to get the win and advance to next week’s championship finals at Western Kentucky University.

Danville took a 28-21 lead on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Zack Dampier to David Walker with 8:03 left in the third quarter. After Holy Cross turned the ball over on downs, the Admirals scored again on a 12-yard run by Dampier.

Holy Cross fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Danville recovered the ball on the 30-yard line. Two plays later, Walker caught a 25-yard pass from Dampier to give the Admirals a 42-21 lead. The quarter ended with Danville intercepting a pass for its second takeaway of the period.

In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Holy Cross recovered a fumble on the 1-yard line and scored on the next play. Then the Indians put together a 99-yard touchdown drive on their next possession to slice the margin to seven points, 42-35, with less than six minutes remaining.

The Indians got the ball back with a chance to tie the score, but they were stopped one yard short on a fourth-down play with 1:37 left on the clock.

Holy Cross won close games against Newport Central Catholic, 26-21, and Walton-Verona, 13-10, the last two weeks to make it to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011. But the Indians couldn’t pull out a win against Danville, mainly because of Dampier. The senior quarterback completed 19 of 29 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns in addition to scoring one himself.

Holy Cross ran the ball effectively for most of the game, picking up 209 yards and scoring four touchdowns on the ground. The other TD came on a fumble return by senior linebacker Derrick Barnes that put the Indians ahead, 21-14, late in the second quarter.

Barnes was also the game’s leading rusher with 90 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Xavier Abernathy scored the Indians’ two fourth-quarter touchdowns on a pair of 1-yard runs.

HOLY CROSS   0 21  0 14 – 35
DANVILLE       7  14  21  0 – 42

D – D. Walker 52 pass from Dampier (T. Walker kick)
HC – Barnes 5 run (Hobbs kick)
D – VanCleave 1 run (T. Walker kick)
HC – Barnes 2 run (Hobbs kick)
HC – Barnes 35 fumble return (Hobbs kick)
D – Warren 14 pass from Dampier (T. Walker kick)
D – D. Walker 47 pass from Dampier (T. Walker kick)
D – Dampier 12 run (T. Walker kick)
D – D. Walker 35 pass from Dampier (T. Walker kick)
HC – Abernathy 1 run (Hobbs kick)
HC – Abernathy 1 run (Hobbs kick)
RECORDS: Danville 12-2, Holy Cross 10-4.

Football state semifinal scores

Class 1A
Beechwood 35, Russellville 0
Hazard 20, Paintsville 7
Class 2A
Danville 42, Holy Cross 35
Christian Academy of Louisville 48, Mayfield 24
Class 3A
Louisville Central 21, Elizabethtown 14
Belfry 42, Corbin 17
Class 4A
Franklin-Simpson 27, John Hardin 7
Johnson Central 51, Wayne County 0
Class 5A
Bowling Green 34, Louisville Fern Creek 7
Pulaski County 62, South Oldham 55
Class 6A
Louisville Trinity 24, Louisville St. Xavier 14
Lafayette 48, Scott County 47


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