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Lloyd gets payback win over Newport in opening round of playoffs behind strong rushing tandem

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Lloyd junior Amari Riley didn’t carry the ball a single time during his team’s 19-13 loss to Newport in the third game of the regular season. The only thing he did on offense that night was catch one pass for 17 yards.

When the two teams met again Friday in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, Riley played a much bigger role in his team’s 20-13 payback win over Newport. He carried the ball 34 times for 154 yards and scored two touchdowns in the victory at Newport Stadium.

Lloyd’s Amari Riley tries to pick his way through a pile of Newport defensive players. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Riley’s second touchdown was the game-winner. With 7:09 left in the fourth quarter, he swept around the left end and bulled his way into the end zone. Then he lined up again and scored on a two-point conversion run.

The comeback win puts the Juggernauts (4-2) in the Class 2A district finals against Beechwood (6-2). The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Fort Mitchell.  

Lloyd junior quarterback Jacob Davidson also had a big game on the ground against Newport. He picked up 158 yards on 23 carries and scored his team’s first touchdown.

Davidson and Riley accounted for 312 of their team’s 323 rushing yards. Davidson also completed one pass for 18 yards.

Newport finished with 229 total yards (157 passing, 72 rushing). The Wildcats turned the ball over twice on fumbles in the first half and came up short on a crucial fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter.

Newport junior quarterback Ethan Jefferson completed 15 of 23 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. The team’s other TD came on a 20-yard run by sophomore MyKel King.

Lloyd rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns during the first half that ended with the Juggernauts holding a 12-0 lead. At the break, Riley had 95 yards on 20 carries and Davidson was right behind him with 85 yards on 12 carries. Both of them also scored on short touchdown runs in the second quarter.

Newport running back MyKel King tries to escape a diving tackle by a Lloyd defender on Friday night. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Newport turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions in the first half due to fumbles and went into the locker room with just 56 total yards.

But it took the Wildcats less than two minutes to put points on the scoreboard in the second half. Their first touchdown came on a 41-yard pass from Jefferson to junior wide receiver Kaleb Thompson with 10:24 left in the third quarter.

Lloyd’s offense responded with a time-consuming drive that moved the ball inside the 5-yard line. After a bad snap on a third-down play, however, the Juggernauts came up empty by missing a field goal attempt.

In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Newport took a 13-12 lead on King’s 20-yard touchdown run, but the two-point conversion failed.

That set the stage of Riley’s second touchdown and two-point conversion that put Lloyd back on top. Newport’s chances of regaining the lead dwindled when the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs with less than five minutes remaining.

Lloyd relied on its rushing game to maintain possession. On a fourth-down play, Davidson picked up the yardage the offense needed to stay on the field until the clock ran out.

NEWPORT  0    0  7  6 – 13
LLOYD         0  12  0  8 – 20

L – Riley 2 run (kick failed)
L – Davidson 1 run (run failed)
N – Thompson 40 pass from Jefferson (Maxwell kick)
N – King 20 run (run failed)
L – Riley 6 run (Riley run)
RECORDS: Lloyd 4-2, Newport 4-4.

Ludlow 39, Dayton 20
Newport 20, Lloyd 13
Walton-Verona 41, Louisville Shawnee 8
Highlands 27, Conner 16
Covington Catholic 36, Cooper 8
Dixie Heights 34, Simon Kenton 33
Boyd County at Holmes, 4 p.m.

Ludlow at Newport Central Catholic
Nicholas County at Brossart
Lloyd at Beechwood
Carroll County at Walton-Verona
Highlands at Covington Catholic
Dixie Heights at Ryle
Holmes-Boyd County winner vs. Rowan County

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