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Simon Kenton football team snaps string of early season setbacks with 42-21 win over Conner

Conner quarterback Wyatt Hatfield gets tackled before reaching the goal line by Simon Kenton linebacker Aven Bohms. (Photo by Allee Fay)

By Terry Boehmker

NKyTribune sports reporter

After a series of setbacks over the last three weeks, Simon Kenton’s football team  got the win it’s been waiting for on Friday when the Pioneers powered past Conner, 42-21, in Hebron.

Earlier this month, Simon Kenton had a game with Woodford County cancelled due to rain, lost to Covington Catholic, 50-12, and came up short in a 58-54 battle against Beechwood.

“We needed this one, for sure” coach Roy Lucas Jr. said of Friday’s victory that evened the Pioneers’ record at 2-2. “We needed to get a win again. It’s been four weeks since our first one so we definitely needed to get a win again.”

Conner ball carrier Emmanuel Epke tries to break through a wall of Simon Kenton defenders. (Photo by Allee Fay)

An efficient offensive performance carried Simon Kenton to the long-awaited victory. The Pioneers had 559 total yards (366 rushing, 193 passing) without making any turnovers. Four of their six touchdowns came on sustained drives covering 98, 81, 80 and 80 yards.

“Our offense is just good,” said Simon Kenton junior quarterback Brady Lee, who provided two touchdowns rushing and one passing. “Our line is what really carries our offense.”

Simon Kenton junior running back Durell Turner would have to agree with that assessment after rushing for a career-high 300 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries.

He started the scoring with a 60-yard breakaway run and benefitted from some good blocking to pick up the rest.

“We just really felt like we could run the ball so we just kept doing it and were able to convert a lot of third downs,” coach Lucas said.

The Pioneers’ longest scoring drive came after the defense forced a turnover on downs at the 2-yard line with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter. The offense came on and marched 98 yards in 13 plays to get a touchdown that tied the score 14-14 at halftime.

Simon Kenton wide receiver Nathan Kitchens tries to hang on to the ball while being tackled. (Photo by Aliyah Frost)

On a crucial fourth-down play at the 16-yard line, senior Nathan Kitchens caught a 12-yard pass from Lee to keep the drive alive. Lee then scored on a 4-yard run by making the right decision on a run-pass option play.

In the third quarter, Simon Kenton scored on two more long drives to open up a 28-14 lead.

After the defense forced another turnover on downs, Lee threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Kitchens on the next play and junior Cole Garnett kicked the extra point to make it 35-14.

Conner junior quarterback Wyatt Hatfield completed a 41-yard touchdown pass to junior Chase Caplinger and junior Andrew Herron kicked the extra point to close the gap to 35-21 in the final seconds of the third quarter.

Simon Kenton responded with an 80-yard scoring drive that ended with Turner scoring on a fourth-down play from the 2-yard line to seal his team’s 21-point victory.

Conner finished with 225 total yards. Hatfield had 96 yards passing and 97 yards rushing for the Cougars (3-2), who have their first Class 5A district seeding game next Friday at Scott.

The other district seeding games on next week’s schedule are Boone County at Dixie Heights and Highlands at Cooper in Class 5A, Gallatin County at Beechwood and Walton-Verona at Bracken County in Class 2A and Holmes at Covington Catholic in Class 4A.

CovCath and Lloyd are the only local teams that have reached the halfway mark on  their regular season schedule with a 5-0 record. Lloyd has a home game against Newport (4-1) next Friday.

SIMON KENTON   8  6  21  7 — 42
CONNER               7   7   7  0 — 21 

SK — Turner 60 run (Schieber run)
C — Ekpe 26 run (Herron kick)
C — Hatfield 1 run (Herron kick)
SK — Lee 4 run (kick failed)
SK — Lee 3 run (Garnett kick)
SK — Turner 6 run (Garnett kick)
SK — Kitchens 31 pass from Lee (Garnett kick)
C — Caplinger 41 pass from Hatfield (Herron kick)
SK — Turner 2 run (Garnett kick)

High school football scoreboard

Covington Catholic 35, Beechwood 31
Lloyd 53, Brossart 7
Simon Kenton 42, Conner 21
Lexington Dunbar 36, Boone County 7
Campbell County 43, Newport Central Catholic 22
Christian Academy-Louisville 34, Ryle 22
Newport 16, Ludlow 14
Highlands 40, Raceland 0
Cooper 40, Great Crossing 0
Lexington Sayre 41, Dayton 16
Walton-Verona 41, Holmes 0
Holy Cross at Cincinnati College Prep (Ohio), 6:30 p.m.

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