Senior kicker Cody Herald knocked one through the uprights with 15 seconds remaining in the game to lift Simon Kenton over Dixie Heights 31-28 at Dixie Heights High School on Friday night.
Two talented quarterbacks were on display in the matchup between the No. 3 and No.4 ranked teams in Northern Kentucky. The Pioneers ranked No. 3 in the Northern Kentucky polls were led by quarterback Chad Lawrence who put the team on his shoulders in the second half. Lawrence took it upon himself to lead the team down the field on the final drive.
"What I was thinking was go out there and score, but take as much time as you can," Lawrence said of the final drive. "When we got into the red zone I knew we were going to end up scoring or kicking a field goal, so I looked at coach and I said lets slow it up a little bit."
The Pioneers were the first to put six points up on the scoreboard. Lawrence completed an 82-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter. Simon Kenton converted the two point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
Throughout the first half penalties plagued the Pioneers in crucial situations. Simon Kenton lost 45 yards because of mental errors in the half. The blue and white squad also turned the ball over twice in the second quarter. Dixie capitalized on the Pioneers mistakes, turning both of those takeaways into touchdowns. The Colonels went on to score 21 straight points to jump out to a 21-8 lead.
The Pioneers picked off Pike, and scored on a 21-yard TD toss by Lawrence with four second left in the half to pull within six. It was Lawrence again who threw another TD pass late in the third quarter to tie the game. The Colonels regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on a Pike rushing touchdown.
Simon Kenton scored 10 points with less than eight minutes to go in the contest. Lawrence tied the game on a rushing TD of his own and the Pioneers sealed the deal on a field goal with 15 seconds remaining.
"I knew it was good, I had no second thoughts on kicking that field goal," Pioneer head coach Jeff Marksberry said.
Lawrence edged out Pike in the battle between the quarterbacks, finishing with 112 yards rushing with one rushing touchdown and 278 passing yards. He threw three touchdown passes and one interception in the contest. Lawrence accumulated 409 total yards on offense for the Pioneers.
"When he has the ball in his hands good things are going to happen," Marksberry said of his quarterback. "He's a playmaker, he's a winner and he's going to make things happen. I mean, that's why he's our quarterback."
Pike led the Colonels on offense with 215 passing yards and 125 rushing yards. He threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two touchdowns. Pike threw two interceptions in the game.
Simon Kenton (1-1) will host New Richmond High School on Football Alumni Night at 7:30 p.m. and Dixie (1-2) travels to Conner for their week three matchup against the Cougars at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10.