In a rematch of last season's state semi-final game, the Beechwood Tigers (10-3) played host to the Mayfield Cardinals (13-0) at Edgar McNabb Field. The Tigers were hoping for a better result than last year's 38-0 spanking at the hands of the Cardinals.
It was Mayfield making the over five hour bus ride for the game and head coach Joe Morris certainly had his team ready to play. Beechwood head coach Noel Rash also had his team come out of the gate fast but an early mistake set the tone for the game.
On the third play from scrimmage, Mayfield defensive back Jordan Brown, who had four pass breakups on the night, recovering a Beechwood fumble and the Cardinals were in business.
It only took five plays for Mayfield to hit pay dirt as quarterback Luke Guyh (pronounced guy) hit wide receiver Javarious Richardson with a 58-yard touchdown strike to give the Cards a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Guyh lead Mayfield on an impressive eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The possession started with a 29-yard pass completion to Kenny Payton. Five plays later it was Richardson again, this time with a 37-yard reception to the one-yard line. This setup up Guyh who sneaked it in for the touchdown and Mayfield lead 14-0.
--Postgame: Joe Morris, Mayfield
Beechwood regrouped and put together a drive that chewed five minutes off the game clock. Senior quarterback Michael Colosimo, who struggled much of the night under the immense pass rush, hooked up with junior tight end Corey Cruse for a 28-yard touchdown catch.
After the Beechwood defense forced a three-and-out possession on the ensuing Mayfield drive, the momentum seemed to have turned toward the Tigers. However, the Tigers offense could not covert and was forced to punt back to Mayfield with just over two minutes remaining before halftime.
Beechwood was flagged for a horse collar penalty on the punt return and Mayfield was able to start its drive on its own 40-yard line. On the first two plays, Mayfield's Devin Jones carried the ball 32 yards and Guyh completed a 14-yard pass to Payton. This setup the team's leading rusher Jonathan Jackson, who Beechwood held to just 25 yards on nine carries in the first half, with a four-yard touchdown run and Mayfield carried a 21-7 lead into halftime.
That is what the score remained until the 3:24 mark in the third quarter when Mayfield's Marc Wynstra nailed a 43-yard field goal to extend the Cards lead to 24-7.
Beechwood came back with a quick scoring drive, thanks to a 60-yard run by Gage Erdmann, when Colosimo connected for a second time with Cruse to cut the lead to 24-14.
With Beechwood looking to once again take advantage of the swing in momentum, Mayfield instead delivered the knockout punch. Jones muffed the ensuing kickoff, picked it up at his own 7-yard line, tight-roped the sideline before cutting across the middle of the field and sprinted away from the coverage until he was in the end zone.
Mayfield (14-0), who scored a late fourth quarter touchdown when Guyh threw a nine-yard pass to William Higgingson, won the game by a final score of 38-14. The Cardinals advance to the Class 1A state championship in Bowling Green versus Hazard who defeated Lexington Christian Academy 31-30.
Guyh was 13-for-20, with 240 yards passing and two touchdowns. Richardson, who had a fourth quarter interception, pulled down three receptions for 98 yards and Jackson ends the game with 99 yards on 22 carries.
Beechwood (10-4), ends the year one game short of the state championship game for the second consecutive year, was outgained 328-218.
Written by Brady Laber, TriStateFootball.com