Frederick Douglass takes on Woodford County in 5A football


University of Kentucky commitment Ty Bryant, shown here in a game against Boyle County earlier this season, rushed 16 times for 106 yards and scored the touchdown for Frederick Douglass in their quarterfinal victory class 5A against Woodford County on Friday night.

University of Kentucky commitment Ty Bryant, shown here in a game against Boyle County earlier this season, rushed 16 times for 106 yards and scored the touchdown for Frederick Douglass in their quarterfinal victory class 5A against Woodford County on Friday night.

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After their 21-7 win over Woodford County on Friday night, Frederick Douglass players passed around a No. 42 shirt and held it up to any camera that came close to them. It accompanied a widespread post-game chorus.

“It was for him.”

After their 33-6 victory over Covington Catholic last Friday night, Frederick Douglass players began to learn that their teammate, Corey Gamble, had been seriously injured in a car accident.

The senior linebacker remains hospitalized but has communicated with his friends since the accident. A honed work ethic between the lines helped him begin his rehab.

“He sent us videos of his therapy,” said Ty Bryant, also a senior. “He wasn’t supposed to climb the stairs for two weeks, but he did it in two days. He’s a warrior.

Gamble might get a chance to watch his brothers in the state semifinals now.

“We went into the locker room when it was tied at halftime and we were like, ‘We’re not going to the hospital to tell him we lost, man,'” Bryant said. “Because that’s the only thing he wanted. The only thing he wanted us to do was win so he could go out next week.

How did it happen

Douglass, the No. 1 team by RPI in the Class 5A 2022 UK HealthCare Sports Medicine State Football Finals, and No. 7 ranked Woodford County came on as the top two offenses in their rankings. They tied 7-7 for two quarters.

The Broncos also boast the stingiest Class 5A defense (4.5 ppg allowed in their first 12 games), but poorly timed penalties and several missed connections helped keep their normally potent offense off the track in the first. half time. So did the Woodford County secondary: Senior Aden Nelson completed the second pass thrown by Douglass quarterback Cole Carpenter and he nearly stole another in the Broncos’ next practice.

Both teams failed to score in the first half. With the help of two penalties from Woodford, the Broncos went 60 yards to strike first on a Devaun Hart touchdown with 8:32 left in the first half. They forced a three-and-out from the Yellow Jackets and got the ball near midfield, but a costly catch pushed the Broncos back and undermined the drive. Woodford seized his next opportunity, going for 73 yards in three minutes to even things up before halftime on a TD executed by Andrew Nason.

The first-half inefficiencies continued into the third quarter but faded as the Broncos relied more on Bryant out of the backfield. Bryant signed to the University of Kentucky as a defensive back but carried potential tacklers like Chris Rodriguez on Friday: He rushed 16 times for 106 yards, including the touchdown with 25 seconds left in the third quarter .

“I told coach (Mark) Stoops he’s a DB but he can also play running back,” Broncos head coach Nate McPeek said. “It’s a man.”

A fumble recovered by second Logan Busson allowed an insurance touchdown early in the fourth; Carpenter hit Cameron Dunn for a 29-yard completion in the end zone. The Yellow Jackets advanced no further than the Broncos’ 38-yard line for the rest and had their fate sealed by an interception from Jaden Dixon.

Look forward

Douglass (13-0) will host Owensboro (11-2), a 36-0 winner over Fairdale on Friday night. This is the fourth straight playoff meeting between the Class 5A stalwarts; the Broncos lead the series, 2-1.

Last year’s contest was lopsided in favor of Douglass (35-7) and followed three similar wins. After being held to less than 30 points for the first time this season — and less than 50 for only the fourth time in 2022 — the Broncos are likely to have spirited practices before and at Thanksgiving.

Along with Bryan Station (Class 6A) and Lexington Christian Academy (Class 2A), they are struggling to end a 13-year drought since a Lexington school last won a state title (LCA, 2009 ). The chasm is even wider for a public school student (Henry Clay, 1981).

Douglass’ seniors have failed twice in the championship round, in 2019 and 2021. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of motivation to make the rounds on Black Friday.

“We want it to be different this year,” Bryant said. “That was the whole goal. …

“We chain each other every day in training and the good thing is nobody takes it personally. That’s why we do it, for times like this when we have to overcome adversity.

turkey day

High school football teams appreciate the opportunity to practice on Thanksgiving, but it can affect the ability to fully enjoy the holidays.

“We have a group chat and everyone sends their plates and we’re like, ‘Brother, don’t eat so much,'” Bryant said with a laugh. “You have to keep the goal in your mind. You can’t eat three or four plates the way you really want.

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