Where do we even begin?
On Saturday at Western Kentucky University, the No. 13 Lexington Christian Academy Eagles bested the No. 7 Bowling Green Purples 56-52 in a tone-setting game to kick off the 2023 series of Kroger KSR Game of the Week.
We knew this game was going to be huge. Brady Hensley‘s debut in the Eagles uniform, Cutter Boley hitting the field as a Kentucky commit, Deuce Bailey and company returning as class 5A runner-ups, the list goes on… However, I’m not sure anybody expected the outcome we got.
The Eagles produced 800 yards of total offense, with 489 of those coming from Hensley, who put on a stellar performance in his first game wearing LCA on the front of his jersey. Seven of the eight touchdowns LCA scored came from Hensley.
“We’ve had the best offseason that we’ve had since I’ve been at LCA…” head coach Doug Charles said. “Our guys didn’t blink, that’s what I kept on telling them, ‘Don’t blink,’ and just keep fighting, and they responded.”
The teams got right down to business and came out of the floodgates swinging. Bowling Green sophomore Trevy Barber received the opening kickoff and hastily took it to the house for a 90-yard return to give the Purples an immediate 7-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, LCA pushed down the field and gave Boley the opportunity to connect with Hensley for a 7-yard touchdown reception, tying it at 7-7 within the first 01:51 of the game.
A few minutes later, Hensley went on a 62-yard run to score six more for the Eagles, which gave them their first lead of the night, finishing the first quarter at 13-7.
Second Quarter Strikes
LCA opened the second quarter with another massive run from Hensley, who went for 71 yards to score again. The Eagles opted for a two-point conversion to make up for a previously missed extra point and came up successful, pushing their lead to double digits at 21-7.
The Purples responded with a 37-yard field goal with eight minutes to go in the half, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 21-10. LCA struck again when Boley connected with senior Will Rich to make 28-10, the largest lead of the night.
A Barber 14-yard touchdown reception from Bailey created a much-needed momentum shift for the Purples at 28-17 with just under four to play before halftime. That momentum led to a pick-six by senior linebacker Max Buchanon, giving the Purples seven more crucial points before the end of the first half.
Keeping their momentum high out of the locker room, Bowling Green senior receiver Javen Huddleston ran for a massive 64-yard touchdown and reclaimed the lead for the Purples at 31-28. LCA struck back minutes later with a big run from (you guessed it) Hensley, who trucked through defenders for the touchdown run. Another lead change put the Eagles up 35-31 to close the third quarter.
Fourth Quarter Scoring Frenzy
I know this sounds insane, but this is when things get interesting.
A fumble recovery from Purples junior Grayson Newman led to another lead switch and a three-point Bowling Green lead at 38-35. A Boley-Hensley connection was the answer to the Purples score, making it 42-38 Eagles with just under seven minutes left in the contest.
With four minutes to go, Bowling Green struck again with a Christopher Sweeney reception to go back up 45-42. LCA then trucked up the field to give Hensley another opportunity to score, making it 49-45 in favor of the Eagles with 2:24 left to play. Then, Bailey connected with senior tight end Matthew Klein to recover the Purples lead 52-49 with just 2:09 until the end of regulation.
Still, the Eagles kept their composure, ultimately leading to another Hensley rushing touchdown to claim the final score of the night, 56-52, with just 27 seconds left. Despite Bowling Green’s efforts and final Hail Mary attempt, the Purples came up just short of victory, and the Eagles’ deed was done.
Both squads displayed a remarkable level of self-control, remaining present in each play and focusing on the task in front of them. It was an incredibly bold bar-setter game, establishing the pace for the Kroger KSR Game of the Week series this season.
“We just came in with the mindset we had nothing to lose,” Boley said after the game. Trusting their game plan and conditioning was a key component in the victory over the Purples. The Eagles will look to carry this momentum to their next game Friday, August 26 at Boyle County for the Rebel Bowl. Bowling Green seeks their first win of the season when they travel to face No. 22 Owensboro.
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