The Bowling Green Purples celebrate a 17-7 win Saturday against Owensboro in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 5A state championship game at Kroger Field in Lexington. For more photos and video, visit

LEXINGTON – Bowling Green football coach Mark Spader knew his defense was special all season long.

They proved it with a postseason run to remember.

The Purples forced two turnovers in Saturday’s 17-7 win over Owensboro in the Class 5A state finals at Kroger Field, continuing a stretch in which the BG defense forced 22 turnovers in four games.

It began when the Purples forced eight turnovers against South Warren. Bowling Green forced six turnovers in wins against North Bullitt and Covington Catholic, leading to Saturday’s two-interception night in which the Purples kept highly-touted Owensboro quarterback Gavin Wimsatt from making potential game-changing plays.

Wimsatt threw for 279 yards, but needed 60 attempts to reach that mark. Wimsatt threw for 158 yards in the fourth quarter with the game pretty much out of reach.

“We knew Wimsatt was a very good player,” Bowling Green senior linebacker Rece Jones said. “We knew coming in that we would have to stop him. We knew he was going to be able to make plays and he did, but I think we were able to contain him as well.”

Spader said he was confident in his defense because they had been tested all year with a schedule that included St. Xavier, Louisville Trinity and McCracken County. The Purples allowed 12 points or less in 10 out of 12 games and recorded four shutouts.

“With the quality of schedule we had, every week was a total focus week,” Spader said. “We knew that if we didn’t put the time in that it was going to cost us on Fridays. It’s funny, the gauntlet we had to go through to get here beginning with South Warren, who I think is one of the best teams in the state – we knew we were going to have to get past them. That schedule prepared us for that game and then the next game, then on the road at Covington Catholic. I don’t think we are where we are right now if we don’t play the schedule we played.”

Spader added that focus went to another level, with the Purples forcing all the miscues in the final four games.

“Through the season, as dominant as our defense was, we didn’t have a lot of turnovers,” Spader said. “I think we had 12 going into the playoffs, but they’ve come in bunches in big games. The ones we had tonight were very timely. Our offense feeds off that.”{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit

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