COVINGTON – The Bowling Green football team dispatched an old nemesis in Friday’s Class 5A state semifinal matchup at Covington Catholic. Now the Purples are one win away from the program’s seventh state title.

Bowling Green punched its ticket with a dominating 20-0 win against the Colonels. The BG defense continued its strong postseason run, forcing six turnovers, and the Purples offense avenged a shutout loss to Covington Catholic in last year’s semifinal round. It was Bowling Green’s first win over Covington Catholic in four tries all-time.

“It’s an odd and strange year and we just made it a little special,” BG coach Mark Spader said. “Now we have to get reeled back in and get focused and head over to Kroger Field next week and try to bring home a title.”

Bowling Green (9-2) struck quickly, with quarterback Conner Cooper busting through the line and racing down the sidelines for a 72-yard touchdown on the Purples’ second offensive play of the night.

“That’s so important in a game like this,” Spader said. “For him to spring that, that was money for our team.”

Covington Catholic’s offense was unable to get going as the Purples defense picked off quarterback Caleb Jones three times in the first half.

BG was unable to cash in after the first two turnovers, with a punt and a fumble deep in Colonels’ territory following the interceptions.

The third interception, a tipped pass that Rece Jones snatched in the air and returned to the Covington Catholic 3, allowed the Purples to add to the lead just before halftime with a touchdown run by Javy Bunton two plays after the turnover.

Bowling Green’s defense would set the table again late in the third quarter. Dylan Echols’ second of three interceptions on the night was originally a Pick 6. The score was negated because of a penalty on the return. Four plays later, Cooper’s 4-yard keeper gave Bowling Green a commanding 20-point advantage.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Echols said. “It’s a feeling like no other. To get the opportunity to make history in such a peculiar year, it is everything.”

Bowling Green outgained Covington Catholic 245-196. The Purples ran for 187 yards, with Cooper rushing for 119 yards.

Jacob finished 15-for-35 passing for 92 yards and was held to 46 yards rushing on 16 carries.

“The game plan was awesome,” Jones said. “We knew coming in that (Jacob) was the key to their offense. Stop (him) and you stop their offense.”

Bowling Green advances to face a familiar foe for the state title – unbeaten Owensboro – on Saturday at 2 p.m. CST at Kroger Field in Lexington. It will be the 14th time the two teams have met in the postseason, the first time in the state championship game.

“This one means everything,” Jones said. “Whenever I came to Bowling Green as a freshman, I wanted to come here and go to (the state finals). Next week this team is going to be able to do that and hopefully we can execute.”

BGHS 7 6 7 0 – 20

CCHS 0 0 0 0 – 0

First quarter

BG – Conner Cooper 72 run (Colin Fratus kick), 8:49

Second quarter

BG – Javy Bunton 1 run (conversation failed), 3:38

Third quarter

BG – Cooper 4 run (Fratus kick), 1:45{&end}

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

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