Bowling Green appears back in business.

The Purples made South Warren pay for every mistake in the first meeting between the two schools and ran away with a 43-7 victory to claim another Class 5A, District 2 championship Friday night at a packed El Donaldson Stadium.

Unsure of how his team would show up against the No. 4-ranked team in the 5A AP poll, coach Kevin Wallace watched his Purples offense zip up and down the field capitalizing on every miscue by the Spartans.

Bowling Green (7-2) blew the doors open with four touchdowns off three fumbles and a stalled drive by South Warren (7-2). The Purples defense overall forced five turnovers and shut the Spartans out for the final three quarters after it initially appeared to be a classic fight between first-time opponents.

But the stage was too big for South Warren, which for a second straight week lost by its own merits.

If Bowling Green wasn’t sure how it would match up against a top 5 team before Friday, it knows now.

The Purples are right where they want to be.

“We knew what the crowd was talking about coming into this game and we came out and just showed this whole town what we can do out here,” Purples junior linebacker Miles Smith said. “I think we showed people how good we can be. I think we showed people where we stand in 5A and how good we’re going to do this year.”

Junior quarterback Beau Buchanan threw a career-high five touchdown passes, 306 yards and 13 completions. Bowling Green broke away from a 7-7 first quarter tie scoring three touchdowns in the second to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.

The Purples broke the Spartans back by recovering a fumble on the kickoff to start the second half.

“They just took us to the woodshed,” Spartans coach Brandon Smith said. “That’s just a good ole fashioned butt kicking is all it is. We talked during the week: You can talk about the stage and intensity but there’s nothing like the real thing. Those guys have a lot of experience in these types of atmospheres and these types of games. Our guys don’t. I thought that showed up big-time tonight.”

For at least a quarter, South Warren hung around.

Bowling Green wasted no time getting big-play Buchanan to work. After Evan Spader returned the opening kickoff to the South Warren 30, Buchanan bought time with his legs, rolled right and hit Nash Hightower streaking down the sideline for a 29-yard touchdown reception on the second play from scrimmage.

Bowling Green seemed in control from the get-go when linebacker Justice Dingle returned a Christian Winn fumble down to the 2-yard line, but Dazhon Blakey fumbled on the first play and South Warren took over at its own goal line.

Winn redeemed himself by leading the Spartans on a 99-yard drive ending with a 2-yard touchdown run to tie it.

From the second quarter and beyond, it was all Bowling Green.

The Purples scored on all three drives in the second quarter to go into halftime with momentum and a 28-7 lead, capitalizing on a South Warren stop on fourth down, a fumble and punt.

Buchanan completed 7-of-10 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. His third score was a 53-yard strike to Ziyon Kenner with 48 seconds left in the half.

“We just prepared really well all week,” Buchanan said. “The offensive line blocked great, receivers got open and we just did what we did best.”

After the Purples forced South Warren to fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, Buchanan hit Hightower for his second score on an 11-yard pass over the middle in the back of the end zone.

Sophomore DeVito Tisdale intercepted Spartans QB Gavin Spurrier on South Warren’s last drive where it really moved the ball. Smith forced a fumble on Spurrier on the next possession, and Buchanan put the cherry on top with a 40-yard TD pass to Blakey. Buchanan’s completion to Hightower on a two-point conversion started the running clock with 8:33 left in the game.

“I thought the things we prepared for in terms of the passing game were pretty solid,” Wallace said. “You can draw up everything you want on paper, but if you don’t have young men to execute it, it doesn’t look very good. Beau Buchanan was special and our receivers were special tonight. I thought we did a decent job in protection. Our backs did a great job of picking up what was coming.”

The Purples now own a 29-game win streak against district opponents dating back to 2010 and their eighth straight district championship. Bowling Green is 99-13 against schools in Warren County.

The defending state champion Purples will host Owensboro in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

“It feels great, but this isn’t our goal,” Buchanan said. “Our goal year in and year out is to win state and that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

Winn led the Spartans with 131 rushing yards and the lone touchdown. Spurrier completed 11-of-19 passes for 154 yards and Clayton Bush had six receptions for 79 yards.

South Warren’s loss to the Purples gives it the No. 2 seed and sets up a first-round playoff matchup with Graves County.

BGHS 7 21 7 8 – 43

SWHS 7 0 0 0 – 7

First quarter

BG – Hightower 29 pass from Buchanan (Dalton

Major kick), 11:06

SW – Winn 2 run (Sanders kick), 5:19

Second quarter

BG – Tisdale 2 run (Major kick), 8:29

BG – Brown 7 pass from Buchanan (Major kick), 4:28

BG – Kenner 53 pass from Buchanan (Major kick), 0:48

Third quarter

BG – Austin Brown 11 pass from Buchanan (Major kick), 9:38

Fourth quarter

BG – Blakey 40 pass from Buchanan (Hightower pass from Buchanan), 8:33{&end}

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Covering high school sports and Western Kentucky women's basketball for the Bowling Green Daily News.

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