LEXINGTON – The South Warren football team claimed its third state title since 2015 with a 38-26 win Saturday over Frederick Douglass in the KHSAA Class 5A championship at Kroger Field in Lexington.

Quarterback Caden Veltkamp threw for 295 yards to lead a balanced attack as South Warren (14-1) capped another championship season for a program that first started playing varsity football in 2011.

“That was a heckuva game,” South Warren coach Brandon Smith said. “That is what it is all about. That’s what you do this for – the preparation. When you get in games like this you have plays you draw up on the board and they look pretty, but these games come down to guys making plays. Our players made big plays in big situations when they had to. They’ve done it all year long. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Veltkamp was a freshman who saw limited action when South Warren won its last title in 2018. He said Saturday’s win was especially satisfying as a senior.

“This is all my class has been working for since 2018,” Veltkamp said. “We got that feeling (as freshmen), but really only Eldar (Dervisevic) and Luke (Burton) were on the field. This is everything we have been working for since we were freshmen.”

The battle of two of the top six scoring defenses in Class 5A turned into a shootout, with South Warren able to take the lead in the first half and hold off a late charge by the Broncos.

South Warren opened with a 12-play, 61-yard drive capped by a Dervisevic field goal, but Frederick Douglass (13-2) responded with an 80-yard drive to briefly take a 6-3 lead after a touchdown run by TJ Horton before Veltkamp helped the Spartans recapture the momentum.

The WKU commit was 13-for-17 for 241 yards in the first half – with touchdown passes to Burton and Tyler Snell that made the score 17-6.

“It wasn’t necessarily the plan, but we thought most people had been afraid to throw on them all year long and that there were some things there that were available,” Smith said. “These guys did a great job of executing it. Caden did a nice job. They are not going to be wide open in this game. They weren’t wide open. He made some throws. We made some catches and made plays.”

Frederick Douglass trimmed the deficit to 17-12 late in the first half after Dane Key took a short pass from Samuel Cornett and broke free for a 73-yard score.

The Broncos got the ball to open the second half, but a fake punt gave South Warren the ball near midfield and the Spartans capped a nine-play drive with a Burton touchdown run on fourth-and-goal at the 1 to extend the advantage to 24-12.

It remained a two-possession game until late in the fourth quarter, when Key and Cornett teamed up on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to trim the deficit to 24-19.

The Spartans answered, with Veltkamp dropping a snap but picking up the loose ball and finding Snell for a 31-yard touchdown with 2:09 left.

“I was pretty excited,” Veltkamp said. “I knew it was a touchdown before we even snapped the ball. I picked it up. Snell made a great play, a great catch and that sealed it.”

Frederick Douglass scored two plays later to make the score 32-26, but South Warren recovered the onside kick and Burton sealed the victory with a 24-yard touchdown run.

“We’ve all dreamed of this – our senior year, coming out with a state title – and it happened,” Snell said.

South Warren outgained Frederick Douglass 425-330.

Veltkamp finished 19-for-24 for 295 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Avrin Bell had five catches for 95 yards and an interception on the final play of the game. Burton had two catches for 50 yards and a team-leading 79 yards rushing.

The Spartans ran for 130 yards.

“Teams haven’t run the ball like that on us all year,” Frederick Douglass coach Nathan McPeek said. “I think we were kind of shocked in a lot of ways. At times we made some plays, but we weren’t consistent in the way we did things defensively.

“Offensively, we kind of sputtered out of the third quarter. I thought that was the difference in the game.”

Cornett threw for 276 yards for the Broncos. South Warren’s defense held Frederick Douglass to 46 yards rushing.

SWHS 10 7 7 14 – 38

FDHS 6 6 0 14 – 26

First quarter

SW – Eldar Dervisevic 22 field goal, 6:47

FD – TJ Horton 9 run (Cooper Ranvier kick), 4:15

SW – Luke Burton 49 pass from Caden Veltkamp (Dervisevic kick), 1:24

Second quarter

SW – Tyler Snell 21 pass from Veltkamp (Dervisevic kick), 4:38

FD – Dane Key 73 pass from Samuel Cornett (conversion failed), 3:47

Third quarter

SW – Burton 1 run (Dervisevic kick), 5:38

Fourth quarter

FD – Key 5 pass from Cornett (Ranvier kick), 7:01

SW – Snell 31 pass from Veltkamp (Burton pass from Dervisevic), 2:09

FD – Cameron Dunn 27 pass from Cornett (Ranvier kick), 1:48

SW – Burton 24 run (conversion failed), 0:20{&end}

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

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