BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Louisville Central quarterback Sydney Tedford hit receiver Marcel Malone with a 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give the Yellowjackets a 12-6 victory over Belfry in the Kentucky high school Class 3A state championship game on Friday.
Central won its fifth title in six years, the third straight time the Yellowjackets have beaten the Pirates in the final.
The touchdown pass came after Central's defense stopped Belfry on fourth down on its overtime possession.
Tedford finished the day 3-of-7 passing for 33 yards with the touchdown. Malone's touchdown was his lone reception of the day.
Central coach Ty Scroggins said Malone wasn't to be Tedford's first option on the winning touchdown. The play called for him to first look for receiver Devonte Yelder on the left side of the field.
But when Tedford saw that Malone had a good matchup on the right side, Tedford called an audible and told Malone to run a slant.
"Sydney just read it right," Scroggins said.
Entering Friday's game, Malone had just 11 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown this season.
"Words can't even explain how I'm feeling right now," Malone said. "It's the best moment of my life."
That moment was set up by a Yellowjackets defensive stand.
Belfry's option attack burned up clock and yardage throughout the game, producing a 27:39-20:21 time of possession advantage and 163 rushing yards.
The Pirates got the first possession of overtime, starting at Central's 10. Facing third and goal at the 4, quarterback Hasani Warren couldn't connect with running back Josh Robinson on an option pitch.
Robinson recovered the loose ball but the play resulted in a 12-yard loss, setting up a fourth down at the 16. Warren's pass to Keaton Taylor fell short and turned the ball over on downs to Central.
Two plays later, the game was over.
"(Central) made some great plays," Belfry coach Philip Haywood said. "It was a heck of a football game. . Gosh, I feel bad for our kids because they fought all year to get here and overcame a lot of injuries. . My hat's off to Central and Coach Scroggins and their program."
Belfry running back Austin Hatfield ran for 105 yards on 19 carries in the loss.
Central led 6-0 late in the first quarter on a 28-yard touchdown run by Deris Cox.
Belfry responded with a 16-play, 74-yard drive that used 7:45. It was capped off a by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Warren to Tony Messer, tying the game at six.
Warren finished 4-of-5 passing for 58 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked four times.
Central had a last chance to score in regulation, driving into Belfry territory as the clock wound down. Facing fourth and 4 at the Pirates 41 with 1:12 left, Scroggins gambled and went for the first down.
But Belfry's defense responded and stopped Cox three yards short of the marker.
Rather than go for the win in the last minute of regulation, Haywood chose to play for overtime.
Cox led Central with 102 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Central won despite being outgained 221-175 by Belfry.