BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — James Quick fought through a rib injury to catch three passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns as Louisville Trinity beat Pleasure Ridge Park 61-7 in the KHSAA Class 6A state championship game Saturday night at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The Shamrocks (13-1) handed the Panthers (14-1) their first loss of the season in winning their 22nd overall state title, tying Fort Thomas Highlands for the state record. It's also the Shamrocks' third straight championship and 10th in the last 12 years.
"We talked about all year how this team had to create its own journey," Trinity coach Bob Beatty said. "It was rough on these kids all year because everyone wanted to compare us to last year but these guys made their own journey.
"It was a very, very special year, a hard year. They persevered."
Dalyn Dawkins carried 15 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns and fellow running back L.T. Thomas scored twice.
Quarterback Travis Wright was 15-of-29 passing for 239 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Alex Graehler and Cody Swabek caught one touchdown apiece.
For the Panthers, quarterback Spencer Sumpter was 14-of-33 passing for 147 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also ran 12 times for 32 yards.
But the star of the night was Quick. The wide receiver will choose his college in the coming weeks — likely picking between Louisville, Ohio State and Oregon.
He had caught 82 passes for 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, but was doubtful for Saturday's game after suffering broken ribs two weeks ago against Louisville St. Xavier in the state quarterfinals.
Quick told Beatty on Friday that he was ready to play, Quick said. After running some routes Friday afternoon and then again during the Saturday morning walk-through, Beatty gave Quick a shot to play.
"You saw how the team responded to him being out here," Beatty said. "He got everyone fired up."
He hauled in two long touchdown passes in the third quarter, a 35-yarder from Wright and another 35-yarder on a wide receiver reverse pass from Swabek.
"It means a lot to me as a player to come out here and help my team win," Quick said.
Trinity scored the game's first 27 points, 20 of which came in the second quarter.
Pleasure Ridge Park got some defensive stops early but was unable to move the ball much against the Shamrocks' defensive attack.
Trinity out-gained the Panthers 518 to 251 on the night.
"You don't want to go out like this," Pleasure Park Ridge coach Jason Hiser said. "The field position killed us in the first half. We actually got some stops, but their defense was lights out. We've got a good offense and we couldn't get much going early and then we started to play lazy on defense and you can't play lazy against these guys."
"You take some bad field position and a few things not going your way and it just kind of snowballed out of control a little bit."
The Panthers' Davon Quisenberry hauled in a 14-yard pass from Sumpter late in the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 27-7.
But Quick's two touchdown grabs in the third quarter put Trinity up by five touchdowns and put the game out of reach.
"They created their own chapter and that's what it's about," Beatty said of his team. "They understand what it is to be successful."