BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Donovan McCoy passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more as Fort Thomas Highlands defeated Collins 47-0 Friday night in the KHSAA Class 4A state championship game.
The Bluebirds (14-1), who set state records by clinching their sixth straight championship and 22nd overall title, accumulated 476 total yards, including 323 on the ground, at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
Highlands got the win despite the absence of longtime coach Dale Mueller, who was in New York because of a family death. Defensive coordinator Brian Weinrich filled in for Mueller.
The victory Friday was the culmination of an emotional season, Weinrich said.
"It's been a lot of emotion in a lot of different places this season," he said. "For each guy to pull through in a game like this, it's a little bit overwhelming."
Highlands players and coaches found out Wednesday that Mueller wouldn't be coaching them in the title game.
"By far the biggest source of motivation we had was Coach Mueller," defensive end Seth Hope said. "We were all shocked. That definitely added some motivation."
Hope led the Bluebirds with nine tackles, including five sacks.
McCoy was 10 of 15 for 153 yards with two interceptions and had 15 carries for 105 yards.
Colin Seidl added 115 yards and a rushing touchdown while Zach Harris ran 14 times for 96 yards and two scores.
Lawson Page was 12-of-26 passing for 106 yards for Collins (11-4).
The Bluebirds scored right out of the gates, with Ryan Greene hauling in a 14-yard touchdown pass from McCoy on the game's opening drive to take a 6-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, McCoy struck again, finding Luke Turner on a 21-yard score.
Two second-quarter touchdown runs by Harris and one by Seidl sent Highlands to the locker room up 33-0 at halftime.
The Bluebirds kept the Titans spread offense off the scoreboard the rest of the way with a pass rush from Hope and a solid run defense.
Collins' 38 rushing attempts Friday totaled just 67 yards.
"I thought there was some plays that could've been made in the first half," Collins coach Jerry Lucas said. "We struggled to run the football all night long.
"The problem with the spread offense is if you're going four or five wide and they're playing coverage and you can't run the football, then you're going to have some problems."
Though Highlands now stands alone with 22 state titles, it may not hold the record by itself for long.
Louisville Trinity will also play for its 22nd state championship tomorrow night as a heavy favorite in the 6A title game against Pleasure Ridge Park.
"We don't ever talk about (the record)," Weinrich said. "We don't talk about that we're 1-0, we don't talk about that we're 10-0, we don't even really talk about state championships. Our guys are so bought into it. They're brainwashed. It's a great situation we're in right now."
Collins, which finished just its third season of football, sees Highlands' program as an example of something to become, Lucas said.
"They are as sound a football team as you can play," Lucas said of Highlands.
"We certainly would have to rise to that level and that's what we're trying to get to as a program."