LOUISVILLE — An unfortunate trend continued for Floyd Central in its season-opener Friday evening.
Louisville Male — Kentucky’s defending Class 6A state champion — totaled 400-plus yards, including 173 and four touchdowns on seven catches from University of Kentucky commit Izayah Cummings, en route to a 42-13 victory over the Highlanders. The setback marked Floyd Central’s eighth straight season-opening loss to the Bulldogs.
The Highlanders (0-1), 1-9 all-time against the eight-time Kentucky state champions, toppled Male 28-21 in 2011 but have since been outscored by an average of 36.3 points per meeting.
Floyd Central, which went 5-5 in coach James Bragg’s first season a year ago and returned seven starters on both sides of the ball, recorded 196 total yards on offense and zero first-half turnovers in addition to having fewer penalties than the Bulldogs.
“We saw a lot of good things tonight,” Bragg said. “We’ve got some mistakes that we have to fix, but we moved the ball on probably the best team in the state of Kentucky. That’s big for us to move forward.”
Male opened the scoring with an eight-play, 55-yard touchdown drive before Floyd Central standout kicker Cole Hussung made it 7-3 with a 28-yard field goal to answer.
Bulldogs quarterback Elijah Parish and Cummings didn’t take long to answer in the form of an 82-yard scoring strike on the first play of the ensuing possession. Another touchdown pass, this one 23 yards, to Cummings made it 21-3 after one quarter.
In the second period Jackson Farley gave the Highlanders life with an interception of Parish in the end zone, but Floyd Central couldn’t capitalize and instead later settled for a 35-yard field goal from Hussung as first half ended.
Floyd Central fumbled the second-half kickoff and allowed a 10-play, 69-yard drive on the ensuing possession to make it 28-6. A 63-yard drive extended the deficit, and while the Highlanders thwarted another scoring attempt with a fumble recovery from Trent Allen at their 12-yard line, an interception on the following drive paved the way for another Male score.
“We were winning the turnover battle early,” Bragg said. “They definitely made some adjustments at halftime that we didn’t anticipate as much as we should’ve.”
The Highlanders found the end zone for the first time by way of a 72-yard run from Wenkers Wright and a 10-yard touchdown pass, on fourth and goal, from Tristan Polk to Kaleb Quenichet with 6:39 to play.
Floyd Central is on the road again next Friday as Providence welcomes the Highlanders to Murphy Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Floyd Central has won six straight and 10 of its past 11 versus the Pioneers.
“It’s a rivalry game for us,” Bragg said. “They get hyped up, our kids get hyped up, so we have to come ready to play. We can’t just think we’re going to roll. … We have to take it one play at a time, one day at a time.”