The Pikeville Panthers got 231 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns from Blake Birchfield as they roared past the Raceland Rams, 41-9, on Friday to win the Kentucky 1A State Championship on Friday at Kroger Field in Lexington.
This marks Pikeville’s seventh state title in school history, fourth under current head coach Chris McNamee, third in the last four seasons and second state title in a row.
The Panthers (12-2) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Birchfield raced 85 yards to the end zone just 22 seconds into the game. The failed extra point made it 6-0.
Raceland (13-2) cut into the lead just over four minutes later when Peyton Ison connected on a 31-yard field goal attempt to make it a 6-3 Pikeville lead.
The Panthers would then get a big boost from the defense when Deonte Stevens picked up and raced 74 yards for the score. Isaac Duty then found Grant Scott on a 2-point conversion pass to increase Pikeville’s lead to 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The score would remain the same until the end of second half when Duty connected with Wade Hensley as time expired on a 33-yard touchdown pass. The PAT attempt from Jacob Rogers sailed through the uprights to make it a 21-3 lead at intermission.
The Panthers added to their lead when Birchfield found the end zone from 12 yards out for a 28-3 lead with 5:44 left in the third quarter.
The Rams cut into the lead about two minutes later as Logan Lundy connected with Mason Lykins for a 38-yard touchdown pass. The conversion pass failed, leaving the score at 28-9. However, Raceland would get no closer.
Pikeville got a 32-yard touchdown run from Birchfield with 10:26 left in the game. Carson Wright then scored from 6 yards out with 5:01 for the final margin of victory.
Pikeville outgained Raceland in total offense with a 344-270 advantage. 274 of Pikeville’s yards came on the ground.
Birchfield’s 231 yards and 3 touchdowns came on 26 carries. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts.
Duty connected on 6-of-10 passes for 70 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 20 yards on 6 carries.
Brenden Anthony had 12 yards on 4 rushing attempts. Wright’s lone carry went for a touchdown.
Hensley had 3 catches for 56 yards and 1 touchdown. Scott had 13 yards on 1 reception. Tayvian Boykins added 1 catch for 2 yards. Westin Bevins added a reception for the Panthers.
For Raceland, Lundy was 11-of-27 passing for 159 yards and 1 touchown. He also had 57 yards on 10 carries.
Isaac Browning added 32 yards on 8 carries. Noah Wallace had 5 rushing attempts for 12 yards. Connor Hughes recorded 6 yards on 4 carries.
Lykins led all receivers with 87 yards on 5 catches with 1 touchdown. Wallace added 1 reception for 36 yards. Brayden Webb had 1 catch for 11 yards. Browning registered 2 catches for 8 yards.