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Johnson Central holds up the Class 4A state semifinals trophy after knocking off Madisonville-North Hopkins 52-14 Friday night. This will be the Golden Eagles’ fifth straight Class 4A state championship appearance.

Madsionville North-Hopkins travelled the entire length of the Bluegrass State Friday night as they made their way to Eagle Field for the Class 4A state semifinals against Jim Matney and his Johnson Central Golden Eagles. It will be a long and reflective ride home for the Maroons as Johnson Central rolled to a 52-14 win and their fifth straight trip to Kroger Field to play for the Class 4A state title.

Johnson Central flexed its muscle from the opening whistle, pitching a shutout in the first quarter as the Golden Eagles led 21-0 heading into the second.

Madsionville North-Hopkins got on the  board with 6:54 to play before the break as quarterback Hayden Reynolds found Marquise Parker for the TD catch. After the extra point, the Maroons cut the lead to 21-7.

However, Johnson Central answered right back as Cody Rice forced his way into the end zone with 2:49 left before heading to the locker room. Running back Devin Johnson, who, was everywhere Friday night punched in the two point try to push the lead out to 29-7.

The Golden Eagle defense which came up big all night got to Reynolds with just 54 seconds on the clock before the half and caused the fumble, which Johnson quickly pounced on. The score remained 29-7 heading into the break.

The Maroons struck quick to open the third period as Reynolds threw his second passing score of the night to cut the lead to 29-14, but on the ensuing possession Matney made the call of the night, facing fourth and one, went to the air as Ryley Preece connected with Seth Daulton in the end zone for the score. After the two point attempt was good. The Golden Eagles led 37-14

The fourth quarter was all Johnson Central. With 8:23 to play in the game Johnson broke a huge 68-yard run down the left sideline. That set up a Dillion Preston TD run with 7:32 to play. The Golden Eagles made good on the two-point conversion and went up 45-14.

The Maroons went to the air once again but the Johnson Central defense was there every step of the way as Mason Lawson came up with the interception on their own seven-yard line with 5:12 to play in the game.

Rice put the nail in the Maroons coffin when he punched it in with 3:26 to play in the game which, started the running clock with the score 51-14.

Coach Matney and his Golden Eagles will head back to Kroger Field for the fifth straight time to play for the title.

“It’s unbelieveable. It’s a great blessing, I’ve been blessed beyond measure. That’s all I know to say. God is good,” Matney said.

The coach was super proud of how his defense left it all out on the field Friday night as well. “Oh, they stepped up. Our kids played great, our defense played great. They worked hard all week. We had a great opponent out of Western Kentucky, our kids just did what they needed to do,” said Matney.

Johnson Central (14-0) will take on the winner of Boyle County and the Louisville Central game next Saturday at Kroger Field for the Class 4A state title. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.

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