By John Lachmann
Newport Central Catholic scored three straight touchdowns in the second half to advance to the Class 2A state final.
Junior running back Dylan Hayes rushed 25 times for 119 yards and two TDs as the Thoroughbreds beat Somerset, 27-18 in a state semifinal game at Clark Field in Somerset on Friday.
Hayes opened the scoring with a one-yard run in the first quarter, but Somerset found the end zone in the second quarter, and after a missed extra point trailed by just one heading into halftime.
The Briar Jumpers took the lead early in the second half on a 54-yard catch by junior Will Lange that made it 12-7.
But Hayes’ second touchdown with 4:35 left in the third quarter put NewCath ahead for good. Senior Brady Thacker scored from three yards out early in the fourth quarter, and junior Mac Franzen caught a 33-yard TD from senior Josh Cain to ice the game.
Cain finished 15-for-24 for 166 yards and one touchdown.
The Thoroughbreds, who have won four state championships, will play Caldwell County in the state title game at noon on Dec. 1.
This is Eddie Eviston’s third year coaching NewCath, which won the state title his first season in 2010. In 2011 the Thoroughbreds lost to eventual state champion Holy Cross.
at SOMERSET 0-6-6-6—18
NCC-Hayes 1 run (Grosser kick)
S-Hatcher 1 run (kick failed)
S-Lange 54 pass from Hatcher (pass failed)
NCC-Hayes 4 run (run failed)
NCC-Thacker 3 run (Grosser kick)
NCC-Franzen 33 pass from Cain (Grosser kick)
S-Jones 2 pass from Hatcher (time expired)
RECORDS: NewCath 10-4, Somerset 11-3.