Class 5A football state championship preview: Douglass vs. Bowling Green

It’s championship weekend for the 2022 UK HealthCare Sports Medicine State Football Finals. Here’s a look at Saturday’s Class 5A state title game at Kroger Field.

Frederick Douglass (14-0) vs. Bowling Green (12-2)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. Saturday.

RPI Ratings: No. 1 Frederick Douglass (.72016); No. 5 Bowling Green (.65138).

Cantrall Ratings: No. 1 Frederick Douglass (91.4); No. 4 Bowling Green (86.2).

Championship game history: Bowling Green — Seven state titles (the last in 2020) in 11 finals appearances; Douglass — Two finals appearances (2019, 2021).

Quick hits

Class 5A offensive ranks: No. 1 Frederick Douglass (44.8 ppg); No. 10 Bowling Green (34.9 ppg).

Class 5A defensive ranks: No. 1 Frederick Douglass (4.8 ppg); No. 6 Bowling Green (15.5 ppg).

This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools.

Frederick Douglass opened its doors in 2017 as an expansion high school in Fayette County. Its enrollment comes largely from areas that had been part of Bryan Station and Henry Clay high schools.

This year makes three Class 5A state finals for Douglass’s football program in the last four years and two in a row under Coach Nathan McPeek.

This is Bowling Green’s second Class 5A finals appearance under Coach Mark Spader, who took over the Purples in 2018 after longtime coach Kevin Wallace moved on to St. Xavier. Spader had been a Wallace assistant for 14 seasons, which included five state titles. Spader is going for his second title as head coach.

Frederick Douglass’s Ty Bryant recently became the third consecutive Bronco to earn the Louisville Quarterback Club’s Paul Hornung Award given to its pick as Kentucky’s top high school football senior. Dane Key and Jager Burton, both now at Kentucky, were the previous Douglass winners. Bryant is a Kentucky commit.

The Douglass defense’s state-best 63 points allowed (a 4.8 points per game average) might be even more impressive considering that many of those points came after Douglass had already established mercy-rule margins of 36 points. The 35 combined points by Bryan Station, Tates Creek, Henry Clay and Montgomery County were all scored with Douglass comfortably ahead and many of its backups on the field. And eight points this postseason came via offensive miscues — a safety against Owensboro and a fumble recovery TD by Covington Catholic. Take those away, and Douglass’s first-team defense has allowed a total of 20 points in 13 games (one win was a forfeit).

Bowling Green’s defense can play a little bit, too. Last week, the Purples snuffed Southwestern, Class 5A’s most dominant rushing offense, holding the Warriors to six points over the first three quarters while establishing a 47-6 lead before two fourth-quarter Southwestern TDs made the game look closer.

Bowling Green’s Spader recently said the contest could come down to turnovers and the kicking game. Both teams have had a few bobbles in the postseason — Douglass has fumbled and thrown two picks, while Bowling Green fumbled twice in one game and threw two picks in another. Purples kicker Colin Fratus is 61-for-63 on PATs and 5-of-7 on field goals. Douglass kicker Cooper Ranvier is 60-for-68 on PATs and 2-of-6 on field goals, including going 0-for-3 in the playoffs.

Douglass and Bowling Green both played Class 4A finalist Boyle County this season. The Purples lost to the visiting Rebels 35-21 on Sept. 16. The Broncos beat Boyle County 37-6 in Danville on Oct. 28.


Frederick Douglass: Cole Carpenter, Jr. QB (1,714 yards, 20 TDs passing); TJ Horton, Sr. RB (666 yards, 14 TDs rushing); Ty Bryant, Sr. ATH (456 yards, 11 TDs rushing; 3 punt return TDs; 20 tackles, 0.5 sacks; 1 INT); Davaun Hart, Sr. RB (529 yards, 13 TDs rushing). Tylon Webb, Sr. WR (550 yards, 5 TDs receiving); WR Cameron Dunn (537 yards, 8 TDs receiving); Darion Neal, Jr. LB (64 tackles, 2 sacks).

Bowling Green: Deuce Bailey, So. QB (2,923 yards, 33 TDs passing; 375 yards, 3 TDs rushing); Javen Huddleston, Jr. RB (1,156 yards, 16 TDs rushing); Easton Barlow, Jr. WR (940 yards, 12 TDs receiving); Jake Napier, Sr. LB (123 tackles, 1 sack); Davis Fant, Sr. LB (111 tackles, 1 sack); Austin Anderson, Sr. OL/DL (26 tackles).

@HLpreps pick

Douglass 20, Bowling Green 7.

State championships

At Kroger Field in Lexington

Tickets: Available by advance sale digitally at No walk-up paper tickets sold.

Streaming broadcasts: Subscription required for live video stream at Pay-per-view live video at Free audio stream at


Class A: Pikeville (11-2) vs. Raceland (13-1), Noon

Class 2A: Beechwood (13-1) vs. Mayfield (14-0), 4 p.m.

Class 4A: Corbin (14-0) vs. Boyle County (12-2), 8 p.m.


Class 3A: Christian Academy-Louisville (14-0) vs. Bardstown (14-0), Noon

Class 6A: Male (10-4) vs. Bullitt East (13-1), 4 p.m.

Class 5A: Frederick Douglass (14-0) vs. Bowling Green (12-2), 8 p.m.

TJ Horton (15) and Frederick Douglass are seeking the school’s first football state championship Saturday night against Bowling Green. The Broncos have reached the state finals twice previously.
TJ Horton (15) and Frederick Douglass are seeking the school’s first football state championship Saturday night against Bowling Green. The Broncos have reached the state finals twice previously.

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Class A football state championship preview: Pikeville vs. Raceland

Class 2A football state championship preview: Beechwood vs. Mayfield

Class 3A football state championship preview: Christian Academy-Louisville vs. Bardstown

Class 4A football state championship preview: Corbin vs. Boyle County

Class 6A football state championship preview: Male vs. Bullitt East