Saturday, November 27, 1999

Beechwood 25, Pikeville 19

Enquirer contributor

Beechwood's Mike Nie goes airborne.
(Josh Biggs photos)
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        FORT MITCHELL — Never count Beechwood out of a home football game.

        The Tigers rallied from nine points down in the final five minutes Friday night to beat Pikeville 25-19 and advance to the Class A state final. It was Beechwood's 42nd consecutive victory at Edgar McNab Field; it hasn't lost a home playoff game in nine years.

        Beechwood (12-2) goes for its seventh state title this decade and eighth overall against Hancock County (12-2) at noon next Friday at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville.

        “We've done a lot more than anybody expected,” senior receiver Max Mann said. “That's the way it should have been all season.”

Pikeville's Matt Branham eludes a tackle by Matt Campbell.
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        Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle called Friday one of the greatest comebacks he's seen — especially since senior quarterback Ben List, the team's leading scorer, was out almost the entire second half.

        “(List) deserved a chance to play in Louisville,” Yeagle said. “The other kids picked it up, and that's what football's all about.”

        Over the last 6:37 of the game, Beechwood turned mistakes into magic. That's how much time remained when Pikeville (12-2) took a 19-10 lead on Jarrod Frasure's 1-yard touchdown plunge.

        With 4:03 left, Beechwood junior quarterback Mike Nie flipped a four-yard shovel pass to senior Josh Kaiser to cut the lead to 19-17. Nie earlier scored from three yards out with 7:19 left in the third quarter to give Beechwood a 10-6 lead.

        Pikeville went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and Beechwood got the ball on its own 41 with three minutes left.

        Then came more magic tricks — Nie hit senior Max Mann for 22 yards and again for 26 to put the ball at the Pikeville 11.

        “It's a sideline pass; we always go through it,” Mann said of the second throw. “It's like an everyday thing. Every day in practice, we run it.”

        Yeagle said he tried to tell people Nie could run the offense as well as List.

        “He's the man, he's an athlete, he's a football player,” Yeagle said.

        Junior Nick Sketch ran twice for three yards to put the ball at the 8, and Hampel scored the winning TD with 1:38 left. He ran around left end on a play Yeagle said was supposed to go inside and set up senior kicker Adam Robb for a field goal.

        “There was just nothing inside,” Hampel said. “I figured if I cut outside, I might be able to score.”

        Kaiser provided the final magic when he intercepted junior quarterback Matt Branham's pass with less than a minute remaining.

        “What can you say?” Pikeville coach Chris McNamee said. “Beechwood made the plays when they had to, and we didn't.”

        Beechwood also made plays on defense. The Tigers held Pikeville to 300 yards and Branham — who entered Friday's game with 3,194 passing yards — to just 130 yards.

        Beechwood, 125-15 with an .892 winning percentage, had already clinched the title of Kentucky's winningest team in the 1990s.

        Yeagle didn't know a lot about Hancock County Friday, but he didn't seem to care.

        “We're going to Louisville, anything can happen down there,” Yeagle said. “We've got a decent record down there, so we'll take our chances.”

        Pikeville ....... 6  0  6   7—19

        Beechwood ....... 3  0  7  15—25

        P—B.Rogers 1 run (kick failed)

        B—Robb 27 field goal

        B—Nie 3 run (Robb kick)

        P—B.Rogers 5 run (pass failed)

        P—Frasure 1 run (Walls kick)

        B—Kaiser 4 pass from Nie (Robb kick)

        B—Hampel 8 run (Mann pass from Nie)

        Records: B 12-2, P 12-2.


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