Isaiah Beasley knelt on the soggy, muddy turf at Ray Story Stadium heartbroken that the season was over.
It wasn’t just that the season was over, it was how it ended.
“You never come in thinking you’re gonna lose like that,” the North Hardin senior said. “When it happens, especially with the season we’ve had, it’s just a hard way to end it.”
A brutal way to end it.
Louisville Trinity scored on eight straight possessions to hand the Trojans their only loss of the season, 54-7 in the KHSAA Class 6-A state semifinals on a rainy Friday evening.
North Hardin took its first possession 80 yards in 10 plays. It ended with junior running back Lavell Wright scoring from the 1 on fourth-and-goal to cap the 3 minute, 59 second drive.
The Trojans opened the possession with a 34-yard pass from Logan Coleman to Marcus Harris.
Coleman, who started the first three games of the season, was behind center as Manie Wimberly was on crutches. He injured his knee late in the first half in last week’s win over McCracken County.
Wright went for 21 yards on third-and-2 for a first down at the 17.
Coleman connected with Ramaj Adams on a 10-yarder on second down for a first-and-goal at the 5.
North Hardin went to the Wildcat formation and Wright tossed a touchdown pass to Darren Green, but the score was waived off because of a holding penalty.
Coleman found Josh Moore on another 10-yard to bring it back to the 5. Wright took it to the 1 and scored on fourth-and-goal,
“We started off fast and then we slowed down,” Wright said.
Trinity answered with a three-play, 55-yard drive and it owned the rest of the game.
Brad West scored from the 7 at 2:30 and a missed PAT made it 7-6.
The Trojans faced a second-and-2 from Trinity’s 43 on their next possession after a 24-yard pass to Moore and an 8-yarder to Adams. Two runs for minus-3 yards forced a punt. A high snap ensued and the Shamrocks’ Branden Stearman blocked the punt.
Trinity took over at the 42-yard line. West went in from the 1 10 plays later for a 13-7 lead at 7:02 of the second quarter.
Will Cave recovered a North Hardin fumble two snaps later and Armon Tucker scored from the 1 on the sixth play of the drive for a 19-7 lead with 3:49 left in the first half.
After two plays that netted 38 yards, the second a 29-yard completion to Harris, the Trojans had a first-and-10 at Trinity’s 41, but four straight incompletions by quarterback Logan Coleman resulted in a change of possession and the Shamrocks capitalized once again.
Trinity faced a third-and-9 from the 42 when quarterback Nathan McElroy found tight end Kaelan Racculia for a 37-yard gain to the 21. West went for seven yards and Tucker took the next two handoffs, the second from 3-yards out, for a 26-7 advantage with 51.2 seconds left before halftime.
The Shamrocks had 22 offensive plays to North Hardin’s eight from the first down after the blocked punt to the 26-7 lead.
“They executed,” Wright said. “That’s all I can say. They executed and we came up behind. We came into the season knowing what we wanted. We just came up short. They’re a good team. We’re a good team. It was a battle.”
North Hardin’s first possession of the second half ended with an interception by Roman White just 11 seconds in.
Tucker caught a 17-yard pass from McElroy for a 33-7 lead at 9:54 and it was 40-7 3:51 later when Tucker took it 59 yards to the house four snaps after a Kyle Feger interception.
McElroy went in from the 1 at 1:47 of the third period and the running clock ensued.
“I think they just executed everything they did pretty well,” said Beasley, who will walk on at the University of Kentucky. “Even though we planned against it, they were perfect on everything and it shows on the scoreboard.”
Trinity outgained North Hardin, 221-166 in the first half.
The story wasn’t just the 55-yard difference.
The Trojans gained 86 yards on its 17 offensive snaps after the scoring drives. Three of those plays went for 59 yards.
The Shamrocks averaged 6.7 yards per play against a defense that was giving up far less than that.
“They’re a fundamentally sound group,” North Hardin coach Brent Thompson said. “They do a tremendous job up front blocking and tackling. That’s one of the better offensive line groups we’ve seen. They have two backs that can go. I think 23 (Tucker) is the fastest kid we faced. Their quarterback, to me, is what makes that team. Obviously, their defense is pretty good, too.”
The Shamrocks scored for the final time as McElroy found Racculia for a 6-yard score with 8:55 left in the contest.
The Trojans’ next possession ended with the third interception and fifth turnover.
“I felt we had some things moving if we had made some catches and made some plays,” Thompson said. “Logan knew since Monday that he was gonna start. We didn’t let it out. We didn’t tell anybody. Nobody on our staff felt uncomfortable. We all felt very confident. Logan had started three games and we were 3-0. If Manie plays tonight, the score is probably the same. You can’t blame that on Logan Coleman at all.”
Coleman was 14-for-28 for 197 yards and the three picks.
Moore caught three passes for 84 yards and Marcus Harris two for 63 yards.
The curtain drops on North Hardin’s best season in school history at 13-1.
It was the second time the Trojans reached the state semifinals. The last one happened 25 years ago and it was also ended by Trinity.
Wright had a hard time running the ball, finishing with 45 yards on 11 carries.
“Lavell was one step away from taking it 85 and the next play he’s one step from going about 70,” Thompson said. “We didn’t get it. We slipped or slid or they made a tackle.”
Trinity totaled 406 yards of offense.
The Shamrocks won the trenches, finishing with 238 yards and six touchdowns on the ground on 38 carries (6.26 yards per carry).
“All season we haven’t had something that went the wrong way and kept going. It just sucks to have it end like that,” Beasley said.
McElroy was outstanding. He was 14-for-16 for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Trinity’s defense held the Trojans to 42 yards on 15 carries.
“This loss means a lot,” Wright said. “We’re gonna play with a chip on our shoulders because we know we’re gonna be back next year.”
The Shamrocks (12-2) take on rival Louisville Male (14-0) at 2 p.m., Dec. 8 at Kroger Field in Lexington for the state championship.