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Editor’s note: The original article was published on BG Daily News by Michael Compton.

LEXINGTON – For the Bowling Green football team, the sequel was better than the original.

One year after falling short in the Class 5A state finals, the Purples finished the story – earning the program’s eighth state title with a 28-14 win over Cooper on Saturday at Kroger Field.

The victory was a culmination of a season-long goal to make amends for last season’s sour finish – a loss that continued to sting up until Saturday’s win.

“We had to get that bad taste out of our mouth from last year,” BG junior quarterback Deuce Bailey said. “We just had a feeling burning up in us. I think our guys really took that into consideration and just came out and got after it.”

The journey back wasn’t without some setbacks. It began with a season-ending injury to last year’s leading receiver Easton Barlow and a 56-52 loss to Lexington Christian in the Rafferty’s Bowl.

Injuries continued to take a toll on the defense, which had to replace eight starters, with the Purples 1-2 after a 38-35 loss to Lexington Bryan Station.

“It’s high school football,” BG coach Mark Spader said. “It’s why I like this sport so much. It prepares you for life. In our fieldhouse it is next man up. There was no panic anywhere. We’ve got guys that are waiting their turn and working their tail off to step in.

“Fortunately we had some people step up throughout the season and built up some depth as well.”

The Purples started to turn it around, winning six straight before a loss to Louisville St. Xavier in the regular-season finale. From there, BG found another gear – steamrolling through the postseason. The Purples outscored opponents 188-29 in the four postseason games leading to Saturday’s championship game.

The defense perhaps saved its best for last, with Cooper forcing four turnovers but unable to cash the miscues into points.

“The guys that came back this year, we grew as the season went on,” senior defensive lineman Jordan Green said. “We grew from last year. That bad taste in our mouth prepared us for this moment.”

It’s a moment that the players and coaches savored during Saturday’s postgame ceremony. The celebration wasn’t just confined to Lexington however, with players learning shortly after the game ended that Jack Harlow announced the team’s state title win to a packed house during his concert at E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday.

“That’s crazy,” Bailey said. “That blows my mind.”{&end}

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