Bowling Green set for playoff showdown at Owensboro
Bowling Green and Owensboro have a rich football history dating way back.
The two schools have met 79 total times. They’ve participated in home-and-home series. They’ve played each other in many regular seasons. Most importantly, they’ve collided numerous times in the postseason.
The 80th all-time clash between the Purples and Red Devils – two of Kentucky’s Class 5A powerhouses – may be one of the best yet as they each put their seasons on the line Friday and battle in the second round of the 2018 Class 5A KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl at Rash Stadium in Owensboro.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with the game being broadcast live on STBNTV.com, part of The Sporting Times Broadcast Network.
“Though we’ve won the last 14 matchups, including six regular-season and playoff meetings over the last three seasons, it is always a tough atmosphere for the road team at Rash Stadium,” Bowling Green head football coach Mark Spader said. “I expect the stands will be packed, and it will take a complete game for us to escape with a win.
“As we clearly understand in our program during this time of the year, it is win or go home.”
Bowling Green’s hands will most certainly be full as it’ll compete against an Owensboro squad that has won seven straight – including a 47-17 win over Greenwood last week in the opening round – since suffering a 21-12 loss to the Purples back in Week 4 of the regular season. As that game on Sept. 7 was tightly contested, Friday’s matchup isn’t expected to be much different.
With both clubs being very familiar with one another, Bowling Green knows what to expect from Owensboro (9-2 overall) and its explosive offense. A unit that averages 394 yards and 38 points per game, the Red Devils are led by a handful of athletic weapons that know how to move the ball effectively and fill the stat sheet.
Will Warren – a quarterback that has passed for 2,795 yards and 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2018 – highlights Owensboro’s offensive group, while running backs Trevon Green (734 yards, 10 TDs) and Imonte Owsley (678, 10) have combined for 1,412 rushing yards and 20 total TDs. Along with his rushing numbers, Owsley is also the Red Devils’ leading receiver with 906 yards and nine more scores.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us on defense. Owensboro’s explosive offense is led by quarterback Will Warren as he distributes the ball to a number of playmakers in Imonte Owsley, Trevon Green, Tyren Hayden and Treyvon Tinsley,” Spader said. “As always, Owensboro plays fast and aggressive.”
Bowling Green (9-2), which defeated Christian County 29-7 last week in the first round, travels to Owensboro holding a slim 39-38-2 lead in the all-time series and having won 28 of the last 33 tilts against the Red Devils.
Averaging 360 yards and 35 points per outing, the Purples are led by quarterback Beau Buchanan and running back Vito Tisdale. As Buchanan has thrown for 2,132 yards and 23 touchdowns with six interceptions, Tisdale – a four-star prospect who currently holds 10 scholarship offers – has rushed for 774 yards and 10 TDs to go along with 235 receiving yards and two more scores.
“Bowling Green is a perennial power in Western Kentucky, and this year is no exception,” Owensboro head coach Jayson Fallin said. “This, of course, starts with super talented junior Vito Tisdale, who is one of the top players in the entire state. Vito is capable of making a big impact in all three phases of the game. Beau Buchanan is a very talented quarterback with a strong arm who will make us pay if we are not in our sports with discipline on defense.
“They are talented across the board and play as hard and as physical as anyone we will face.”
With both sides looking to survive and advance to the quarterfinals for a meeting with the South Warren-Grayson County winner, there’s much to play for on Friday. With that said, Rash Stadium is anticipated to be pretty electric.
“With both teams entering the contest at 9-2 and after a close regular season battle with a good weather forecast for Friday, I expect a large and enthusiastic crowd at historic Rash Stadium,” Fallin said.