The first time Baker County met Bishop Kenny earlier this season, the Wildcats forced four turnovers and blocked two punts and won the 5A-3 district title on the Crusaders home field 49-35.
Friday night, in the rematch between the two teams at Baker County in the 5A-1 regional semifinal game, Bishop Kenny flipped the script.
Junior running back Cameron Singletary rushed for a career-high 182 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns, and the Crusaders committed no turnovers and scored 28 unanswered points to pull away in the second half and beat Baker County 44-23.
Bishop Kenny even forced a turnover, a 32 yard pick-six by senior defensive back Hunter Parry to put the Crusaders (9-3) in control 37-17 late in the third quarter.
The win moves Bishop Kenny to the regional finals for the first time in school history, and the Crusaders get to return home to the banks of the St. Johns River to host Tallahassee Godby in next week's 5A-1 regional final.
Baker County (9-3) was led by senior running back Falon Lee, who rushed for 227 yards and three TD's and finished his career with the Wildcats with five consecutive 200 yard rushing games. But Baker County couldn't get anything else going around Lee and were forced to the air in the second half, where they aren't very comfortable.
Bishop Kenny struck first as junior quarterback John Wolford found senior receiver Mo Tapper for an 8 yard TD pass on the game's opening drive. Robby Blanchfield missed the extra point but added a 32 yard field goal on the Crusaders second drive to give BK a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Baker County offense led by Lee got going on the next drive, but had to settle for a field goal to cut Bishop Kenny's lead to 9-3. Then after the Crusaders failed on a fourth-and-1 fake punt attempt near midfield, Lee ran in a 48 yard touchdown on the first play of the ensuing Baker County drive to give the Wildcats their first lead of the night at 10-9 with 2:44 left in the first half.
Bishop Kenny answered quickly however, as Tapper took a short pass from Wolford in the left flat and raced 79 yards on the first play of the next possession, putting the Crusaders back up 16-10. Baker County missed a 45 yard field goal on the final play of the first half and Kenny carried that 16-10 lead into intermission.
Baker County moved back ahead on the first drive of the second half, scoring in just over two minutes as Lee finished off the drive on a 2 yard run and the Wildcats regained the lead 17-16.
That was the last time Baker County would lead Friday night, and Bishop Kenny started on a run that would put this game on ice.
Bishop Kenny again answered, with Singletary scoring on an 18 yard run on third down, and the extra point made it 23-17 Crusaders.
After a Baker County punt, Wolford found senior wide receiver Trey Johnson for a 28 yard scoring pass making it 30-17 Bishop Kenny.
Forced to go to the air, Wildcats senior quarterback Corey Lawler tried to sneak the ball in to his receiver on the very first play of the next drive, but Parry jumped the route and went untouched down the sideline for a touchdown that gave Bishop Kenny a commanding 20 point lead.
Bishop Kenny the held the ball most of the fourth quarter, and Singletary capped off his huge night with his second touchdown with just under 2 minutes to go. Lee scored in the closing seconds to cut Baker County's final margin to 44-23.
Wolford finished 13 or 17 with 204 yards and 3 TD passes, and Tapper led all receivers with seven catches for 132 yards and two scores.
For Baker County a fine season ends with a district title and a 9-3 record, but the Wildcats program has never made it past the regional semifinal round of the playoffs.
The beat goes on for Bishop Kenny, and now after two road wins over Ponte Vedra and Baker County, the Crusaders get to return to the friendly confines of Parete Field against 5A power Godby next week in the region 1 final. Before these playoffs, Bishop Kenny had only one playoff win in school history and no road playoff wins. What a difference two weeks can make in these playoffs for the Crusaders.