Fed up with trending downward, the Apollo High School football team flipped the script in eye-catching fashion on Friday night.
Getting significant contributions from their offense, defense and special teams, the Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak with a convincing 49-28 conquest of always-tough Meade County before an enthusiastic crowd at Eagle Stadium.
Apollo second-year head coach Phillip Hawkins was encouraged in the aftermath.
"I'm really proud of our football team," Hawkins said. "That's about as complete a football game as we're capable of playing, and we got contributions from a lot of players to make it happen.
"The kids bought in this week, and that's what we've been working on out here. I think they now understand if you work hard and play as a team, good things will happen."
Apollo senior Malik Wilson, who figured prominently in a variety ways, got the Eagles on the board at 4:44 of the first quarter by returning a Green Wave fumble 40 yards for a touchdown.
On the Eagles' next possession, Damian Lovinsky hooked up with Geoffrey Johnson for a stirring 62-yard touchdown pass down the near sideline, and with just over two minutes left in the first period Apollo was in front, 14-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Meade County cut its deficit to six points when Mason Burnett scored from 11 yards out and star running back Austin Oppel converted a 2-point conversion run.
But Apollo (2-3) responded immediately, marching 53 yards in eight plays and shooting in front 21-8 when Harold Hogg blasted to paydirt at 4:15.
Late in the half, the Eagles stretched their advantage to 28-8 when a 2-yard TD run by Lovinsky capped a surgical 11-play, 45-yard scoring march.
"You have to take what the defense gives you," Hawkins said, "and I thought we were pretty efficient with our drives."
Burnett's 15-yard TD run at 5:45 of the third period pulled the Green Wave (2-2) within 28-14, but then Wilson returned a short kickoff 60 yards for a touchdown to help Apollo rebuild their advantage to 35-14.
Meade County bounced right back, however, driving 63 yards in five plays. Oppel's 1-yard scoring plunge and his subsequent 2-point conversion kept the Green Wave within striking distance -- trailing 35-22 at 3:57.
But Apollo refused to fold.
Instead, the Eagles drove 60 yards in eight plays on their ensuing possession -- Lovinsky's 1-yard TD burst making it 42-22 just before the end of the third period.
Oppel scored from three yards out on Meade's next possession, but Apollo put the finishing touches on a big performance with the final touchdown of the game -- a 48-yard run by Hogg at the six-minute mark that officially sealed the deal.
For Apollo, Lovinsky completed 9-of-18 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for 88 yards and two scores. Contained early, Hogg rallied to finish with 100 yards on 22 carries and two TDs.
The Eagles finished with 188 yards rushing, 118 passing for 306 total yards. Harrison Bowman was 7-for-7 on extra-point kicks.
Meade County got a game-best 189 yards on 24 carries from Oppel, who scored two touchdowns, and Burnett added a pair of scoring runs.
The Green Wave, limited to only 88 yards of total offense in the first half, finished with 305 -- 252 of which came on the ground.
Apollo is back at Eagle Stadium next week for a Class 6-A district encounter with McCracken County.
MEADE COUNTY 0-8-14-6 -- 28
OWENSBORO CATHOLIC 14-14-14-7 -- 49
A-Wilson 40 fumble return (Bowman kick)
A-Johnson 62 pass from Lovinsky (Bowman kick)
MC-Burnett 11 run (Oppel run)
A-Hogg 3 run (Bowman kick)
A-Lovinsky 2 run (Bowman kick)
MC-Burnett 15 run (run failed)
A-Wilson 60 KO return (Bowman kick)
MC-Oppel 1 run (Oppel run)
A-Lovinsky 1 run (Bowman kick)
MC-Oppel 3 run (run failed)
A-Hogg 48 run (Bowman kick)