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State Champions: SWHS wins Class 4A football title

South Warren used its signature stifling defense to defeat Johnson Central 36-6 December 6 and capture the Class 4A state championship in the Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl at Western Kentucky University. It was the first state championship in the history of the school, which opened in 2010. The Spartans finished the season with a 15-0 record and are 28-1 over the past two seasons.

The Spartan defense limited Johnson Central to 130 total yards while coming up with two pass interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Both fumble recoveries, one by Devante Colton and one by Jacob Wilde, were returned for touchdowns.

Running back Kayron Namvong led the SWHS offense, carrying 27 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Ryder Litten, the game's Most Valuable Player, completed nine of 18 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball 17 times for 50 yards. Chase Japp caught the touchdown pass from Litten, and Austin McElwain added a touchdown run for the Spartans.

South Warren was dominant on defense all season, limiting its opponents to only 110.8 yards and 5.9 points per game. The Spartans won their games by an average of 30 points.

SWHS head coach Brandon Smith, who won the championship in only his second season as head coach, was named Class 4A-District 2 Coach of the Year. McElwain, a standout on offense and defense, was named District Player of the Year and State Class 4A Player of the Year. He is one of 19 seniors on the SWHS roster.

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