In Class 4A football, looks like it’s Holmes and Scott once again

Dan Weber
Dan Weber
Dan Weber is LINK nky's sports editor-at-large. Contact him at [email protected]

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HOLMES BULLDOGS

Lots of slogans, now it’s time for the Bulldogs to follow up on the field

The t-shirts tell the Bulldogs story – or their aspirations. Here’s a sampling of four of them from a recent scrimmage.

“Unfinished Business,” the first one says. “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog” on another. Or this puzzler: “Relax, I’m only a threat on the field.” And finally there’s the “4-0” one listing the scores of all four district regular season games last fall, ending with a 40-0 romp over Scott.

Which is kind of the problem because just when it looked like the Bulldogs were getting things rolling a year ago, they had the bad luck to face their Kenton County neighbor and Class 4A rival Scott Eagles two weeks later in the playoffs after that 40-0 win. And behind the senior Calloway twins – Quantez and Tayquan – another romp was in the cards, right?

Not exactly. Scott won the game that mattered – and not just by a little. The Eagles buried the Bulldogs 35-8 and moved on in the playoffs as Holmes, despite an 8-3 season – the third-straight eight-win season – stayed home.

“Give Scott credit,” says Holmes Coach Benjamin Nevels. As for the lesson learned? “Huge,” Nevels says for his team that “returns a good number of players with varsity experience,” including seven starters on offense and six on defense.

But the marquee name they’re looking to replace the Calloways is that of 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior Curtez “Tez” Hill, who battled a high ankle sprain much of last year. But if his four-TD performance in a scrimmage last week against Lloyd is any indication, Hill will do just fine.

Holmes coach Benjamin Nevels and Lloyd’s pointing Kyle Niederman before last week’s scrimmage (Dan Weber/LINK nky)

He opened with a 70-yard sprint that he bounced outside to the left, powered his way through a couple of tacklers and then just beat the rest of the Lloyd defenders down the sideline with his speed from spring track that had him running a wind-aided 10.8 in the 100 and a 4.4 in the 40. He also took a swing pass another 70 yards right with a hop-step back left through the entire Lloyd team before a 60-yard burst up the middle and a final 50-yarder on anther swing pass.

“I knew you were fast but not fast like that,” Lloyd’s top back, Kaiden Zulager, told Hill after the scrimmage. “The coaches call me ‘Feets’ because I’m pigeon-toed and bow-legged,” says Hill, whose lone – but not for long – college offer is from Thomas More’s soon-to-be NCAA Division II program.

His favorite running back is Barry Sanders, Hill says, echoing his dad’s favorite. “Coach wants me to be more physical, not to run east-west but more north-south.”

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” Nevels says of Hill’s development. “If we were playing one of the video games that lets you build your own fantasy player, he would look a lot like Curtez — big, explosive, fast, strong, good feet, oh, and did I mention — FAST fast! Curtez will make some very special plays for us this year.”

But also making plays will be tough little two-way leader Miguel Garcia, who took over at quarterback the last half of last season. “A hard-nosed kid, a gamer, fun to watch,” Nevels says.

And then there’s fullback Emauryon Arnold, whose 11 TD led the Bulldogs a year ago. “When he hits you, you stop any and all forward motion,” Nevels says. “He’s a throwback, tough gritty player that will lead our aggressive defense.”

And there’s the key: the defense. “We’re hoping so,” Nevels says, “flying around and being aggressive. It’s their mantra.”

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Holmes running back Curtez Hill (Dan Weber/LINK nky)

Now if they can figure out that inconsistency issue. Here’s what Nevels says will make this team stand out: “Our football team will work as hard as we can to make the “City” proud of us both on and off the field.”

That’s probably the way to think about this far-flung district with opponents from Boyd County in Catlettsburg and Rowan County in Morehead.

“I think it’s educational,” says Nevels, somewhat of a country kid himself as a Simon Kenton alum – “when they just had one or two traffic lights in Independence,” he says.

And yet, that was just one end of the same street. “They just call it Madison Pike out there,” he says, “while we’re on Madison Avenue.”

As for the educational part of this, Nevels recalls how on one of their early trips downstate, his players rushed to the bus windows to look at the exotic animals out in the fields. “They had never seen them before,” Nevels says. The wildlife in the pastures? “Cows,” Nevels said of his city kids.

2022 SCHEDULE

Aug 19 Grant County

Aug 26 At Newport Central Catholic

Sep 2 Boone County

Sep 9 Newport

Sep 23 At Holy Cross (Covington)

Sep 30 Rowan County

Oct 7 At Boyd County

Oct 14 At Harrison County

Oct 21 Scott

Oct 28 Bellevue

BULLDOGS ROSTER

Ben Addison Sr. Dawoo Holtman Sr.
Trenton Addison So. Quincy Huling So.
Emauryon Arnold Sr. Aaron Johnson Jr.
Gavin Bell Jr. Anzahvion Knox So.
Adam Boone Sr. Thomas Long Sr.
Antwan Carr So. Noah Richardson So.
Ryshawn Clifford So. Trevor Schomaker So.
Joshua Cobbins Sr. Anthony Scott Sr.
Mikel Covington Jr. Denim Scott So.
Kayden Crowell Jr. Cyrus Smith So.
Miguel Garcia Sr. Ezaiah Tillman So.
Braidin Green Sr. Cameron Webster So.
Jahmir Henderson Jr. Mayne White Jr.
Curtez Hill Sr. Damarcus Winn Sr.


CLASS 4A 2021 WIN-LOSS RECORDS CLASS DISTRICT RPI

Boyle County 636 187 14 – 1 8 – 0 5 – 0 .73590
Lexington Catholic 381 327 9 – 3 3 – 2 3 – 2 .70801
Corbin 539 158 12 – 1 6 – 1 5 – 0 .67523
Johnson Central 534 220 12 – 3 8 – 1 6 – 0 .59702
Franklin County 496 192 10 – 4 7 – 2 6 – 0 .59034
Rowan County 310 277 7 – 4 3 – 2 3 – 2 .58023
Logan County 443 295 10 – 5 9 – 1 6 – 0 .57937
Spencer County 448 242 9 – 4 7 – 1 6 – 0 .57430
Letcher County Central 365 257 7 – 4 4 – 3 4 – 2 .56301
Central 338 144 7 – 5 4 – 2 4 – 2 .56216
Holmes 356 165 8 – 3 3 – 2 3 – 2 .55332
Bourbon County 257 286 5 – 6 4 – 3 1 – 3 .55029
Hopkinsville 358 190 7 – 5 4 – 2 4 – 2 .54759
Perry County Central 247 290 7 – 4 2 – 3 2 – 3 .53947
Allen County-Scottsville 412 315 8 – 5 5 – 2 5 – 1 .51360
Scott 310 278 8 – 5 5 – 2 5 – 1 .51228
Franklin-Simpson 331 285 5 – 7 4 – 3 4 – 2 .50740
John Hardin 351 165 7 – 6 4 – 3 4 – 2 .50526
Lincoln County 312 265 6 – 7 4 – 2 3 – 2 .50341
Warren East 271 297 5 – 6 4 – 3 3 – 2 .49118
Knox Central 231 325 5 – 6 3 – 4 1 – 3 .48854
Hopkins County Central 321 350 6 – 5 1 – 4 1 – 4 .48409
North Oldham 130 256 4 – 7 1 – 4 1 – 4 .46816
Shelby County 174 421 4 – 7 3 – 3 2 – 3 .46616
Madisonville-North Hopkins 256 351 3 – 8 1 – 4 1 – 4 .46563
Moore 267 165 6 – 5 2 – 4 2 – 3 .46108
Calloway County 231 365 3 – 7 1 – 3 1 – 3 .45107
Wayne County 157 230 4 – 7 0 – 5 0 – 4 .44211
Clay County 253 320 5 – 6 1 – 5 1 – 4 .43807
Anderson County 191 438 2 – 9 0 – 7 0 – 4 .43290
Boyd County 227 232 3 – 7 0 – 4 0 – 4 .41241
Waggener 130 269 2 – 8 1 – 4 0 – 4 .40403
Harrison County 208 437 3 – 9 3 – 5 2 – 4 .40289
Harlan County 287 431 2 – 8 0 – 5 0 – 4 .39053
Russell County 170 378 2 – 9 1 – 4 1 – 4 .36888
Marion County 112 424 1 – 10 1 – 4 1 – 4 .36600
Valley 6 414 0 – 10 0 – 4 0 – 4 .32973
Warren Central 136 364 0 – 9 0 – 4 0 – 4 .32874

SCOTT EAGLES

It’s a building process for the multiple District champion Eagles – but not the kind you think

With 65 players, Eric Turner’s Eagles have the numbers when it comes to roster size with 4A District rival Covington Holmes. Although he’d like it to be higher than that.

“When I was at Lloyd, with a school of 200 boys, we had 75 on the roster,” Turner says. “And here we are with 400 boys at Scott and just 65. And we’ve won two of the last three districts. I’m not sure what you have to do.”

But Scott did have the last word last fall against the only other Northern Kentucky team in this district that extends down to Morehead and Catlettsburg.

Just two weeks after Holmes had wiped Scott out in Taylor Mill, 40-0, in the regular season, the Eagles reversed things with a 35-8 romp over that same Holmes team in the first week of the playoffs. Do the math: That’s a 67-point turnaround. In two weeks.

“In the first game, we were overconfident even with four starters out and Holmes came in ready to play and their coaches did a really good job exploiting the matchups. For the second game, we got those guys back and we had practiced really well.”

And the District title would be theirs in another week. Whether that will be this year’s story . . .well, that’s another story.

“We’re a little behind,” Turner says after losing 16 seniors. Construction of a new pool and gym has not only blocked off all parking at the football field and on campus, making it a 15-20-minute walk via a path through the woods “slipping and sliding when it gets muddy in the rain,” Turner says. But the team also “lost electricity in the football building for 2 ½ months and wasn’t able to lift weights.”

“It’s tough,” Turner says of the way this preseason has played out, “but our kids are pretty resilient. I’m proud of them.”

With six returning three-year starters on the offensive line ahead of returning running back Bennie Hill (508 yards, six TD on 92 carries in 2021), the strength of an Eagles team that finished 8-5 with a 43-7 romp over Harrison County for the District title, will start up front.

And with just eight players having graduated from that team, this year’s roster has 19 seniors (although just four juniors). So that experience is a great place to begin for an Eagles team that after two away scrimmages, opens with two road games (at Walton-Verona, Aug. 19, and Boone County, Aug. 26) before the home opener Sept. 1 against Holy Cross.

A 30-year coaching veteran at Lloyd, Ryle and Boone County, Turner has seen pretty much all there is to see in coaching high school football. But this construction issue is a bit different.

“They say they’ll be finished right before our first game,” he says. Now all he can do is wait and see – as they walk through the woods to practice.

2022 SCHEDULE

Aug 19 At Walton-Verona

Aug 26 At Boone County

Sep 1 Holy Cross (Covington)

Sep 9 At Conner

Sep 16 Grant County

Sep 23 AT Rowan County

Sep 30 Harrison County

Oct 14 At Boyd County

Oct 21 At Holmes

Oct 28 Dixie Heights

EAGLES ROSTER

Walter Acevedo So. 3 Dasani Lane Sr.
Aiden Allen Fr. 20 AJ Lemon So.
44 Charlie Beil Fr. 5 Bryson Lindloff Sr.
10 Logan Bennett Sr. 77 Matt Luken Sr.
64 Kaiden Bohn Fr. 75 Nate Marshall So.
59 Henry Bowen Fr. 41 Joseph Mason Sr.
12 Hunter Bradley Fr. 83 Kaiden McGuire Fr.
66 Aaron Brazzell So. 82 Ethan Merril So.
72 Treyvon Brown Sr. 24 Abram Miller So.
76 Jacob Burgoyne Fr. 54 Emmanuell Mills Sr.
25 Jonathan Clemons Fr. 79 Austin Napier McKenzie Sr.
4 Trey Cook Fr. 21 Talon ONeil So.
32 Bailey Council Fr. 55 Wyatt Patrick Sr.
85 Elijah Council Fr. 42 Elliott Perkins So.
8 Aaron Cummins Sr. Kenny Ringo Sr.
13 Ian Deckard Jr. 14 Aiden Robinson So.
49 Jayden Dodd Fr. 11 Carter Sackett Jr.
91 Braydon Ennis Fr. 53 Wesley Sebastian Sr.
68 Tanner Fields Fr. 60 Austin Shaw Sr.
65 Ethan Gangwish Sr. 99 Benjamin Smiddy Fr.
6 Dylan Giffen Jr. 50 Braylen Snyder Fr.
17 Jordan Goff So. Edward Soden Fr.
22 Drew Grindstaff Jr. 33 Tim Stephenson Sr.
19 Aaron Hampton Fr. Avery Teakell Jr.
Jayshaun Hart Jr. 69 Jayshawn Ward Fr.
62 Lucas Hatcher Fr. 30 Dominic Watkins Sr.
2 Bennie Hill Sr. 18 Chase Weier So.
9 Nolan Hunter Sr. 56 Zach Weier Sr.
27 Josh Johnson So. 71 Noah Williams So.
15 Nathan Johnson So. 23 Charlie Woodring Jr.
Micahel Kauf Fr. 52 Logan Wright So.
81 Boomer Klusman Jr. 94 Sam Wynn Sr.
5 Paul Kramer So. 16 Joseph Zimmerman Sr.
Mason Krentz So

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