Beechwood-CovCath highlights high school/college football weekend here

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Staff Report
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For the first time this season, no Northern Kentucky team plays a Thursday game this week. Although we didn’t know that until two days ago when the Newport-Cincinnati College Prep Academy game was rescheduled from Thursday to Friday with all the rest of the local games. So here we go with this weekend’s previews.


NEWPORT (2-2) at CINCINNATI COLLEGE PREP ACADEMY (1-3) at Norwood High School, 7 p.m.: Gotta’ be fast on your feet to play this game. Maybe that’s why they call it football. But until Tuesday, this game was scheduled for Thursday. Now it’s back to Friday and set for Norwood High School’s stadium. It’s the lone home game of the season thus far for the Cincy College Prep team that opened with a win against Bethel-Tate but has been overwhelmed by the likes of Purcell Marian (54-20) and Norwood (22-0). The Wildcats of first-year coach Ryan Hahn are coming off a tough 32-28 loss at Holmes after wins over Bishop Brossart and Pendleton County as they grow up around senior do-everything star Quincy Barber.

WALTON-VERONA (3-1) at BOONE COUNTY (2-2), 7:30 p.m.: Walton-Verona’s Bearcats have had their way with Class 5A Grant County, Class 4A Scott, and Class 2A Holy Cross before getting handled 40-21 last week by Class A Newport Central Catholic. But now they head off to Florence where another 5A team, Boone County’s Rebels, await. This is a critical game for both teams with the Rebels close winners over Russell and Scott before losing to Holmes and Lloyd. Flip a coin here.

CAMPBELL COUNTY (1-3) at CONNER (1-3), 7 p.m.: It hasn’t been easy going for either of these 1-3 teams. Class 5A Conner is young, finding its way into the winner’s circle finally in Week 4 by a point, 21-20, over Scott. Class 6A Campbell County, stung by an off-the-field issue two weeks ago, won its opener impressively against NewCath but it’s been all downhill since then including last week’s 28-26 loss to Cooper. Another one of those games that it will be a tough loss for whoever comes out on the short end of this score going into district play.

BEECHWOOD (4-0) at COVINGTON CATHOLIC (3-1), 7 p.m.: Another week, another battle for the control of the Dixie Highway. But instead of facing the young Colonels of Dixie Heights on the road, the equally young Colonels of Class 5A CovCath will be defending their Park Hills turf against the all-winning Class 2A Tigers from next door in Ft. Mitchell who just knocked off Class 6A Simon Kenton 30-7 last Friday, in this Friday’s game of the week. And much like in that game, with Simon Kenton losing star quarterback Chase Crone the week before, CovCath lost impressive junior Evan Pitzer to injury in that Dixie Heights game. Not that Beechwood is unfamiliar with that scenario. The Tigers with the 27-game win streak, longest in Kentucky football, lost their starter, Clay Hayden, the last week of preseason and have been winning with a freshman QB, Cash Harney, guiding them. It helps to have stars like tailback/linebacker/punter/placekicker Mitch Berger and DB/WR/Wildcat QB Antonio Robinson Jr., and DE Xavier Campbell to lean on in this matchup of coaches who have won 11 state championships between them (Beechwood’s Noel Rash with seven, CovCath’s Ed Eviston with another four). CovCath has had the tougher schedule opening with Ohio No. 3 Cincinnati Elder in its lone loss and beating a strong Lexington Catholic team on the road, 7-6, two weeks ago. And the Colonels have an alternate QB of their own to turn to – as they did last week quite successfully against Dixie Heights – in senior Zaccary Roberts, who came in to hit on 12 of 14 passing for 179 yards in a 47-14 win over Dixie Heights. Should be the game of the week here and the kind of challenge that will prepare each of them – especially CovCath – for the challenges of district play.

LEXINGTON SAYRE (2-1) at DAYTON (2-2), 7:30 p.m.: Before losing 28-21 last week to Frankfort, Lexington Sayre had won its first two games (against Eminence and Fort. Knox) by a 78-0 margin. So this game is hardly a gimme for the up-and-down Greendevils at historic Davis Field. Leading rusher Landyn Hopper did manage to run for 60 yards on 19 carries in last week’s 21-8 loss at Estill County but the Devils failed to complete a single pass (they threw just two) and totaled a mere 118 yards of offense. Jesse Herbst’s guys will have to do better this week at home in a battle of 1A teams.

BELLEVUE (0-4) at GALLATIN COUNTY (0-3), 7:30 p.m.: Bellevue’s road warriors have traveled to different ends of the state already with trips to Metcalfe County and Magoffin County so the jaunt down I-71 to Warsaw shouldn’t be all that much an issue. Nor should Gallatin’s winless Wildcats who have lost already to Class A Ludlow from Northern Kentucky. The good news for the super-young Tigers with five freshmen starters is that they managed to score their first points of the season – 20 – in a 65-20 loss at Magoffin. But that still leaves the Tigers down 207-20 in total four-game scoring. Bellevue does have a 9-6 edge in the 15-game series against Class 2A Gallatin County dating back to 2007.

NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC (3-1) at HOLY CROSS (1-3), at Thomas More, 7 p.m.: NewCath, after stubbing its toe in an opening loss at Campbell County, has it rolling now coming off a 40-21 over previously unbeaten 2A Walton-Verona. Not so for a Class 2A Holy Cross team going in the opposite direction, with an opening win and then three straight losses including a 14-0 shutout at the hands of a Walton-Verona team that NewCath put up 40 on last week while Holy Cross was suffering a tough 11-8 loss to Bishop Brossart. NewCath depends on tough WR/DB Luke Runyon and talented juniors RB/LB Demetrick Welch and QB Kolton Smith. Landyn Phillips leads the Indians in both rushing and passing. Getting him some help will be a key for Bruce Kozerski’s guys.

BISHOP BROSSART (3-1) at LLOYD MEMORIAL (2-2), 7 p.m.: Another non-district game between a tough Class A Brossart team against a tough Class 2A team in Erlanger in what looks like it’ll be another “flip-a-coin” game here in Northern Kentucky. Evan Orth leads the Brossart run game with an average of 76.2 yards a game while Kaiden Zulager does the same for Lloyd with 116.2 yards a game. Lloyd is two one-point losses away (to Dixie Heights and Clarksville, Ind. Providence) from an unbeaten record while Brossart is a 7-0 loss to Newport the week after losing QB Keegan Gulley to injury. Both these teams know their records don’t tell the whole story.

CARROLL COUNTY (1-3) at LUDLOW (2-1), 7 p.m.: Two big wins – 48-20 over Gallatin County and 46-21 over Lockland (Ohio) and one big loss to Paris (42-8) paint a question mark on the Class A Panthers’ jerseys as they host a 1-3 Class 2A Carroll County team at Rigney Stadium. Quarterback Jaxson Rice is the man for Ludlow leading the Panthers in rushing (48 for 387 yards, 129.0 a game), passing (12 of 34 for 116 yards, 2 TD), scoring (14.0 ppg), and special teams (9 of 10 on PAT).

HIGHLANDS (2-2) at RYLE (3-1), 7:30 p.m.: Here’s our pick for Game of the Week II with the way Highlands’ improving Class 5A Bluebirds are coming off a pair of impressive wins over 6A Campbell County, 44-13, and Class A power Raceland, 24-14, the last two weeks. They’ll head to Union where a tough-defending Class 6A Ryle team awaits with a defense that’s held three straight opponents to one touchdown each – Conner (a 21-7 win), Cooper (13-10 win), and Daviess County (23-7 win). The Raiders’ lone loss is to Lexington Catholic on the road, 27-21. This one will feature Highlands’ big-passing QB Brody Benke, its two running backs Cam Giesler and Dawson Hosea, and all-purpose Charlie Noon with the big leg of Davis Burleigh who is six for seven on field goals (including one from 46 yards) and 14 of 14 on PAT. QB Logan Verax leads Ryle with his 165.2 passing yards – and 66.5 rushing yards – a game. Jayce Harden adds 82.0 yards a game on the ground while Kaden Gardner totals 93.8 receiving yards and one TD a game for the Raiders. Whoever wins – or even loses – this game can still go on to a successful season in their respective class but doing so will probably be easier with a win here.

GRANT COUNTY (0-4) at SCOTT (1-3), 7:30 p.m.: A pair of one-point losses (to Boone County, 14-13, and Conner, 21-20) has to have the Class 4A Scott Eagles feeling somewhat snakebit but how’d you like to be the winless Class 5A Braves? They’ve given up 185 points (46.3 per game) in their four lopsided losses. Look for the guys out Taylor Mill way to get themselves back on the winning track here.


THOMAS MORE (1-2) at CAMPBELLSVILLE (2-0), 7 p.m.: Don’t let the records fool you in this one. Thomas More’s losses came at the hands of a talented Bluefield team and a Division I Duquesne team. Campbellsville wins were against Saint Andrew’s and Union. Then there’s the history here. TMU is 3-0 all-time against Campbellsville including a 73-28 win a year ago. Looks like a good opportunity to bounce back from a tough 42-35 loss to Bluefield and a 34-14 loss at Duquesne, when TMU was overpowered by the Dukes who outgained the Saints, 506 yards to 177, with a 249-47 edge on the ground. The Mid-South Conference opener for first-year coach Chris Norwell’s TMU team looks like a much more favorable physical matchup.

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