GAME OF THE WEEK: DIXIE (0-0) at COVCATH (1-0)
When/where: 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Wooten Field, Park Hills.
After bumping up last week’s game against Boone to 10 am and still having to call it at halftime, CovCath has moved this week’s game up to 9:30 am in hopes of beating the heat. The blue Colonels have dominated the battle of Dixie Highway, winning the last six and holding a 33-7 advantage all-time in the series. Last year Dixie only lost 21-13, and returns a lot of experience and talent from that team.
The quarterback battle between CovCath’s Adam Wagner and Dixie’s Drew Moore should be entertaining. Wagner was definitely in his zone last Saturday when he completed 12-of-15 passes for 230 yards and five touchdowns in just one half. He’ll be going up against the most dynamic returning playmaker in Northern Kentucky from last season in Moore. Wagner may have a little extra motivation in this one after being injured in the first half of this game last year and consequently missing most of his junior season.
The contrast of CovCath’s speedy offense against Dixie’s tough, physical defense led by senior linemen Colson Machlitt and Branden Johnson will be the key to this Saturday morning tilt. The blue Colonels showed last week that there are few teams in the area that want to get into a track meet with them as they hung 39 points on 6A Boone County in 24 minutes. If Dixie can control time of possession and field position, they’ll give their defense a shot to win this game.
When Dixie has the ball, keep an eye on tight end Andrew Hedger. The 6-5, 230-pound senior has developed a rapport with Moore over the last three years, and is committed to continue his career in college at Austin Peay. Boone County had most of its success against CovCath when quarterback Jamar Lamb was throwing the ball over the middle to the Rebels’ big junior tight end Dylon Bishop, so watch for Dixie to try and use the same tactics.
WALTON-VERONA (1-0) at NEWPORT (0-1)
When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Newport Stadium, Newport.
What to expect: Walton-Verona hammered Bellevue 40-0 in just a half of football last week, and forced five turnovers in the process. Newport lost a close one to a solid 3A team in Mason County, 32-28. Walton-Verona looks to have one of its best teams yet under head coach Jeff Barth and the Bearcats are looking to make the jump to being a statewide competitor in 2A. Newport is building off of the foundation laid last year in head coach Matt Schmitz’s second year at the helm.
This should be a competitive matchup between two solid 2A football teams with good line play. Both teams have great power running with Newport’s Dominic Joseph leading a multi-pronged rushing attack for the Wildcats and Mason Compton heading up a deep stable of runners for Walton.
CONNER (0-0) at BOONE COUNTY (0-1)
When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Owen Hauck Stadium, Florence.
What to expect: This game was originally scheduled for 7 pm, but got pushed back due to heat index concerns. Last week CovCath drilled Boone in a game that was called at halftime, 39-6. The Rebels are looking to bounce back against a team that has more question marks than they do entering the 2014 season. There is always plenty of intensity when any of the schools in the Boone County school district meet up.
If Boone County’s line can give quarterback Jamar Lamb some time against a smaller and less talented defense than the one they faced last week, he could post big numbers. He showed flashes last week against the Colonels, completing 13-of-25 passes for 121 yards with some particularly nice throws over the middle. After a run that featured some really talented playmakers in Cameron Fogle, Andrew Way and Drew Barker over the last few years, Conner is entering a new era with a whole new crop of playmakers needing to step up and make their name.
SCOTT (0-0) at HOLMES (1-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Holmes Stadium, Covington.
What to expect: Holmes opened its season with a 21-7 win over city rival Holy Cross last week. Scott had its first game against East Jessamine canceled due to weather.
Holmes had multiple guys step up to make plays last week, including senior running back Delijah Ross-Tyus (9 carries, 145 yards, 2 TDs) and junior h-back Andrew Arnold (12 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD, 3 catches 56 yards). Scott lost a lot from last year’s team that won a school record seven games, but junior running backs Roberto London and Deondre Pleasant should produce big numbers in the Eagles’ unique rushing attack. Junior quarterback Danny Fitzgerald is also looking to step in and make his mark.
NEWPORT CATHOLIC (0-0) at COOPER (1-0)
When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cooper High School, Union.
What to expect: Cooper’s defense willed the Jaguars to a 12-3 win over Ryle in week zero, but they’ll likely need a little more offense to beat NewCath. The Thoroughbreds had their week zero game against Ashland Blazer canceled due to weather. Last year Cooper beat NewCath 31-22 as part of the Skyline Crosstown Showdown.
The battle between NewCath’s rushing attack led by junior Jake Smith and Cooper’s defensive front led by senior Marcus Watson should be the key matchup in this game. Watson and his defensive teammates were very impressive against Ryle in week zero, so Smith’s success will be necessary to keep pressure off of the ‘Breds new quarterback.
HIGHLANDS (0-0) at CAMPBELL COUNTY (1-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at the Campbell County Athletic Complex, Alexandria.
What to expect: Campbell County got its season off to a 1-0 start with a 33-16 win over East Central last Friday. Highlands took the opportunity to fit in another tough scrimmage after getting roughed up by Louisville Trinity, and the Bluebirds reportedly looked impressive against perennial power Cincinnati St. Xavier. Last year Highlands handled the Camels, 50-8.
Campbell County will need to control the clock and keep Highlands’ offense off the field as much as possible like the Camels were able to do last week against East Central with the successful running of quarterback Carson Plessinger (26 carries, 142 yards, 2 TDs) and running back Josh Carroll (14 carries, 80 yards, 1 TD). If not, expect Highlands quarterback Beau Hoge to open up his senior year with a huge night.
LLOYD (0-0) at DAYTON (1-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Davis Field, Dayton.
What to expect: Dayton started off its season with a 18-13 win over Brossart in week zero, while Lloyd’s game against Washington County was canceled. Last year Lloyd beat the Greendevils 63-12.
The Juggernauts lost some offensive firepower with the graduation of Brian Warren and Jared Gabbard from last year, but they are still bigger and more athletic than Dayton. Look for senior quarterback Hayden Molitor to try and hook up with senior receiver Zach Riddle and junior receiver Charles Gaines in the passing game, while sophomore running back Lashunn Townsend, a standout on the basketball court already, should cause problems for Dayton in the running game.
SIMON KENTON (1-0) at HOLY CROSS (0-1)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at Scott High School, Taylor Mill.
What to expect: Simon Kenton took down defending 4A state champion Collins in convincing fashion, 33-14. Holy Cross fell to Holmes, 21-7. Last year this was a 48-0 rout, and this year looks to be about the same.
Simon Kenton is too big and too dominant on both lines for the Indians to compete. Expect junior running back Dillon Powell to be held out for the Pioneers after spraining his ankle last week against Collins.
BEECHWOOD (0-0) vs MT. HEALTHY (0-0)
When/where: 8 p.m. Saturday at Sheakley Field UC, Clifton.
What to expect: Beechwood has high expectations with plenty of returning experience and talent from last year’s team. This season-opener in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown should be a good test for the Tigers against an athletic Mt. Healthy team that won a school record 11 games last year. The quarterback battle between Beechwood junior Kyle Fieger and Mt. Healthy junior David Montgomery will be fun to watch. Fieger is a pocket passer, while Montgomery is a great athlete that makes plays with his legs.
BRACKEN CO. at LUDLOW (1-0)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday at James Rigney Memorial Stadium, Ludlow.
What to expect: The Panthers should have plenty of excitement heading into their home opener. Not only are they coming off a surprising 29-28 win over Gallatin County on the road last week, but also tonight they will play their first game in the newly renovated James Rigney Memorial Stadium. The entire Ludlow community is invited to a tailgate before the game, so the Panthers should have a true home field advantage. Bracken County opened its season with a 52-6 loss to Nicholas County in week zero.
OWEN COUNTY (0-1) at GRANT COUNTY (0-0)
When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Braves Stadium, Dry Ridge.
What to expect: Owen County opened its season with a 63-13 loss last week, while Grant County had its game against Middlesboro called while tied 7-7. Last year, 5A Grant County pulled out the 35-10 win over 2A Owen. Both teams will rely heavily upon the ability of its top rushers to carry the offense. For Grant County that responsibility falls on junior running back Hunter Lawson. Owen County will look to sophomore running back JJ Smith.
BELLEVUE (0-1) AT FINNEYTOWN (0-0)
When/where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Sheakley Field UC, Clifton
What to expect: Bellevue is coming off of a tough 40-0 loss to Walton-Verona in a game that was called at halftime last Friday. The Tigers are going to have to take better care of the football if they want to have a chance in this Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown matchup against Finneytown after turning it over five times against Walton.
Week 1 predictions
Enquirer Sports’ Rick Broering gives his predictions for this weekend’s games:
Beechwood at Mount Healthy (Ohio), game at Sheakley
Walton-Verona at Newport
Highlands at Campbell County
Scott at Holmes
Simon Kentonat Holy Cross
Conner at Boone County
NewCath at Cooper
Owen Countyat Grant County
Dixie Heights at CovCath, Saturday
Bellevue vs. Finneytown (at Sheakley), Saturday
*winners in bold