The following is the Class 2A, District 6 football preview for the Kentucky Enquirer
Coach: Bruce Kozerski (63-76).
2014 record: 1-10.
Key players: Sr. QB Hamilton Scott; Jr. RB/LB Xavier Abernathy; Sr. WR/DB Damien Serrano; Sr. LB/WR Joey Wilder; RB/LB Derrick Barnes.
Game to watch: Holmes, Aug. 21.
Outlook: Youthful Holy Cross welcomes back five starters on defense and four on offense, including Scott, a third-year starter. Barnes joins the program. He’ll play both ways, adding to an athletic backfield also including Abernathy. Serrano, last year’s top receiver, and Wilder give Scott reliable players to target. The key for Scott and the offense is minimizing turnovers and sustaining drives. Major defensive improvements could forge a winning season. “We are as hopeful as any, but understand that defense will be the key to our success,” coach Kozerski said. “The fundamentals of blocking and tackling will make the difference between success and failure.”
Aug. 21 – at Holmes
Aug. 28 – at Walton-Verona 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Taft
Sept. 18 – Scott
Sept. 25 – at Beechwood 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – Bethlehem 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 – Newport Central Catholic
Oct. 16 – Newport
Oct. 23 – at Lloyd Memorial
Oct. 30 – at Bellevue
Coach: Eric Turner (14-8).
2014 record: 8-3.
Key players: Sr. WR Charles Gaines; Sr. OL/DL Eric Bruner; Sr. OL Jakob Turner, Sr. OL/DL Andrew Fields; Jr. RB/LB Justin Durham; Jr. RB/DB Lashaun Townsend.
Game to watch: Newport Central Catholic, Oct. 16.
Outlook: The Juggernauts went 8-0 last year against teams not from Newport. A goal is conquering their longtime nemesis, Newport Central Catholic, which accounted for two of three losses. There’s plenty of experience, with eight returning starters on offense, seven on defense. A new quarterback, either junior Alex Runion or sophomore Jordan Fann, will be working behind a veteran offensive line. Newcomer Deshaun Lunsford, a transfer from Scott, gives Lloyd a third solid running back. Durham is a returning 1,000-yard rusher. “We’re looking to lean on our senior-laden line on offense,” coach Turner said. “Defensively, we should be very athletic.”
Aug. 21 – at Walton-Verona 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 – Beechwood
Sept. 4 – at Grant County
Sept. 11 – Holmes
Sept. 25 – Garrard County 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – Conner
Oct. 9 – Newport
Oct. 16 – at Newport Central Catholic
Oct. 23 – Holy Cross
Oct.30 – at Harrison County 7:30 p.m.
Coach: Tim Viox (first season).
2014 record: 8-5.
Key players: Sr. WR/DB Tyree Bolden; So. WR/DB Rico Hollis; Sr. WR/LB Ryan Ochoa; Sr. TE/LB Shane Riley.
Game to watch: Lloyd, Oct. 9.
Outlook: Newport is in transition with a new head coach, a new quarterback, a new primary ball carrier, and a new go-to receiver. Almost 30 percent of the roster was lost to graduation, and more than 70 percent of the offense is gone. About a dozen seniors return to continue a recent winning trend. The Wildcats are 13-11 the past two seasons, nearly doubling their outpoint over the previous two seasons.
Aug. 21 – at Ludlow
Aug. 27 vs. Reading (at UC’s Sheakley Athletics Center)
Sept. 4 – Scott
Sept. 11 – Bellevue
Sept. 25 – at Owen County 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – at Beechwood, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 – at Lloyd Memorial
Oct. 16 – At Holy Cross
Oct. 23 – Newport Central Catholic
Oct. 30. – Holmes
Newport Central Catholic
Coach: Dan Wagner (18-11).
2014 record: 8-6.
Key players: Sr. WR/CB/P Eric Anderson; Sr. DE Luke Kues; Sr. OL/DL Maleek Lawrence, Sr. RB Jacob Smith; Sr. OL/LB Kobe Tallon; Sr. S Peyton Davis; Jr. QB Pat Hanschen.
Game to watch: Newport, Oct. 23.
Outlook: They play a daunting, road-based schedule against teams in bigger classes, but the Thoroughbreds’ expect success in the end. They’ve been to the state final 10 times in 15 years. They seek greater balance on offense following improvements made by Henschen. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound passer is accurate and doesn’t turn over the football. He lost his top receivers, but has tall weapons in the 6-3 Anderson, 6-2 receiver Trent Wrobleski and 6-2 tight end Griffin McHugh. Lawrence, Tallon and Davis combined for 336 tackles. Anderson had four interceptions.
Aug. 21 – at Scott
Aug. 28 – Cooper
Sept. 4 – at Campbell County
Sept. 11 – at Belfry 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 – at Harrison County 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 – Conner
Oct. 9 – at Holy Cross
Oct. 16 – Lloyd Memorial
Oct. 23 – at Newport
Oct. 30 – at Beechwood
*All games are Fridays at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Players to watch
Xavier Abernathy, Holy Cross – Rushed for nearly 800 yards last season, averaging nearly five yards per carry. Ranked third on the team in receiving.
Tyree Bolden, Newport – Dynamic runner, and a threat out of the backfield after averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 22 yards per catch. Scored 11 touchdowns as a junior.
Charles Gaines, Lloyd – A big, frequently-targeted receiver at 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds, with nearly 600 yards receiving last year.
Jacob Smith, Newport Central Catholic – A do-it-all multi-purpose tailback who can carry the team in many phases.
Kobe Tallon, Newport Central Catholic – A tackling machine. Totaled 143 tackles in 2014, 43 more then the next teammate.
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