Highlands football should start faster in 2015

Highlands football should start faster in 2015

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Highlands football should start faster in 2015

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From left, Highlands seniors Mitchell Cain, Austin Hergott and Nick Kendall practice at Highlands High School Aug. 13.

From left, Highlands seniors Mitchell Cain, Austin Hergott and Nick Kendall practice at Highlands High School Aug. 13.

Last season, Highlands was not playing its best football until November. This year, the defending Class 4A state champions should start much faster, a scary thought for Northern Kentucky opponents.

Brian Weinrich and his staff knew they would need some time to get the Bluebirds up to speed in his first season as head coach. Every coach was leading a different position group or taking on a new responsibility in 2014. This August feels very different.

“We’re light years ahead of where we were at this time last year,” said Weinrich. “Last year, every coach was doing something he had never done before. Our coaches have gained a year of experience, too.”

Not much has changed on the field, either. The Bluebirds return an experienced offensive line led by Bo Hebel, Evan Richardson, and Carson Haas. Running back Nick Kendall is back, as are receivers Mitchell Cain, Chandler New, and Eric Miller. Six-foot-five, 225-pound senior Austin Hergott takes over at quarterback. The strong-armed Hergott will not try to be Highlands quarterbacks of the past, but will try to add his own legacy to the program’s storied quarterback tradition.

“We tell him ‘You’re not anybody else. You’re you. Play to your strengths,’ ” said Weinrich. “He has an absolute cannon.”

The defense will be led by lineman Tyler Robinson and defensive back Austin Beal. Luke Lindeman, Joe Dressman, and Conner Welsch will step into linebacker roles.

Camp practices have seemed to go much faster than they did a year ago. The Bluebirds know the terminology and know what plays to make. There will be less thinking and more reacting from the first snap of the season in 2015.

“Our biggest strength is the knowledge we have compared to last year,” said Weinrich. “We’re trying to pick up where we left off last year.”

Schedule

Aug. 21 at Cooper

Aug. 28 vs. Campbell County

Sept. 4 at Scott County (7:30 p..m.)

Sept. 11 vs. Ryle

Sept. 18 vs. St. Xavier (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 25 at Simon Kenton

Oct. 9 vs. Dixie Heights

Oct. 17 at Covington Catholic (1 p.m.)

Oct. 23 vs. Grant County

Oct. 30 at Boone County

All games start at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

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