Many of the area's top teams will not take the field this week, but Class 6A No. 4 Simon Kenton will visit defending state champion and Class 1A No. 2 Beechwood while Class 6A No. 7 Ryle hosts Indiana power Indianapolis Cathedral.
Class 5A No. 1 CovCath has its bye week this week, along with Class 2A No. 7 Newport Central Catholic and Class 2A No. 8 Walton-Verona. Highlands is also off this week.
Here are this week's top storylines for Northern Kentucky high school football.
Unbeaten Simon Kenton won't look past Class 1A Beechwood
Simon Kenton (6-0) at Beechwood (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Simon Kenton needed two touchdowns and an onside kick recovery in the final minute-plus last week to avoid an upset at home by Highlands, but the Pioneers improved to 6-0 and moved up a spot to No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Kentucky Class 6A state poll. Simon Kenton is the highest-ranked local Class 6A squad in the state poll.
Senior quarterback Matt Shearer's 16-yard touchdown to senior receiver Fisher Hayden cut Highlands's 30-21 lead to two points and the Pioneers recovered an onside kick with 1:24 to play in the game to set up Shearer's game-winning seven-yard touchdown run with 14.8 second remaining.
Now the Pioneers visit Class 1A No. 2 and defending state champion Beechwood. While the programs have vastly different enrollment numbers with the Pioneers in the largest division and Beechwood in the smallest, don't expect Jeff Marksberry's squad to let down -- especially after nearly losing last week.
“Beechwood is a very good football team with a championship tradition,” Marksberry said. “They are disciplined, well coached and talented. We will need to execute in all three phases of the game. Our keys will be taking care of the ball on offense and playing sound defense.”
Shearer has completed 80 of 126 passes for 1,217 yards and 20 touchdowns with only one interception while adding 347 yards on 76 carries and seven more touchdowns on the ground. Shearer was 17-for-31 last week for 234 yards and three touchdowns through the air and two more on the ground while carrying 19 times for 104 yards.
Sophomore running back Austin Hammack has added 510 yards on 61 carries with five touchdowns. Hayden has been Shearer's top target with 22 catches for 443 yards and nine touchdowns, and senior receiver Sam Murray has added 20 catches for 263 yards and five touchdowns.
… And Beechwood won't lie down
Simon Kenton (6-0) at Beechwood (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
The defending Class 1A state champion Tigers bounced back from a 45-9 loss at home to CovCath on Sept. 25 with a 62-0 win over Holy Cross last week and Beechwood is back standing toe-to-toe with top-flight competition.
The Tigers remained No. 2 in the Class 1A state poll this week behind Paintsville.
Senior quarterback Brayden Burch has completed 51 of 98 passes for 796 yards and nine touchdowns for Beechwood. Each of his four completions in five attempts went for touchdowns last week for a total of 194 yards. Junior Logan Castleman has been his top target with 17 catches for 262 yards and three scores this season.
Three Tigers get regular carries each week. Senior James Davis leads Beechwood with 327 yards on 68 carries and five touchdowns, including four last week, and sophomore Joshua Derry has added 165 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. Castleman has 106 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.
Ryle returns to the field against Indiana state power
Indianapolis Cathedral (2-4) at Ryle (4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Ryle was off last Friday night and will return to the field at home this week hosting Cathedral, a perennial power in Indiana which has struggled with a brutal schedule in 2017. The Fighting Irish have lost to Kentucky Class 6A No. 2 Louisville St. Xavier, Michigan Division II No. 1 Detroit Martin Luther King, and Ohio Division I No. 2 Cincinnati St. Xavier while beating Indiana Class 3A No. 7, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard.
"First, Cathedral is a really good football team and they are really well coached," Ryle coach Michael Engler said. "Don't let the record fool you. They have played a brutal schedule. The schedule they play has already made them playoff ready."
Cathedral is No. 6 with two first-place votes in this week's Associated Press Indiana Class 5A state poll. Like Kentucky, Indiana's Class 6A is the biggest enrollment division.
The Raiders, No. 7 in 6A in Kentucky, have won four straight since a season-opening loss at Covington Catholic. Senior Jake Chisholm has been the star offensively for the Raiders with 915 yards on 113 carries and 14 touchdowns while adding 12 catches for 178 yards and two touchdown catches. Senior quarterback Easton Pilyer has emerged at quarterback in recent weeks while completing 29 of 57 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns while adding 236 yards on 37 carries and a touchdown.
"The key for us to be successful is controlling the football and keeping their offense -- our defense -- off the field," Engler said. "We look forward to hosting Cathedral and playing a school with such a great tradition. It will only make us better as we move on down the road and into the playoffs. It should be a fun and exciting playoff-type atmosphere here on Friday night."
Unbeaten Ludlow keeps on rolling
Bishop Brossart (4-1) at Ludlow (5-0), 7 p.m.
Ludlow did what it does best last week in a 39-28 win over Class 1A then-No. 9 Williamsburg at home. The Panthers ran the ball and they ran it for huge chunks of yards. Look for more of the same this week when the Mustangs visit Ludlow senior quarterback Justin Blackburn and company.
Ludlow is ranked No. 5 in the latest AP Class 1A state poll and has amassed more than 1,700 yards on the ground this season while outscoring foes 223-128.
Blackburn has 1,023 yards on 100 carries for a per-carry average better than 10 yards thus far in 2017 with 15 touchdowns. Those totals include 251 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns last week. He has completed 29 of 72 passes for 627 yards and nine touchdowns.
Junior running back Sean Stratton has added 518 yards on 84 carries and four touchdowns, including 151 yards on 23 carries and two scores against Williamsburg. Senior tight end Trey Donahue has made nine catches for 186 yards and five touchdowns while sophomore Ian Vallandingham has added eight catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns for Ludlow.
Brossart has won two straight, including a 36-0 win over Nicholas County last week. Junior quarterback Tyler MacDonald has completed 63 of 123 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns for the Mustangs.
Campbell County hosts rebuilding Mount Healthy
Mount Healthy, Ohio (2-3) at Campbell County (3-2), 7 p.m.
Campbell County will be back on the field after a bye week last week to face the Owls, a team perhaps in a bit of a down year following five straight playoff seasons in Ohio.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Lamier leads the Mount Healthy offense on the ground and through the air while junior receiver Jamal Kelly gets touches in both the passing game and run game for Mount Healthy. The Owls opened the season 0-3, but have won their first two games in the Southwest Ohio Conference the past two weeks -- 20-14 over Little Miami and 21-14 over Ross.
Senior running back Alex Dowds has carried 106 times for 777 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Camels this season, while senior quarterback Austin Hoeh has added 161 yards on 44 carries with four touchdowns. Hoeh has completed 70 of 117 passes for 827 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions.
Conner seeks first back-to-back wins of the season
Lloyd (4-1) at Conner (3-2), 7 p.m.
The Class 2A Juggernauts will bring a three-game winning streak to Class 6A Conner Friday night seeking a signature win for 2017. Conner, meanwhile could use a second-straight win after outlasting NewCath, 35-27, last week.
Senior quarterback Cooper Gullion has completed 48 of 69 passes for 568 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception this season for Conner.
Senior quarterback Jordan Fann and junior running back Travon Mason lead the Lloyd offense. Fann has completed 21 of 52 pass attempts for 507 yards and nine touchdowns while adding 420 yards on 43 carries with seven touchdowns. Mason leads the Juggernauts with 564 yards on 62 carries with four touchdowns.
Winless Harrison County visits Scott
Harrison County (0-6) at Scott (3-2), 7:30 p.m.
It should be a big night for Scott's Perrin brothers. Sophomore Quincy Perrin has gained 660 yards on 72 carries with six touchdowns this season while senior Nelson Perrin has added 441 yards on 37 carries with five touchdowns. Junior David Patrick has carried 38 times for 264 yards and five scores while junior Chad Ohmer has completed 24 of 46 passes for 486 yards and five touchdowns.
Harrison County was finally in a close game last week, but fell to Holmes, 14-6, in the Bulldogs' first win of the season. Harrison County has been outscored this season, 236-53.
Resurgent Dixie Heights visits winless Cooper
Dixie Heights (2-4) at Cooper (0-5), 7:30 p.m.
Dixie Heights opened the season with a four-game losing that included blowout losses to Milford, Ohio, and Simon Kenton earlier this months, but the Colonels have bounced back with consecutive wins over Conner and Boone County. Dixie pounded the Rebels, 30-0, last week.
The Colonels have three main threats on offense: senior quarterback Paul Guenther, senior running back Brandon Barker and junior running back CJ Bensman. Each had carried the ball at least 41 times through Dixie's first five games.
Is this the week for the young Jaguars?
Dixie Heights (2-4) at Cooper (0-5), 7:30 p.m.
The 10th-anniversary football season at Cooper still lacks a win six weeks and five games into the season. The rebuilding Jags were off last week, so the best chance for a win at home this season may be Friday.
The Jags close out their home schedule Oct. 6 against powerful Ryle.