Battle of state No. 1s CovCath vs. Beechwood highlights Week 5 NKY football storylines
NewCath hosts No. 1 Christian Academy
Tom Ramstetter | WCPO contributor
7:00 AM, Sep 15, 2017
FORT MITCHELL, Ky. -- This week's Covington Catholic at Beechwood game, a matchup of state No. 1 teams and a crosstown rivalry, highlights the Week 5 schedule of high school football in Northern Kentucky. Newport Central Catholic will also host the No. 1 team in the state in Class 2A.
Meanwhile, Ryle, Simon Kenton and Walton-Verona seek to continue their recent success, and Highlands hopes to bounce back from two straight losses.
Those matchups are among the nine Northern Kentucky football storylines to follow this week.
Beechwood hosts another state No. 1
Covington Catholic (4-0) at Beechwood (3-0), 7:30 p.m.
The defending Class 1A state champion Tigers rallied to beat a highly ranked bigger school last week in a 36-29 win over then-Class 3A state No. 1 Corbin at home, and things don't get any easier for Beechwood this week. Crosstown rival Covington Catholic -- the top-ranked team in the Associated Press Class 5A state poll -- will visit Beechwood, and the Colonels are rolling at 4-0.
But the experienced Tigers are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A for the second straight week and have no problem taking on bigger schools. Senior quarterback Brayden Burch completed 17 of 33 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns last week against Corbin and has completed 36 of 71 passes for 479 yards and five touchdowns overall. Junior Logan Castleman has been his top target with 11 catches for 127 yards and a score, including five catches for 41 yards last week.
Three Tigers have at least 20 carries, including Castleman with 100 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Senior James Davis leads Beechwood with 197 yards on 50 carries and a touchdown, and sophomore Joshua Derry has added 108 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
"Obviously, Beechwood is a very well-coached team and they are playing with a lot of confidence right now," CovCath coach Eddie Eviston said. "They also have a lot of varsity experience among their players."
CovCath has won six of the last seven meetings with the Tigers, including last year's 44-10 romp under the lights at CovCath.
Class 5A No. 1 CovCath rolls into Beechwood
Covington Catholic (4-0) at Beechwood (3-0), 7:30 p.m.
The top-ranked Colonels have taken on and thoroughly wiped out all comers so far this season, most recently beating Southwest Ohio Division II power Kings 35-14 at Kings.
Senior quarterback A.J. Mayer, a Miami University recruit, continued his dominant season against Kings, completing 20 of 32 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns with just his first interception of the year. Overall, Mayer has completed 63 percent of his passes (49 of 78) for 853 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Senior receiver Malachi Pike and junior receiver Jack Coldiron have each made 10 catches this season with Pike scoring four times and Coldiron grabbing three touchdown passes. Junior running back Casey McGinness has added eight catches to go with 413 yards on 60 carries and five rushing touchdowns. Mayer has scored four touchdowns on the ground.
The CovCath defense has allowed just 123 yards per game on the ground and has been especially stifling against the pass with only 91 yards allowed per game through the air. Through four games, the Colonels have outscored foes by an average of 43-8.
Covington Catholic is clearly the favorite in the battle of state No. 1s, but the Colonels won't take anyone lightly -- especially a program like Beechwood.
"We have to continue to do what we have been doing and taking each day, each play, one at a time," Eviston said. "We have to keep their offense in check and not allow big plays this Friday. Offensively, we have to make every opportunity count, we can't turn the ball over, and just play our game."
Another week, another elite team for NewCath: 2A No. 1 Christian Academy
Christian Academy (4-0) at Newport Central Catholic (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Class 2A Thoroughbreds fell to 2-2 last week with their second straight loss as they continued a brutal early season schedule with Class 3A power Belfry, which is now No. 1 in that state poll. After a 35-7 loss at Class 6A Campbell County on Sept. 1, Belfry beat the Breds 54-29 in Newport on Sept. 8.
Now, NewCath finally has a like-sized school on the schedule and it's Class 2A No. 1 Christian Academy -- the defending state champions in the Breds' division.
Christian Academy has blown through its first four opponents -- each of which has been a bigger school -- by an overall score of 100-32. The Centurions feature junior quarterback Austin Carr, who has completed 33 of 63 passes for 554 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Milton Wright is Carr's top target with 13 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Five Centurions have carried at least 12 times this season and eight have caught passes.
NewCath is battle-tested already and ranked No. 8 in the Class 2A state poll. Junior Kyle Kelly leads the Breds' offense with 389 yards on 80 carries with two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Paul Kremer has completed 31 of 62 passes for 347 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception. Kremer had his biggest game a week ago with 213 yards on 18-of-32 passing with four touchdowns.
Chisholm and the Ryle offense are rolling as Campbell County visits
Campbell County (3-1) at Ryle (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Senior Jake Chisholm was the star again last week for the Raiders with 265 yards on 26 carries and five touchdowns in a 49-27 win over Highlands, but senior quarterback Easton Pilyer had his best game yet with 118 yards on 12-of-17 passing with a touchdown while carrying nine times for 136 yards.
Pilyer has emerged the past three weeks as the Raiders looked for capable quarterback play to complement Chisholm following a rough opening-week loss at Covington Catholic. The QB has completed 23 of 44 passes overall for 257 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
Chisholm, meanwhile, makes the offense go. The senior standout runner has amassed 806 yards on 84 carries with 13 touchdowns and has scored five TDs in two straight weeks.
Look for the Raiders' offense to overmatch the Campbell County defense and roll to a fourth-straight win. Ryle is ranked No. 7 in the Class 6A state poll and Campbell County is No. 9
The Camels are going to run it right at Ryle
Campbell County (3-1) at Ryle (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
If Campbell County is going to knock off the Raiders, senior running back Alex Dowds will have to match Chisholm run for run. Dowds has carried 93 times for 762 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Camels this season, including 178 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns in a 47-27 win last week at Cooper.
Meanwhile, senior quarterback Austin Hoeh has added 159 yards on 35 carries with three touchdowns and has completed 49 of 84 passes for 601 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions. Hoeh threw four of those TDs last week while amassing 206 yards on 12-of-21 passing.
Surging Walton-Verona visits unbeaten Lexington Christian
Walton-Verona (3-1) at Lexington Christian (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
Walton-Verona has shut out and blown out its last two foes, beating Holmes 41-0 on Sept. 1 and Holy Cross 56-0 last week. Now the Bearcats, ranked No. 10 in the Class 2A state poll, travel to 2A No. 5 Lexington Christian.
Junior quarterback Garrett Jones has completed 20 of 42 passes this season, including 10 of 10 last week, for 279 yards and three touchdowns and the Bearcats feature five players with at least 100 yards rushing. Junior fullback Micah Alford has carried 46 times for 276 yards and six touchdowns and senior running back Garet Talbott has added 246 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns. Senior running back Mason Smith has also scored four touchdowns with 143 yards on 24 carries.
Walton-Verona's only loss this season was a 21-20 final on Aug. 25 at Kentucky Country Day, the No. 3 team in the Class 1A state poll.
Lexington Christian is coming off a 56-36 win over Class 3A Lexington Catholic and features senior quarterback Logan Nieves, who has completed 63 of 87 passes for 776 yards and seven touchdowns to go with 484 yards on 77 carries and seven more TDs. Senior running back Dillon Wheatley has added 531 yards on 81 carries with nine touchdowns for the Eagles.
Unbeaten Simon Kenton hosts winless Cooper
Cooper (0-4) at Simon Kenton (4-0), 7 p.m.
Simon Kenton, the highest-ranked local Class 6A squad at No. 5, rolled to a 59-21 win over Dixie Heights last week in the Pioneers' home opener and Simon Kenton fans should expect a similar results this week against a young Jaguars team.
Senior quarterback Matt Shearer has completed 51 of 80 passes for 692 yards and 12 touchdowns without an interception so far in 2017 with 232 yards on 54 carries and five more touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile, sophomore running back Austin Hammack has added 412 yards on 50 carries with four touchdowns. Senior receiver Sam Murray has been Shearer's top target with 13 catches for 177 yards and four touchdowns.
Cooper sophomore running back Anthony Witschey leads the Jaguars with 351 yards on 56 carries and three touchdowns.
Conner visits winless Dixie Heights
Conner (2-1) at Dixie Heights (0-4), 7 p.m.
Senior Cooper Gullion had his best game as a quarterback last week in a 47-27 win over Cooper, completing 10 of 11 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns while senior Trevor Courts added 163 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Overall, Gullion has completed 17 of 21 passes for 185 yards to go with 68 yards on 20 carries. Sophomore Jared Hicks has completed 6 of 21 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns and has added 101 yards on 20 carries with a TD while junior Christian Webster has gained 180 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns for the Cougars.
Conner will likely be too much for the Colonels, who have struggled in blowout losses the past two weeks -- 49-0 at Milford Sept. 2 and 59-21 last week at Simon Kenton.
Highlands hopes to bounce back at Lexington Catholic
Highlands (2-2) at Lexington Catholic (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Highlands has lost two straight and could use a win this week ahead of the Bluebirds' visit to powerful Simon Kenton on Sept. 22. The Birds, who are unranked in this week's Class 5A state poll following back-to-back losses at Scott County and at home to Ryle, visit Class 3A No. 7 Lexington Catholic.
Senior quarterback Carl Schoellman has completed 34 of 49 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns with an interception last week against Ryle and he is 78-for-122 this season overall for 873 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions. Junior Cooper Schwalbach has added 227 yards on 56 carries and seven touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Beau Allen directs the Knights offense and has thrown for 759 yards and eight touchdowns.