Conner's Drew Barker (Cathy Lachmann/Kypost.com).
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Northern Kentucky High School Football Playoffs: First-Round Best Bets

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Entertaining is the first word that comes to mind when you look at some of the first-round playoff games for Northern Kentucky schools.

Class 5A seems to have its usual epic matchups.  And in Class 6A, Simon Kenton, Campbell County and Dixie Heights all feel like they have legitimate shots at bringing home a regional title.

The first step toward that bliss begins Friday night.

Here is a look at this week’s Best Bets:

Eminence (6-4) @ Bellevue (6-4) - 7:30 p.m. - Bellevue lost three games by six points or fewer. That is how close the Tigers are to being 9-1. The Tigers' passing attack has been sensational, as quarterback Tyler Ackerson and crew has shattered the school record books. The good teams on the Eminence schedule have given the Warriors fits. Eminence has beaten up on some pretty bad squads. This has all the makings of a high-scoring shootout.

Scott (7-3) @ Franklin County (9-1) - 7:30 p.m. - This is the perfect time for Scott to end its three-game skid and put an exclamation point on what it started this fall. Franklin County has an explosive offense, averaging 44.6 points per game with Lorenzo McCaskell and Chris Roberts leading the way. The duo has combined for 2,581 yards and 39 touchdowns. Scott limps into the contest with no wins against teams better than .500. The Eagles have not scored more than 21 points since averaging 44.7 in their first seven victories.

Montgomery County (6-4) @ Conner (7-3) – 7:30 p.m. - This is the second year in a row that these two squads will meet up in the first round of the playoffs. Conner won 49-20 last fall. Cougars quarterback Drew Barker ran for 159 yards and accounted for four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) in that affair. Montgomery County is balanced on offense with a ground game paced by Aaron Botts and a passing attack led by Chaiten Tomlin. The Indians have a propensity to give up yardage, so look for some big numbers on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet.

Pleasure Ridge Park (4-6) @ Campbell County (7-3) – 7:30 p.m. - A year removed from the state championship game, Pleasure Ridge Park has found its encore performance to be sub-standard. That does not bode well for the Panthers, who face a hungry Campbell County team. The Camels have won four in a row. They have run for at least 260 yards with a different runner posting more than 100 yards on the ground in each of their last three games. That rushing game should serve them well on this November night.

Dixie Heights (7-3) @ Seneca (2-8) - 7:30 p.m. - Don’t let the record fool you: Seneca is much better and tougher than it indicates. The combined record of the teams that beat the Redhawks is 59-21. Dixie Heights has done something it hasn’t in recent years – play defense. The Colonels have not given up more than 21 points in a contest and have held five of their last eight foes to seven points or fewer. An eight-point loss and a pair of two-point losses have kept them from a 10-0 season.

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