NEWPORT, Ky. -- Newport Central Catholic and Somerset are old foes who have gone down similar paths to get to this Class 2A semifinal matchup. Both teams rebounded from rough starts versus very good competition to find themselves in this spot, a position many thought both programs would be in when the year began.
Motivation will not be a problem for either squad. The Briar Jumpers are looking to avenge last season’s 27-18 home loss to NewCath. The Thoroughbreds are looking to repeat as state champions and bring a third trophy back to the trophy case on the hill in the last four years.
Somerset (8-4) at Newport Central Catholic (9-4)
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m at Newport Stadium.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jack Sutkamp has been a terror for the NewCath defense, racking up 179 total tackles (111 solo). Last Friday night he also had career highs with 113 yards rushing on 15 carries. Teamed with sophomore Jacob Smith in the Thoroughbreds backfield, Sutkamp gives the team a great 1-2 punch. Smith is averaging 101 yards rushing with five total touchdowns in the playoffs.
Bailey McEnroe is Sutkamp’s equal for the Somerset defense. Second-year starter Castle Hatcher is the Briar Jumpers’ leader on offense. The sophomore has thrown for more than 1,600 yards. Receiver Cam Cheuvront has hauled in more than 50 receptions in each of the past two seasons to go along with 20 touchdown catches in that span. Bryson Jones is a short-yardage specialist with a nose for the goal line.
TEAM TRENDS: Somerset has captured five straight regional titles since 2009. The Briar Jumpers are 55-14 during that time. The four teams that Somerset has lost to area combined 42-9. Newport Central Catholic is looking for their third state title in the last four seasons. The Class 2A Thoroughbreds lost to a 5A team and three 6A squads, who were a combined 28-9. NewCath has held six of their eight victims during their current winning streak to 14 points or fewer including three shutouts.
SOMERSET’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The biggest hurdle for Somerset is mental. The Briar Jumpers must play through any early obstacles that the game throws their way. Handling and playing through adversity will be the difference in the outcome for Somerset.
NEWCATH’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Thorourghbreds are best when they get balance out of their offense. Establishing the run allows quarterback Mac Franzen to show off his accuracy in the short controlled passing game for NewCath. The ability to keep the Somerset defense on their toes and in check will be vital in the pursuit of a win.
NEWCATH 27, SOMERSET 20
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