By John Lachmann
WHO: Highlands Bluebirds (12-1) at Lexington Catholic Knights (10-3).
WHERE: Joseph K. Ford Stadium, Lexington, Ky.
WHEN: Friday—7:30 p.m.
WCPO COVERAGE: John Lachmann.
NOTES: Highlands puts its state-record 33-game postseason winning streak on the line .
These teams have met in the past two postseasons, and the Bluebirds posted a 61-28 win in Fort Thomas in 2012 and a 42-21 victory in Lexington in 2011.
Highlands senior quarterback Drew Houliston’s statline reads like a video game: 198-for-286 passing (69.2 percent) for 3,292 yards, 44 touchdowns and two (two!) interceptions.
(In the strange stat department, five Bluebirds have thrown passes this season and all of their last names start with ‘H’)
In the true spirit of Coach Dale Mueller’s philosophy of spreading the wealth, 18 different players have caught passes this season.
Junior Jenson Feggins has emerged as Highlands’ top receiver, catching 44 passes for 913 yards and 13 TDs – all three team bests.
Junior Alex Veneman has 28 receptions for 667 yards and nine scores, senior running back Zach Harris has 29 catches for 466 yards and nine touchdowns and senior Ryan Greene has pulled down 29 recepts for 413 yards and three TDs.
Harris is the Bluebirds’ primary rushing threat, but he averages just 10 carries a game. He has rushed 130 times for 906 yards and 18 scores, giving him 27 total touchdowns plus a two-point conversion for 164 points.
In terms of play calling, Highlands’ pass/run ratio is 55/45 for the season.
The Bluebirds average 321 yards passing and 119 rushing per game for 440 yards of total offense.
Highlands allows an average of 154 yards on the ground and 150 more in the air – an average of 304 per week.
LexCath also likes to throw the ball – always has under coach Bill Litton – but the Knights pass slightly less than the Bluebirds, throwing 47 percent of the time.
Junior Reese Ryan is 194-for-304 (63.8 percent) for 2,984 yards, 33 touchdowns and eight picks.
Senior David Bouvier and the coach’s son – sophomore Sam Letton – are his top two targets. Bouvier has caught a team-high 70 passes for 988 yards and eight TDs, and Letton has 41 receptions, with 13 resulting in scores, for 850 yards.
Senior Noah Mitchell has also been a key receiver for LexCath with 30 catches for 465 yards and five touchdowns.
The Knights have used Mitchell and senior Marcelis Logan for the majority of their carries this year, and they like getting them involved in the passing game. Logan has 104 carries for 769 yards and 15 TDs, and he has 31 receptions for 369 yards and five more scores.
Mitchell has run the ball 103 times for 602 yards and five touchdowns.
LexCath averages 176 yards on the ground and 245 per game in the air for a total of 421 in total offense.
The Knights allow an average of 127 rushing yards and 154 passing yards (280.3 total) per game.
LexCath has intercepted 19 passes this season, led by sophomore defensive back Davis Rowady’s five picks.
Highlands is 5-1 all-time vs. LexCath. The Bluebirds won the last two seasons in the postseason as well as in 2002, 2007 and 2008.
The Knights’ lone win was a 17-0 decision in Fort Thomas in 2005.