The third week of high school football in Northern Kentucky kicks off Thursday night this week with some games moved from Friday because of threat of bad weather.
The teams to watch in Week 3 are Covington Catholic and Simon Kenton, which rolled through the first two games, and Beechwood, which opened its Class 1A state title defense with a win in the Tigers’ opener.
Those teams are part of nine Kentucky football storylines to follow this week:
CovCath looks like the area’s top team
Cooper (0-2) at Covington Catholic (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Senior quarterback AJ Mayer is on fire, junior running back Casey McGinness is ripping off more than seven yards per carry, 11 Colonels have caught passes and five of them have scored. The CovCath defense has been dominant since allowing a score a 75-yard touchdown against Ryle on the season’s first play from scrimmage.
Following a 48-2 dismantling of usually tough Lexington Catholic, CovCath looks to be the top team in Northern Kentucky at this point in the season. The Colonels have been executing on both side of the ball and are ranked No. 1 in the first Associated Press Class 5A state football poll this week.
CovCath will host a young Class 6A Cooper team that is 0-2 and reeling from a 29-7 loss last week at Class 2A Newport Central Catholic.
Mayer has completed 23 of 38 passes for 431 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions through two games and another 30 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. McGinness has carried 31 times for 221 yards and three touchdowns, including 161 yards on 19 carries and two scores last week at Lexington Catholic.
The CovCath defense held Lexington Catholic to 214 yards in Week 2, including just 56 on the ground, after the Knights had rolled up 508 yards in a 34-24 win over Madison Central in Week 1.
Can Simon Kenton continue to roll on the road?
Simon Kenton (2-0) at Conner (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Simon Kenton faces its third straight road game this week to open the season, but this game will be much closer to home after traveling to Meade County and Bryan Station for wins the first two weeks.
Jeff Marksberry’s Pioneers are hoping senior quarterback Matt Shearer and sophomore running back Austin Hammack continue dominating opposing defenses. Shearer, in his first year starting under center, has completed 36 of 51 passes for 405 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions. Hammack, meanwhile, has carried 31 times for 350 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a better than 11-yards-per-carry average.
The Pioneers' defense has been stout, too, allowing only 563 yards combined in two games.
Simon Kenton is ranked No. 6 in the AP Class 6A state poll and is the highest-ranked Class 6A team in the area.
Two Cougars running Conner offense
Simon Kenton (2-0) at Conner (1-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Senior Cooper Gullion and sophomore Jared Hicks were both in competition for the quarterback spot this summer and it looks like James Trosper’s staff is going to use both under center.
Gullion completed 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards to go with 33 yards on six carries last week in a 21-13 win at home over Boone County. Hicks completed 3 of 9 passes for 114 yards, but two of those connections went for touchdowns. Neither QB was intercepted.
Junior Christian Webster gained 102 yards on nine carries with a touchdown for the Cougars.
Beechwood heads south to Somerset
Beechwood (1-0) at Somerset (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
The defending Class 1A state champs will travel south to hook up with the Briar Jumpers and this Class 2A team will likely be overmatched by the Tigers.
Senior quarterback Brayden Burch completed 12 of 22 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns last week as the Tigers opened their title defense with a 35-14 win over Lloyd. Logan Castleman caught four passes from Burch last week for 70 yards and a score. Three Tigers got at least six carries, including Castleman with 28 yards on six carries. Joshua Derry led Beechwood with 92 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns and James Davis added 65 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Beechwood is ranked No. 2 in the Class 1A state poll, despite 11 first-place votes, by far the most in the poll. No. 1 Paintsville had three first-place votes and No. 3 Hazard had one.
Somerset opened the season with a 36-29 loss to Class 4A Bourbon County before rolling over Class 1A Williamsburg last week, 25-8.
Highlands faces biggest test yet
Highlands (2-0) at Scott County (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Highlands rallied for a Week 1 win over Cooper and gained revenge for a 2016 loss at Campbell County with a comeback 27-20 win over the Camels last week, but the road gets a lot tougher this week at Class 6A No. 5 Scott County.
The Cardinals blew out North Bullitt Week 1, 56-19, and outlasted Class 6A No. 7 Lafayette last week, 31-21. Scott County doesn’t pass much, so the Bluebirds will have to contain the powerful Cardinals run game, led by Brice Fryman with 222 yards on 21 carries. Austin Barnett has added 162 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns.
While junior running back Cooper Schwalbach was the key force for Highlands in Game 1 with 150 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns for Highlands, quarterback Carl Schoellman broke out in Game 2 by completing 20 of 26 passes for 174 yards. Schwalbach gained only 29 yards against Campbell County, but scored two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime from three yards out.
Highlands is ranked No. 7 in Class 5A.
Can Boone County stop Ryle’s Jake Chisholm?
Boone County (0-1) at Ryle (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Less-than-stellar quarterback play limited senior running back Jake Chisholm in Game 1 against CovCath, but Henry Clay had no answer for the big-play back last week. Chisholm rumbled for 300 yards on 30 carries with four touchdowns in a 34-28 win for Ryle. That was a far cry from the 39 yards on 12 carries Chisholm mustered in Week 1.
The Rebels allowed 208 yards on the ground against Conner last week, so look for Chisholm to have another big night.
Still, Henry Clay is no CovCath. Ryle will need its quarterbacks to continue to improve. Junior quarterback Jake Smith completed 1 of 3 passes for eight yards and an interception against Henry Clay and senior Easton Pilyer completed 4 of 9 passes for 42 yards.
Ryle is ranked No. 9 in the Class 6A state poll.
Grueling stretch for NewCath gets tougher
Newport Central Catholic (2-0) at Campbell County (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Class 2A Thoroughbreds have gone 2-0 to start the season with wins over much bigger schools in a 17-7 final over Class 4A Scott and a 29-7 victory over Class 6A Cooper. Now the Breds visit Class 6A Campbell County.
Junior Kyle Kelly leads the Breds' offense with 298 yards on 46 carries with two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Hunter Cain has completed 7 of 14 passes for 128 yards and sophomore quarterback Paul Kremer has completed 7 of 19 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Alex Dowds has carried 49 times for 377 yards and five touchdowns for the Camels.
NewCath is ranked No. 6 in the Class 2A state poll and Campbell County is unranked in Class 6A.
Perrin duo carrying Scott
Scott (1-1) at Holy Cross (0-2), 5 p.m. Saturday
Senior Nelson Perrin and his younger brother, sophomore Quincy Perrin, have carried the load on the ground for an Eagles team averaging more than 250 yards a game in the run game.
Quincy Perrin has gained 315 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns and Nelson has added 103 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns of his own while David Patrick has carried 14 times for 71 yards and two scores. Junior Chad Ohmer has completed 8 of 15 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Holy Cross has 387 yards on the ground in two blowout losses this season, so look for the Perrins and company to have a big game.
Brossart seeks third 3-0 start
Brossart (2-0) at Bellevue (1-1), 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Mustangs are just outside the AP Top 10 Class 1A state poll and are hoping for their first 3-0 start since 2015 and just their third overall, including the 2010 season.
Junior Tyler MacDonald leads the Brossart offense with 406 yards in the air with two touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 26 of 51 passes.