Move over, CovCath and Simon Kenton - Ludlow and NewCath emerge as contenders

This week's top games in NKY

Covington Catholic and Simon Kenton continued to roll through the competition last week and remain unbeaten and highly ranked.

NewCath has emerged from a tough early-season schedule as a contender in Class 2A while Beechwood remains near the top of the pack in the Class 1A state poll. And Ludlow has emerged as No. 6 in 1A.

Check out the following storylines for this week in Northern Kentucky high school football:

Covington Catholic quarterback A.J. Mayer (Photo provided by

Class 5A No. 1 CovCath hosts Ohio Division III power Columbus St. Francis DeSales

St. Francis DeSales (3-1) at Covington Catholic (5-0), 7 p.m.

The Colonels continued their onslaught on the competition last week with a 45-9 win at then-Class 1A No. 1 Beechwood and will welcome perennial Division III Ohio Power St. Francis DeSales into Dennis Griffin Stadium this week.

CovCath has scored at least 35 points in every game this season and has eclipsed 40 points four times while holding every foe to less than 20 points. Through five games, the Colonels have outscored foes by an average of 44-8.

CovCath remained No. 1 in this week's Class 5A state poll. DeSales, meanwhile, is ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Division III Ohio state poll after suffering its first loss of the season last week in a 42-7 final against Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, the No. 7 team in the AP Class 3A Indiana state poll.

DeSales beat CovCath, 49-17 last Sept. 23 in Columbus, but this is clearly a different Colonels team. Senior quarterback A.J. Mayer, a Miami University recruit, has completed 63 of 95 passes for 1,061 yards and 14 touchdowns with just one interception. Junior receiver Jack Coldiron has made 13 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns while senior receiver Malachi Pike has added 11 catches for 186 yards and four touchdowns. Junior running back Casey McGinness has added 10 catches to go with 550 yards on 80 carries and seven rushing touchdowns. Mayer has scored four touchdowns on the ground.

The CovCath defense has allowed just 114 yards per game on the ground and has been especially stifling against the pass with only 95 yards allowed per game through the air.

Running back Brian Asamoah is the top offensive threat for DeSales, along with running back Joey Velazquez and quarterback Cole Silvestri.

Simon Kenton quarterback Matt Shearer (Photo provided by

Unbeaten Simon Kenton continues season-long dominance

Highlands (2-3) at Simon Kenton (5-0), 7 p.m.

Simon Kenton remained the highest-ranked local Class 6A squad in the Associated Press Kentucky state poll this week at No. 5 after routing Cooper Sept. 15, 65-7, and Pioneers fans should expect similar results Friday for senior quarterback Matt Shearer and company.

Shearer has completed 63 of 95 passes for 983 yards and 17 touchdowns and still has not been intercepted in 2017 while adding 243 yards on 57 carries and five more touchdowns on the ground. Shearer was 12-for-15 last week for 291 yards and five touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Austin Hammack has added 481 yards on 55 carries with five touchdowns. Senior receiver Sam Murray has been Shearer's top target with 16 catches for 215 yards and five touchdowns and senior receiver Fisher Hayden has added 15 catches for 309 yards and six touchdowns.

Highlands reeling after third straight loss

Highlands (2-3) at Simon Kenton (5-0), 7 p.m.

Highlands has lost three straight -- to Class 6A No. 6 Scott County, Class 6A No. 7 Ryle and to Class 3A No. 7 Lexington Catholic -- and the task gets no easier this week for the reeling Bluebirds against one of the area's top teams in Simon Kenton, the No. 5 team in Class 6A.

The Birds remained unranked in this week's Class 5A state poll and a fourth-straight loss is likely this week ahead of a home game next week against Dixie Heights. Highlands lost seven straight at one point last season on the way to its worst record since 1955 for a program with 26 state titles and winning expectations.

Senior quarterback Carl Schoellman has completed 99 of 150 passes for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions this season. His top targets have been seniors Nick Veneman and Jared Wogan. Veneman has made 25 catches for 343 yards and three touchdowns and Wogan has added 23 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior Cooper Schwalbach has added 308 yards on 78 carries and eight touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Beau Allen directs the Knights offense and has thrown for 759 yards and eight touchdowns.

Newport Central Catholic quarterback Kyle Kelly (Photo provided by

NewCath emerging as contender in Class 2A

Newport Central Catholic (3-2) at Conner (2-2), 7 p.m.

The Class 2A Thoroughbreds ended a two-game losing streak with a 20-15 win over then Class 2A No. 1 Christian Academy, the defending 2A state champions. The win was a boost to the Breds after losses the previous two weeks at Class 6A Campbell County and to Class 3A No. 1 Belfry. NewCath had opened the season with wins over Class 4A Scott and Class 6A Cooper, and when the Breds finally had a like-sized school on the schedule, they beat it.

NewCath is now ranked No. 6 in Class 2A while Christian Academy fell to No. 5 after its first loss of the season. Now it's back up a few rungs in school size as New Cath visits Class 6A Conner.

Junior Kyle Kelly leads the Breds offense with 475 yards on 95 carries with three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Paul Kremer has completed 37 of 73 passes for 392 yards and seven touchdowns.

Conner could really use a win

Newport Central Catholic (3-2) at Conner (2-2), 7 p.m.

Just two weeks after giving Simon Kenton all it would handle in a 13-6 loss to the Pioneers, Conner fell to 2-2 last week with a 28-21 loss at previously winless Dixie Heights.

Senior quarterback Cooper Gullion has completed 34 of 52 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions this season. 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.

Beechwood looks to bounce back against winless Holy Cross

Holy Cross (0-5) at Beechwood (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

The defending Class 1A state champion Tigers suffered a 45-9 loss at home last week to Class 5A No. 1 CovCath, but the defeat can serve as nothing more than a learning experience for the powerful Tigers. If any frustration remains from last week, look for Beechwood to take it out on winless Holy Cross -- the Indians have not been in a close game all season and have scored only 42 points while allowing 273.

Beechwood fell to No. 2 in the Class 1A state poll this week behind Paintsvile.

Senior quarterback Brayden Burch has completed 47 of 93 passes for 602 yards and five touchdowns for Beechwood. Junior Logan Castleman has been his top target with 15 catches for 186 yards and a score.

Three Tigers have at least 22 carries, including Castleman with 100 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Senior James Davis leads Beechwood with 225 yards on 60 carries and a touchdown, and sophomore Joshua Derry has added 165 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.

Ludlow High's Justin Blackburn (Photo provided by

Class 1A No. 6 Ludlow hosts 1A No. 9 Williamsburg

Williamsburg (3-2) at Ludlow (4-0), 7:30 p.m.

Ludlow routed its second-straight foe last week in a 61-30 win over Newport, and the Panthers are ranked No. 6 in the Class 1A state poll. Now the Panthers face their toughest test thus far when No. 9 Williamsburg visits from southern Kentucky.

Senior quarterback Justin Blackburn has been outstanding for Ludlow with 772 yards on 72 carries and 12 touchdowns while completing 27 of 61 passes for 562 yards and nine touchdowns. Junior running back Sean Stratton has added 367 yards on 61 carries and two touchdowns. Senior tight end Trey Donahue has made nine catches for 186 yards and five touchdowns while sophomore Ian Vallandingham has added seven catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

Williamsburg is coming off a 53-21 loss to 1A No. 1 Paintsville. Senior quarterback Alec Poore has completed 83 of 151 passes for 1,212 yards and 17 touchdowns, but has thrown eight interceptions for the Yellow Jackets.

Perrin duo and Scott back on the field at Mason County

Scott (2-2) at Mason County (3-1), 7:30 p.m.

Scott was off last week following a 47-27 loss Sept. 8 against Conner at home, and the Eagles could use a win at Mason County.

Senior Nelson Perrin and his younger brother, sophomore Quincy Perrin, are the standouts on offense for Scott. Quincy Perrin has gained 550 yards on 54 carries with five touchdowns while Nelson Perrin has added 273 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns. Junior David Patrick has carried 31 times for 222 yards and five scores while junior Chad Ohmer has completed 19 of 36 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns.

Boone County and Dixie Heights seeking second win

Boone County (1-3) at Dixie Heights (1-4), 7 p.m.

Dixie finally ended a four-game losing streak with a 28-21 win over Conner last week at home and Boone County's only win was a 27-6 victory at winless Holmes.

Three Colonels have at least 41 carries, led by junior Brandon Barker with 459 yards on 87 carries and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Paul Guenther has added 345 yards on 52 carries with two touchdowns, and junior running back CJ Bensman has carried 41 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior Zach Grau has completed 15 of 30 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions for Boone County.

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