Three weeks into the season, it’s still difficult to measure the ability of some of the top teams in Northern Kentucky.
This weekend should help clarify that, as Highlands faces Ryle, Simon Kenton takes on Dixie Heights and Cooper plays Campbell County.
IOn Indiana, EIAC powers Franklin County and East Central battle, and Lawrenceburg takes on I-74 rival Greensburg.
Here are the Best Bets for Week 3 in Northern Kentucky and Indiana:
Cooper (2-1) at Campbell County (2-1), 7 p.m. – The common opponent here is Highlands: Cooper could not hold a lead vs. the Bluebirds and Campbell County pulled out a last-second win against them. Known for their defense for multiple years, the Jaguars have been an offensive juggernaut early in 2016, scoring 46.3 points and racking up 519.0 yards per game. Jarod Lonaker is 48-for-77 for 846 yards, nine TDs and no picks thus far, and Dante Hendrix has caught 18 passes for 371 yards and six scores. After losing by 14 vs. East Central to open the season, the Camels have pulled off wins by three and five points over Highlands and NewCath. Campbell County has held its opponents to 275.0 yards per game and just 93.7 in the air. Nic Mayer and Cameron Sandman have 16 catches each to pace the Camels, with Mayer piling up 328 receiving yards.
Lexington Catholic (1-2) at Covington Catholic (2-1), 7 p.m. – After beating Boone County in its opener, LexCath has lost to a pair of state heavyweights in Johnson Central and Louisville St. Xavier by 14 and 17 points, respectively. The Knights have been strong against the pass but gave up 582 rushing yards in their first two games. CovCath likes to pass but still runs about 60 percent of the time. A.J. Mayer is 52 of 94 for 680 yards, seven TDs and two interceptions, and David Reisiger is his favorite target, catching 14 passes for 174 yards and three scores – all team highs. The Colonels have strugged on defense, giving up 200 rushing and 288 passing yards per game.
RELATED: CovCath QB has Colonels confident.
Scott (1-2) at Conner (1-1), 7 p.m. – Scott has stepped up its schedule in recent years, and it bit the Eagles this year: They allowed 81 points in their first two games before pounding Newport last week. Scott has been one-dimensional in its offense, throwing just 15 passes in three games, but the Eagles have been effective enough to keep opponents honest. Nelson Perrin is 9-for-15 for 178 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. Conner beat Boone County and lost to Simon Kenton, not unexpected results, and the Cougars only lost to the Pioneers by 12. The Cougars ripped off 511 yards in their win. QB Walker Buelow was 15 of 20 for 244 yards and two TDs and also ran for 85 yards.
Simon Kenton (3-0) at Dixie Heights (2-0), 7 p.m. – Speaking of offense, Simon Kenton enters this week with a 43.3 points-per-game average, piling up 440.3 yards a contest. The receiving duo of Sam Murray and Luke Vance have nearly identical numbers, with 13 catches and two TDs each and 170 and 168 yards, respectively. Dixie Heights has held its first two opponents to a total of 20 points, but this will be its toughest test to date by far. Opponents are managing just 133.3 yards per game – including just 39.0 passing – vs. the Colonels.
Belfry (2-0) at Newport Central Catholic (1-2), 7:30 p.m. – Belfry, the three-time defending Class 3A champion, blew out its competition in last year’s state tournament and has continued bulling its way through its first two opponents in 2016. The mountain-school Pirates have outscored their first two foes, 95-25, averaging 319 rushing yards while allowing just 175.0 per game. Belfry has thrown just five passes this year. After beating Scott by 26, NewCath has lost its last two to 6A Cooper and Campbell County. The Thoroughbreds love to play a tough schedule, and the fact they have averaged 202 rushing yards per game against their three opponents bodes well for them in Class 2A competition later this fall.
Franklin County (Ky.) (2-1) at Beechwood (2-0), 7:30 p.m. – Franklin County has won a pair of blowouts, and its lone loss was by two to Western Hills on the road. The Flyers are averaging 44.0 points per game while holding opponents to 13 points in their two wins. Beechwood has never been afraid to play bigger teams, and this week is no exception. The Tigers have surrendered just seven points this season and held Lloyd to 119 yards in their opener.
Highlands (1-2) at Ryle (3-0), 7:30 p.m. – One thing about Highlands’ games to this point: They’ve all been exciting. The Bluebirds won by 10, lost by three and fell again by nine in contests that all were decided late. Nick Veneman is emerging as one of the top receivers in the area, posting 15 catches for 384 yards – an average of 25.6 yards per catch – and four touchdowns already this year. While Highlands is No. 8 in this week’s TSF rankings, Ryle tops the poll. The Raiders are averaging 35.7 points and 449.7 yards per game. Tanner Morgan is 52 of 81 for 689 yards, five TDs and no picks and four Ryle players have over 100 receiving yards. This should be a high-scoring affair.
Franklin County (Ind.) (3-0) at East Central (2-1), 7 p.m. – Franklin County has played in three blowouts, winning by 30, 36 and 23 points over New Castle, Connersville and Rushville, the latter two of which are winless. This will actually be East Central’s first game against an Indiana opponent, as the Trojans beat Campbell County and Harrison but lost to La Salle last week. East Central won this meeting by eight last year and is 28-8 in the series dating back to 1987.
Greensburg (2-1) at Lawrenceburg (3-0), 7 p.m. – Greensburg is another one of those teams that’s hard to get a read on: The Pirates have beaten two teams that are 0-3 but lost to Shelbyville, which is 3-0. They are outscoring their opponents, 96-47. Lawrenceburg is averaging 49.0 points per game. The Tigers knocked Greensburg out of the playoffs with an eight-point win last fall and are 20-13 vs. the Pirates the past 30 years.