Several crucial matchups dot the Northern Kentucky slate in Week 9, including a battle of undefeated teams in Simon Kenton at Ryle.
Dixie Heights at CovCath is for the district title and home-field advantage for the second round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile in Indiana, the postseason begins with East Central and Lawrenceburg in action and Batesville and Greensburg facing each other in the sectional round.
Here are the Best Bets for Week 9 of prep football in Northern Kentucky and Indiana:
Simon Kenton (8-0) at Ryle (8-0), 7 p.m. – These are two of the three undefeated Class 6A schools remaining in the state (Louisville Trinity is the other). With an average of 49.8 points, Simon Kenton leads all of Class 6A in offense. The Pioneers’ attack has hadf amazing balance in terms of personnel, with three rushers gaining at least 480 rushing yards and three receivers picking up at least 425 yards in the air, yet none have over 600 yards in either area. After allowing just 75 points through six games, Ryle has surrendered 70 in its past two, both wins over Cooper and Conner. The Raiders have shut down opposing rushers, allowing just 78 ground yards per game, while Jake Chisholm alone has 1,002 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
Conner (6-2) at Cooper (6-3), 7:30 p.m. – Conner has allowed more than 14 points just twice this season in losses to Ryle and Simon Kenton. Armand Jackson is averaging 10.0 yards per carry with 892 rushing yards and 14 TDs. Cooper lost to Highlands in its season opener and has also fallen to Simon Kenton and Ryle. The Jaguars average 44.0 points, with Jarod Lonaker throwing for 2,571 yards and Dante Hendrix catching 55 passes for 1,140 yards and 18 scores.
Dixie Heights (5-3) at Covington Catholic (6-2), 7 p.m. – The winner of this battle of teams nicknamed Colonels takes the district title and home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Dixie Heights has lost to Cooper, Conner and Simon Kenton by an average of 25 points. Passing is almost a non-factor for Dixie Heights, as Jose Torres is the key their offense with 1,211 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. CovCath’s Casey McGinness has 833 ground yards, and QB A.J. Mayer is 114 of 205 for 1,685 yards and 15 TDs.
Lloyd (4-4) at Holy Cross (5-3), Saturday, 1 p.m. – Newport Central Catholic has wins over both of these teams and has wrapped up the district title, but the winner of this game earns home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs while the loser heads to the road against a tougher opponent. This could be a battle of defenses – Lloyd has shut out three opponents and is allowing just 13.4 points per game. Holy Cross has also blanked three opponents and is surrendering an average of 11.9 points.
Ludlow (3-5) at Bellevue (2-6), 7 p.m. – These teams are vying for home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason. Ludlow’s resume includes shutouts over Newport and Trimble County, plus a 16-point conference win over Dayton. Bellevue has won just two games all season, including a 7-0 victory over the Greendevils last week. The Panthers have actually outscored their opponents by 28, averaging 27.8 points, while the Tigers are scoring just 12.4 points per game.
East Central (7-2) at Shelbyville (7-2), 7 p.m. – East Central was 7-1 last week and riding a five-game winning streak before suffering a 13-point loss to Indianapolis Chatard in its regular season finale. Shelbyville won its first six before being crushed, 70-20 by New Palestine as its lost two of its final three. These teams have only played 10 times since 1987, and the Trojans have won nine of those meetings.
Batesville (5-4) at Greensburg (6-3), 7 p.m. – Greensburg won, 28-14 when these teams played in the regular season. After a 4-0 start, Batesville lost its next four before beating up on hapless Connersville. Greensburg fattened up with a 28-0 win over Rushville in its regular season finale and enters the postseason with four wins in its last five. In the past 30 years, Batesville holds a slight edge in this series, 22-19.
Indianapolis Manual (5-4) at Lawrenceburg (8-1), 7 p.m. – These teams have not met in the previous few decades, but Lawrenceburg is a huge favorite. Despite being a 3A team, Manual only played one team at its class size level and faced eight smaller schools, getting shut out by three of them. Lawrenceburg’s only loss was to Franklin County mid-season, and the Tigers have won four straight since, scoring 130 points in their last two contests.