We’re well into conference play in Northern Kentucky, as the top teams look to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs in the second-last week of league play.
In Indiana, it’s the final week of the regular season and teams try to bolster their resumes heading into the postseason.
Here are the Best Bets for Week 8 of prep football in Northern Kentucky and Indiana:
Beechwood (6-1) at Ludlow (3-4), 7 p.m. – Ludlow may have replaced Bellevue as the prime competition for Beechwood in Class A play. Both teams are 1-0 in the district, so this game will almost certainly determine the district champ and home field for the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Tigers’ lone blemish is a 44-10 loss to Covington Catholic. Ludlow has a pair of shutouts and nearly beat Paris in Week 1. The Panthers are clear underdogs, but they are home and should be the favorites for second place even with a loss.
Ryle (7-0) at Conner (6-1), 7 p.m. – A few years ago, who would’ve guessed Ryle-Conner would be the top matchup in Northern Kentucky the same week Covington Catholic was facing Highlands? Ryle has already edged Cooper, 49-42 last week in its absurd KHSAA-drawn three-team conference. The Raiders were allowing 12.5 points per week before that win, so that high points-allowed total is a concern heading into this game. Tanner Morgan has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,427 yards with just two interceptions. Conner has given up 90 points all season, and 39 came against Simon Kenton. Armand Jackson averages 11.3 yards per carry, with 70 rushes for 792 yards and 12 scores.
Simon Kenton (7-0) at Campbell County (3-4), 7 p.m. – Simon Kenton already pounded Boone County, so this game is for the district title. The Pioneers are averaging 49.7 points per game, thanks largely to the dual QB threat of Cameron Racke and Matt Schearer, who have combined for 1,891 passing yards. Again, just asinine judgment to force Northern Kentucky’s six Class 6A teams into two districts. The past few weeks have been a struggle for Campbell County, which won two of its first three including wins over Highlands and NewCath. But the Camels were destroyed by Conner, 44-0 last week as they have dropped three of four.
Covington Catholic (5-2) at Highlands (1-6), 7 p.m. – It’s amazing how quickly the landscape has changed in this district the past two years. After losing to Dixie Heights by 20 last week, Highlands will head to the road for the first round of the playoffs unless it can win this game, which it will enter as underdogs after losing six in a row. CovCath iQB A.J. Mayer has thrown for 1,592 yards, completing 110 of 192 passes. He has hooked up with 15 different receivers this season, and seven have nine or more catches. There’s nothing wrong with the Bluebirds’ offense, as Brady Gosney has 1,676 passing yards and 15 TDs, with Nick Veneman catching 33 passes for 689 yards and 10 scores. But Highlands has surrendered 491.4 yards and 45.7 points per game.
Newport Central Catholic (3-4) at Lloyd (4-3), 7 p.m. – Once again, NewCath has played a super-competitive schedule and has a mercurial record as a result, but the Thoroughbreds shut out a rejuvenated Holy Cross team, 21-0 last week and look to secure home field this week. Kyle Kelly has been NewCath’s top offensive weapon, rushing for 537 yards and eight touchdowns on just 87 carries. The Juggernauts have also played difficult schedule and opened district play with a 58-0 win over Newport last week. Justin Durham has 986 ground yards and 11 scores on 110 rushes.
Indianapolis Chatard (3-5) at East Central (7-1), 7 p.m. – It’s a battle of teams nicknamed the Trojans. While the teams’ records may indicate East Central as a strong favorite, Chatard’s opponents are 33-15 while the East Central’s are 17-23. Chatard has played one Tri-State opponent and won, 23-19 over Winton Woods on Sept. 30. East Central has won five straight, outscoring its opponents, 227-60 in that span. These teams have not met in the past three decades.