In Kentucky, four-team conferences begin league play this week as they vie for seeding in the KHSAA state tournament.
Indiana is in its second-last week of the regular season, and this week’s schedule features two critical EIAC crossover games.
Here are the Best Bets for Week 7 of prep football in Northern Kentucky and Indiana:
Cooper (5-2) at Ryle (6-0), 7 p.m. – Since opening the season with a 10-point loss to Highlands – the Bluebirds’ lone win of the season – Cooper has won five of six with its lone loss coming to Simon Kenton. The Jared Lonaker-Dante Hendrix connection has been one of the most lucrative in the state. Lonaker is 118 of 205 for 2,013 yards and 20 touchdowns vs. just three interceptions while Hendrix is 40-844-12. The Jaguars throw the ball nearly half of the time. Ryle is one of only four unbeaten 6A teams in Kentucky along with Simon Kenton, Louisville Trinity and Louisville DuPont Manual. The Raiders are third in that class in points allowed with 75 PA or 12.5 per game. Opponents have managed an average of 134.5 passing yards vs. Ryle but just 54.8 rushing. Jake Chisholm leads the Raiders in rushing with 561 yards and eight touchdowns on just 58 carries. Ryle also passes in nearly 50 percent of its offensive plays. Cooper surrenders 150.1 passing yards per game, so expect both teams to air it out.
Conner (5-1) at Campbell County (3-3), 7 p.m. – The lone blemish on Conner’s record is a Week 2 loss to Simon Kenton, but the Cougars held their own in that 12-point loss and have outscored their other five opponents, 197-51. Armand Jackson has turned into a go-to back for Conner, rushing for 628 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 56 carries for an 11.2 average. He gained 161 yards on the ground last week. Campbell County eked out early wins against Highlands and Newport Central Catholic but was not competitive against Cooper or Ryle. The Camels have had success in the passing game. Nic Mayer enters this week with 39 catches for 672 yards and four TDs and QB Austin Hoeh is 94 of 185 for 1,281 yards and five scores.
Highlands (1-5) at Dixie Heights (3-3), 7 p.m. – It’s unlikely Grant County will be competitive in Class 5A, so these teams are likely vying for the No. 2 seed, which means home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Highlands is allowing an average of 46.7 points and 478.8 yards per game. Offensively, Brady Gosney has thrown nine interceptions, but he is still 115-for-180 for 1,453 yards and 12 touchdowns, and receiver Nick Veneman is 29-626-8. Dixie Heights may be 3-3, but its losses have come to Simon Kenton, Conner and Cooper. The Colonels average just 20.0 points per game, and have been held to 14 or fewer in all of their losses. Dixie Heights has dropped three of four, and the team’s confidence may have waned as a result.
East Central (6-1) at Greensburg (5-2), 7 p.m. – East Central faced three out-of-state opponents to open the season, going 2-1, and has reeled off four straight wins vs. Indiana opponents, outscoring them, 192-53. Following back-to-back losing seasons, Greensburg has clinched at least a .500 record and is coming off wins against Franklin County and at Batesville the past two weeks. The Trojans have dominated this series the past three decades, winning 28 of 30, but they only beat the Pirates by 17 last year and that Greensburg team finished 5-6.
Batesville (4-3) at Franklin County (5-2), 7 p.m. – Batesville racked up an early 4-0 record against a fairly weak schedule but has dropped its last three to East Central, Lawrenceburg and Greensburg and has gotten thumped soundly, 91-34 in those defeats. Franklin County started 3-0 but is 2-2 since, also with losses to East Central and Greensburg. The Bulldogs won, 28-8 when these teams met last season, but the Wildcats hold a slight 16-15 series edge the past 30 years.