Week 1 features numerous interstate and local-vs.-out-of-area matchups in Northern Kentucky and Indiana.
One game that does not fall into that category is Newport Central Catholic vs. Cooper, which pits the 1-0 Thoroughbreds against an 0-1 Jaguars team that lost to Highlands by 10 in its opener.
Here are the Best Bets for Week 1 in Northern Kentucky and Indiana:
NewCath (1-0) at Cooper (0-1), 7:30 p.m.– This game is part of the Crosstown Showdown. What a start for Patrick Henschen. He finished 6 of 8 for 176 yards (a 29.3 YPC average) with two touchdowns vs. Scott, and he rushed eight times for 55 yards and two more scores. Jason Decker added 90 ground yards and one score and could be a force this year for NewCath. Shea Burns was a key for Cooper’s offense in Week 0, as he caught six passes for 120 yards and a TD, as QB Jarod Lonaker was 16-for-24 for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Ryle (1-0) vs. Lexington Henry Clay (0-0) at Lexington Catholic, 6 p.m. – Ryle’s offense overwhelmed in Week 0, as the Raiders gained nearly 400 first-half yards last week en route to a 31-13 win over Covington Catholic. QB Tanner Morgan was 18 of 26 for 295 and two touchdowns, and Jake Chisholm took care of the ground game, with 147 yards on 14 carries and one score. Henry Clay is coming off a 7-5 season in which it scored 35.0 points per game but allowed an average of 33.6, so this could be a high-scoring affair.
Covington Catholic (0-1) vs. Oak Hills (0-0) at Mount St. Joseph, Thursday, 7 p.m. – CovCath’s defense, the team’s calling card in past years, was shredded for 370 first-half yards and nearly 600 overall in its opening-week loss to Ryle. Colonels QB A.J. Mayer’s line was not great in that game, as he finished 15-for-31 for 147 yards, no TDs and one pick. Casey McGinness did impress with 15 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Oak Hills finished last in the GMC at 0-7 in conference play and 1-9 overall. The Highlanders allowed 49.2 points per game in 2015.
Dixie Heights (0-0) at Scott (0-1), 7 p.m. – Dixie Heights won more games than any team in Class 6A in 2014 (13) but dropped to 3-9 last year. And it wasn’t just one facet that got away from the Colonels: They scored just 16.8 points per game while allowing 33.0. Scott’s 2015 season was its most successful in school history, but Week 0 showed that it will not be easy for the Eagles to repeat that 10-3 mark, as they lost to Newport Central Catholic, 47-21.
Lexington Bryan Station (1-0) at Simon Kenton (1-0), 7:30 p.m. – Bryan Station – nicknamed the Defenders – had no answer for Simon Kenton’s offense last year in a 52-36 loss to the Pioneers on its home field. The Defenders beat Wayne County in overtime last week but allowed 284 rushing yards. Desmond Bernard was a fore in the receiving corps, catching 11 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. The Pioneers pounded Louisville Christian, 41-14, piling up over 400 yards of offense. Dylan Hampton could try to exploit Bryan Station’s run defense, as he gained 88 yards on 11 carries and found the end zone once last week. QB Cameron Racke finished 9-for-16 for 127 yards and two scores.
Connersville (0-1) at Franklin County (1-0), 7:30 p.m. – League play starts early in Indiana, and Connersville is hoping to avenge a 1-9 season in which it lost all three 4A games in Eastern Indiana Conference, allowing 38.8 points per game overall. But the Spartans lost their season opener, 27-0 to Richmond. Meanwhile, Franklin County rolled New Castle, 48-18. The Wildcats won this meeting, 50-13 last year and have won 24 of 28 meetings in this series dating back to 1987.
Batesville (1-0) at Milan (1-0), 7 p.m. – Batesville is coming off a 21-6 win in its home opener vs. Jennings County in coach Evan Ulery’s debut. Milan blew out Rushville on the road, 33-0 to start the 2016 campaign. The Bulldogs have dominated this series in recent years, winning 21 of the last 26 meeting, including last season’s 48-14 win over the Indians.