COVINGTON, Ky. -- Despite starting 2-5 to begin the 2015 season, the Highlands Bluebirds and the Covington Catholic Colonels were each looking to get back on track by winning the annual, heated rivalry game.
It was a game dominated by the defenses, but it was Highlands topping the CovCath for the 14th-consecutive time, this time by a score of 14-10.
Highlands Head Coach Brian Weinrich was pleased with the way his team performed on Saturday afternoon at Wooten Field.
“It’s a big win and what it does is it shows our guys are working and getting better, but like I told them, all the regular season match between Highlands and CovCath does is determine who we’re going to play in the playoffs,” Weinrich said. “We know that. They know that. So we need to get going now.”
After a defense-driven game for most of the first quarter, the Colonels got the scoring started with just under two minutes remaining when they had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Matt Kloska after failing to find the end zone, despite getting the ball to as far as the Highlands 5-yard line.
CovCath extended its lead midway through the second quarter on a four-yard rushing touchdown by Colonel running back Anthony Best to extend their lead to 10-0.
Highlands didn’t take long to respond, taking less than two minutes to get on the board on a five-yard rushing touchdown by Jared Pulsfort to cut the Colonel lead to 10-7. CovCath would take that lead into halftime.
The Bluebirds came out firing in the second half, taking less than two minutes to take its first lead of the game on a 13-yard rushing touchdown by running back Grant Murray.
CovCath attempted to take the lead late in game but quarterback AJ Mayer overthrew his target and was picked off by Austin Greene at the Highlands eight yard line.
The Bluebirds took over on the 50 yard line on the 42-yard return by Greene. However, a Jared Dougherty punt gave the ball back to CovCath for one final try at victory.
The Colonels could not take advantage of the extra opportunity, however, as Mayer was picked off by Kyle Beck to seal the victory for the Bluebirds.
“That was huge,” Weinrich said about the two late interceptions. “Those guys just made two huge plays.”
For senior Jared Dougherty, getting a win in his final regular season matchup against Covington Catholic was crucial for Highlands going forward.
“It’s just a confidence builder,” Dougherty said. “I think as seniors, we picked it up and if we can just continue to build like the old Highlands teams, we will be where they want us to be.”
Despite being one of the most accurate kickers in Kentucky, Dougherty missed two field goals, both from longer than 30 yards, while kicking into the strong Saturday wind.
“A little wind, a little nervous because of a big game, but short memory,” Dougherty said. “Forget about the first one, forget about the second one and move on.”
Highlands (3-5) returns home next Friday night to take on Grant County in district play, while Covington Catholic (2-6) will look to rebound next week when they travel to face a struggling Dixie Heights team.