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NKY Football: Here's What Happened In Final Week of Regular Season

In what has been a fascinating and exciting season of Northern Kentucky high school football, the final week before the post-season begins offered another set of thrilling match-ups.

Simon Kenton remained perfect, holding off a surging Scott team... Holy Cross flexed some late-season muscles at Bellevue... Highlands continues to pick up steam in a lackluster season for the Bluebirds... Covington Catholic went to Scott County and took it on the chin... 

Here's a look at what happened:

Simon Kenton 44, Scott 13

Despite losing standout senior running back Dillon Powell late in the first quarter to a knee injury, Simon Kenton had no trouble with Scott, defeating the Eagles 44-13, Friday night in Taylor Mill.

The Pioneers got off to a fast start on its initial possession, completing a 40-yard double-reverse pass to junior receiver Luke Vance, putting it deep in Scott territory one minute into the game. A few plays later, Powell outraced Scott defenders around the left side 20 yards for a touchdown and an 8-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion pass to junior receiver Logan Kreidenweis. But they were not done yet. Following a Scott punt and a failed fourth down attempt by the Pioneers, Simon Kenton took advantage of a fumble by junior Ryan Muck, the ball popping up in the air after he was hit hard by Pioneer defenders on its first play of the drive. After Powell found the end zone for the second time from 23 yards out in the opening quarter, the Pioneers’ led 14-0.

Still struggling to gain much momentum near the end of the quarter, Scott was forced to punt once again. On first-and-10 from its own 44, Powell raced through the Scott defensive line down to the 10-yard line but was horse-collared on the play, injuring his knee. Fortunately for Simon Kenton, the injury did not appear to be serious and was kept out of the rest of the game for precautionary reasons, Head Coach Jeff Marksberry said. “We didn’t want to take any risks. What’s important is coming up, so didn’t want to take any risks.” But for the Pioneers, its depth at the position kept it going for the rest of the game with sophomore running back Will Parks stepping in and picking up where Powell left off. With Parks’ short touchdown run, Simon Kenton found itself ahead by three scores, 21-0 at the conclusion of the first. “He (Parks) did a heck of a job. We’re really proud of him,” the Coach said.

The Eagles were able to briefly stop the Pioneers’ scoring, picking off Simon Kenton junior quarterback Cam Racke’s pass in the end zone, preventing another score, but were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt. Racke redeemed himself on his team's next possession, calling his own number from 27 yards out and a 28-0 lead. Parks added another score right before the half, his second of the night, for a 35-0 lead at the break.

Already banged up coming into the game, Scott lost standout kick returner Nelson Perrin, knocked out on the opening kickoff of the third. Following a Simon Kenton punt – its first of the game – Scott finally found the end zone with less than six minutes to go in the quarter. Senior running back Deondre Pleasant broke several tackles down the right sideline, beating Pioneer defenders over the goal line and a 35-7 score. But on its next possession, Parks methodically led his team down the field with several runs, culminating with a one-yard touchdown pass from Racke to Kreidenweis and a 41-7 lead going into the final quarter.

With under a minute left, Scott found the end zone to cap the scoring on the night, courtesy of a short touchdown run by senior Cody Shultz and a 44-13 final. Each team moves on to the first round of the playoffs next Friday, with Scott (8-2) facing Rowan County at home and Simon Kenton (10-0) up against (Louisville) Butler in Independence. Butler is a team it’s familiar with, Marksberry said. “We played them a couple years ago in the third round in the regional finals. We know they’ll be athletic; they’ve played a really tough schedule. They’re 2-8 but they’ve played Male, they’ve played St. X, they’ve played (Pleasure Ridge Park.) They have played a really hard schedule so they will be prepared,” he said.

-Jason Finnell