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Simon Kenton Runs Away With Game at New Cath

Friday night's game between Simon Kenton and Newport Central Catholic featured two teams spiraling in different directions. Simon Kenton came into the contest undefeated and scoring on a torrid pace. New Cath had yet to win and had been sputtering on the scoreboard. Those trends continued at Newport Stadium as the Pioneers thrashed the Thoroughbreds, 46-13.

NCC did a good deal to hurt itself with penalties and interceptions, but the most obvious difference from the sideline appeared to be team speed. Simon Kenton is very quick on the outside as their wideouts Logan Winkler and Logan Scott blazed around the edge all night on the Breds.

“They can run a little bit,” said Simon Kenton head coach Jeff Marksbury of his speedy receivers.

Winkler is especially talented with good straight-line speed, quickness in and out of his breaks and nice hands to go up and make contested grabs. He got the scoring started in the first quarter for the Pioneers as he took a wide-receiver bubble screen 46 yards to the house, racing down the sidelines and avoiding three ankle tackles in the process. A moment later, he took the ball on a direct snap and followed his lone blocker to the pylon, breaking the plane of the endzone to score the two-point conversion, putting his team up 8-0. They would not relinquish the lead all night. From there, they poured it on and the bottom fell out for Newport Central Catholic.

After the Winkler score, Thoroughbred quarterback Pat Henschen threw a floaty lob down the sideline that was intercepted by defensive back Trent Kincaid around midfield. Simon Kenton then drove the ball back down the field on the legs of Dillon Powell who powered the ball to the three and then punched it in near the goal line on the next play giving the Pioneers a 15-0 lead.

Each time New Cath appeared to get something going on offense, junior defensive tackle Tucker Mueller would dominate the blocker in front of him and take Henschen down for a sack. Mueller devoured the opposing offensive line with three huge sacks in the first half.

“The kid just has a great motor and plays hard,” Marksbury said of Mueller. “Our defensive line is like our offensive line: they're big and strong and their athletic and they move well and we're pretty pleased with them.”

The Thoroughbreds too occasionally put pressure on Simon Kenton quarterback Cam Racke, but on one notable play before the half, Racke slipped out of a sack and scrambled for 10 yards and a first down. The damage was compounded for NCC with a personal-foul call that was tacked onto the play. Racke would later score on the drive on a keeper, making the score 22-0. Penalties simply eliminated any chance the Thoroughbreds had in getting back into the game.

Once New Cath failed to convert on a fourth-and-three at their own 40-yard line, their players became visibly frustrated on the sideline and the game was all but over before the halftime whistle had even sounded.

If there was a player of the game, however, for Newport Central Catholic it was senior Clint Bartels who had a nice interception on a crossing pattern in the middle of the field, and a lovely 30-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone where he jumped over his defender on the play.

Still, the real playmakers on the evening wore the white and blue of Simon Kenton and punished New Cath with their speed on both offense and defense.

“We just got some kids that believe in what we do and they work very hard,” Marksbury said. “We're talented up front and we're big and strong and it all starts with those guys up front. We got some guys that can make plays when we get the ball in their hands. Our quarterback is a doing a tremendous job of managing our offense and doesn't do anything to hurt us and that's really what we've asked him to do.”

With the score 30-7 at halftime, the second half became a chance for the backups to get some playing time in a blowout.

In their four games, Simon Kenton has outscored their opponents 196-41. They are averaging 49 points a game and appear very hard to stop on the outside. They travel to play a quality Cooper team next week in what should be the best test for the Pioneers so far this year.

Conversely, the Thoroughbreds seem stuck in neutral on offense and are at serious risk at missing the postseason if they haven't already—something they had not imagined before the year began. Generating sustained scoring drives has proven to be elusive for this team and big plays have not cropped up enough to translate into wins or even come all that close quite honestly. They host an improved Dixie team next week, where the Thoroughbreds hope to notch their first win of the season.

Other scores from the NKY River Cities:

Scott 31, Newport 14

Walton-Verona 28, Holmes 13

Beechwood 58, Holy Cross 0

Highlands 49, John Hardin 7

New Miami 22, Dayton 14

Fairview 47, Bellevue 22

Bethlehem 53, Ludlow 23

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, Associate Editor