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Friday Night Battle: Simon Kenton vs. Campbell Co. & Other Game Previews

 Simon Kenton faces arguably their best test of the season tonight as they host Campbell County in a Class 6A showdown.

The Pioneers (6-0) edged Ryle last week, 24-17, in what was their closest contest of the year. Prior to that game, their slimmest margin of victory had been 19 points.

The Camels, however, only have a six-point loss to Highlands in Week 2 that has kept them from sporting a perfect record on the season and are eager to prove their legitimacy among the state's bigger schools.

The teams vary in style in terms of their offensive scheme. The Pioneers use their impressive speed on the outside by quickly getting the ball to their fast receivers, Logan Winkler and Logan Scott, on bubble screens and quick outs. Winkler has stood out this season as arguably Northern Kentucky's most dangerous receiver as he leads the area in receiving yards with 527 and has racked up 10 touchdown catches in six games. He is hard to contain in open space and when he breaks tackles, it often leads to huge chunks of yardage.

The Camels, though, stick with the power-run game behind quarterback Carson Plessinger who is second in the region with 613 rushing yards to go along with 10 rushing touchdowns. Running back Josh Carroll is also instrumental to the Campbell County rushing attack with over 350 yards on the ground himself. Their smash-mouth style will challenge the front seven of Simon Kenton, led by interior lineman Tucker Mueller, by chewing up clock, winning the field position battle, and wearing out the big men along the SK line.

If the Camels are able to establish the running game, it will further prioritize the need for Simon Kenton to find quick-strike opportunities in their passing attack, otherwise, they may find themselves fighting the clock and the Camels.

The match-up is the first district game for both teams and the outcome could prove to have a heavy bearing on the postseason picture later in the season.

Simon Kenton is the ninth-ranked team in Class 6A in the state, which are the biggest schools in terms of enrollment. The Camels are not ranked in the top-10, but could crack that list with a win tonight.

Holmes (1-4) at Bellevue (3-3) Non-District Game

It's been an up-and-down season thus far for the Bellevue Tigers as they have been blown out by 40 points and have won 52-0. After kicking off the season against Walton Verona, they have yet to face a Northern Kentucky team. The Holmes team they face tonight is reeling after four straight losses. They have struggled on offense by failing to score more than 20 points in four of their five games, but have a shot at turning those numbers around against the Tigers.

Holy Cross (1-4) at Lloyd (4-1) Non-District Game

Both of these teams reversed the trends of their season last week as Holy Cross got out of the losing column with a huge 48-19 win last week over Brossart. The Indians had struggled mightily producing points up until the offensive explosion last Friday night. Quarterback Hamilton Scott and sophomore power-back Xavier Abernathy remain their biggest offensive threats. Lloyd, on the other hand, had won their first four games before being blanked by Newport Central Catholic last week, 28-0. It will be interesting to see if the new trends hold or if the teams return to their previous patterns

Newport (2-3) at Brossart (1-3) Class 2A District 6

Newport scored 62 points a week ago in their win over Pendleton County behind their two-headed rushing attack with Paul Price and Dominick Joseph. Each have over 50 carries on the year, with Price averaging over eight yards per rush. The pair has also combined for eight touchdowns. Brossart is looking for their first win over a Northern Kentucky school.

Dayton (2-3) at Fayetteville, OH (1-4) Non-District Game

Dayton continues its four-game stretch of out-of-area teams as they cross the river to take on Fayetteville. The Greendevils snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Bracken County last week, 39-20.

Beechwood (3-2) at Covington Catholic (3-2) Non-District Game (Saturday)

The battle of Dixie Highway features two talented teams that have had bumps in the road so far this year. Cov Cath is coming off of a hammering last week at Highlands where a bevy of mistakes buried any chances of them escaping with a W. The Colonels, though, showed great resiliency earlier in the season after getting blown out by Moeller, only to bounce back and beat a good Henderson County team at home. They have the chance to do the same against Beechwood on Saturday afternoon. Beechwood on the other hand, has overcome a slow start with losses to Mount Healthy and Dixie to win three straight since, including last week's crushing of Holmes, 49-7. The teams know each other well and should make for some quality neighborhood smack talk in Park Hills and Fort Mitchell.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: Simon Kenton football/RCN file