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Friday Night Preview: A Rumble in Newport & More

Lots of high school gridiron action Friday night!

RCN's Bryan Burke breaks it down:

Newport Central Catholic (1-4) at Newport (3-3) Class 2A District 6

It's been a long time since Newport has beaten its crosstown rivals, New Cath; fourteen years at least according to Newport coach Matt Schmitz. The Wildcats, though, are not interested in the past.

“Like I told my kids, those 14 years have nothing to do with 2014,” Schmitz told The River City News in August.

Indeed, this year's battle means more than just bragging rights. The winner of the game will be in the prime spot to win the district. Newport Catholic lost their first four games against schools of a bigger class, but they earned their first district win last week by shutting out Lloyd, 28-0. With a win, they would be a game and a half up on the Wildcats with only Holy Cross and Brossart left on their district schedule; two teams that have struggled mightily this year. Newport, on the other hand, still has to play Lloyd later in the season, easily the third best team of the district.

Newport relies of the legs of their senior running back Dominick Joseph who leads the team in rushing with 464 yards and five touchdowns. Joseph is a bigger back that is hard to bring down once he gets a head of steam under him. New Cath has struggled in previous games limiting power backs like Dixie's Luke Zajac who had a good game against the Breds.

Dayton (2-4) at Ludlow (4-2) Class 1A District 3

This game marks the district opener for both of these teams, where Ludlow will try to win its third game in a row. The Panthers have perhaps already exceeded expectations with a respective 4-2 record so far. The next three weeks are all district games and the stretch will prove how capable Ludlow is in terms of contending for the title.

As for Dayton, they too have a lot to prove to their district rivals. So far, they have lost three of their six games by more than 20 points and face Ludlow with a 2-4 record and also face a three-game stretch against the rest of the district.

Boone County (1-6) at Simon Kenton (7-0) Class 6A District 6

Simon Kenton looks to continue their perfect season against arguably the most beatable team in the district in Boone County. The Pioneers have employed an explosive passing game highlighted by the quick and athletic Logan Winkler at wide out. Winkler leads Northen Kentucky in receiving touchdowns with 11 and also had a kick-return TD last week against Campbell County. One concern SK may have this week, is looking ahead to next week where they will play Dixie in a big district showdown.

Campbell County (4-2) at Dixie (5-1) Class 6A District 6

Dixie heads into a critical stretch of its season as Campbell County comes to town this week and Simon Kenton next week. The Colonels have won five straight games after losing their opener to Covington Catholic and walloped Tates Creek, 43-6, last week. The Camels, meanwhile, are coming off a decisive beatdown at Simon Kenton last week and are looking to bounce back against a good team and prove it belongs among the district contenders. Campbell County had a hard time running the ball up the middle last week which prevented them from generating much offense at all. Dixie will not make it easy as they showcase some stout talent in the middle of its defensive line with Branden Johnson and Colson Machlitt. If the Camels once again cannot run the ball, quarterback Carson Plessinger must prove he can be a threat through the air too.

Bellevue (4-3) at Beechwood (4-2) Class 1A District 3

Beechwood returns home after their impressive win at Cov Cath last Saturday. The team was buoyed by the stellar play of Brett Slusher who recorded two touchdown catches, a kick-return touchdown, multiple sacks and a late-game interception in the win. Bellevue, on the other hand, has won their last three games, scoring over 50 points in two of those. This game is likely to be the stiffest district game of the season as it ends its schedule with three straight district matches. If Bellevue can pull of the upset on the road, it could then position itself for a postseason opportunity.

Covington Catholic (3-3) at Ryle (2-5) Non-district game

Cov Cath is still smarting off of two straight losses to Highlands and Beechwood and looks to shake it off against a bigger school in Ryle. The Colonels were setback a week ago when starting quarterback Adam Wagner was forced from the game on their first drive with a concussion. Ryle had lost four of their first five games before righting the ship last week against Boone County. The Raiders must contain the Colonels speedy wideouts in the flats and display reliable tackling to prevent Cov Cath from achieving the big play.

Holmes (1-5) at Harrison County (0-7) Class 4A District 4

Holmes needs a win in the worst way and this week's game may be their best chance to turn things around. The Bulldogs have slumped deeper into their losing streak after beating Holy Cross in their opener, dropping five straight and losing big in the process. Their 32-22 loss last week was the closest they've come to competing since Holy Cross. With games against Highlands, Cov Cath and Newport remaining on the schedule, the trip to Harrison County becomes a now-or-never game for head coach Ben Nevels. This will be the third straight away game for Holmes.

Holy Cross (1-5) at Conner (1-5) Non-district game

This game features two teams who have gotten off to forgettable starts this season. Holy Cross has been pummeled by five out of their six opponents but was able to enjoy a blowout of their own with they beat Brossart 48-19 two weeks ago. While Conner has not fared any better record-wise, they have scored over 20 points in five of their six games. Because they play in a bigger class than Holy Cross, one might suspect that they will still be a handful against a smaller HC team.

Grant Couny (1-5) at Scott (5-1) Class 5A District 4

Scott suffered its first loss of the year game at Cooper, 42-7. It has usually been the Eagles on the winning side of the blowouts this year as they have run over the majority of their opponents before facing the Jaguars two weeks ago. Scott rested last week during the bye week and hopes to come out refreshed against a district opponent who has dropped four straight games after winning their opener. Scott features multiple running backs that have gashed the majority of their opponents for huge plays.   

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