Dixie Beats Simon Kenton, 36-10
Dixie manhandled Simon Kenton in a statement game, 36-10, on Dixie's homecoming night, which both ruins the Pioneers' perfect season and jettisons the Colonels to the top of their district standings.
“I don't know who the better team is, but tonight we played better than them,” Dixie head coach Dave Brossart said.
The game featured a bevy of talent on both sides, but despite playing less players, it was Dixie that maximized their offensive weaponry while limiting the dynamic play-makers of Simon Kenton on the other side. Colonels quarterback Drew Moore was terrific as he roasted the Pioneer defense on the read-option play time and again. Moore scored three first half touchdowns on quarterback keepers from the read-option play in a sequence that set an early tone for a Dixie blowout.
Simon Kenton got the ball first and quarterback Cam Racke was immediately sacked by Owen Sammons on the first play. A short while later, the Pioneers went for it on fourth down from their own 38 yard line when the snap to Racke went over his head and resulted in a 23-yard loss on the play. It appeared that there was some early movement on the line which may have thrown off the concentration of the center, but nonetheless, it gave the ball to the Colonels in the red zone and Moore promptly waltzed into the end zone of his first score of the game.
After Moore scored again on the same play, only to the left this time, the Colonels missed their second two-point conversion in a row, making the score 12-0 in the first quarter. Later in the half, Simon Kenton got good field position after a bad Dixie punt that resulted in three points for the Pioneers, making the score 12-3.
Just as it looked like Simon Kenton would make a game of it, however, they kicked the ball out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff and gave the Colonels the ball at the 45-yard line. That's when the other threat of the read-option, running back Luke Zajac, came into play. With the Pioneers cautious of Moore breaking it to the outside on play-action keepers, they committed more to the outside and allowed Zajac easy running room up the middle. Once the defense crept back into the box to stop Zajac, Moore would fake it Zajac and run to freely to the outside. It worked like a charm on the drive and allowed Moore to trot in for his third touchdown of the half.
“We've put a lot of time into the read-option,” Brossart said. “Drew Moore makes good decisions on the read. It's tough to defend because a lot of teams don't run that type of offense. We tweak it week in and week out, add a little spice to it, make it look different than the week before, but the read-option has been about forty percent of our offense this year.
With the score quickly getting out of hand, Simon Kenton needed third and fourth-down conversions to gain some momentum and rest their defense. Neither were able to happen though as SK went 0-3 on fourth down in the first half.
“Our defense played well. We bent but never broke. They moved the ball effectively in the first half, but once they got in the red zone, we held them. We held them to a field goal in the first half and I'm just real pleased with the overall effort of the football team,” Brossart said.
Before halftime, Zajac busted a 40-yarder after getting the hand-off and evading three ankle tackles as he moved down the sideline. Not normally a breakaway kind of player, Zajac showed an impressive ability to stay on his feet in a variety of ways.
After halftime, Moore zipped a pass across the field to Zajac that narrowly missed the defender's hands. Once Zajac caught it though, he found room down the sideline for a 27-yard touchdown catch.
Meanwhile, Simon Kenton continued to not find any groove offensively. Branden Johnson was his typically impressive self as he and his mates clogged all running lanes. The dynamo at wide receiver for the Pioneers, Logan Winkler, was not able to free himself for the long yards-after-catch plays that he's known for. The Colonels defense tackled extremely well throughout the night and limited Winkler to a very pedestrian game.
If the Zajac touchdown catch wasn't the back-breaker, than the 86-yard fumble return he had for a score in the third quarter certainly was. Zajac scooped it up, broke a tackle, stiff-armed someone to the ground, broke some more tackles and rambled his way all the way to the end zone, putting his team up 36-3 and wresting control of the district from the previously firm Pioneer grip.
“Luke Zajac is the heart and soul of this football team. In my opinion, he's the toughest kid in Northern Kentucky. His heart is so big and I am just really proud of him. He deserved that touchdown,” Brossart said of the scoop and score.
If Dixie (7-1) beats Ryle on the road next week, they will have won the district and earn a home playoff game, but Coach Brossart is not counting his chickens just yet.
“Ryle is an improved football team and I just told the kids in the post-game that we can't fall into the trap of thinking we're going to win that game because we're 7-1. Ryle's going to bring it.”
Simon Kenton (8-1) finishes their regular season by hosting Bullitt Central next week.
Story & photos by Bryan Burke, associate editor
Other local scores courtesy of NKY Sports
Beechwood 62, Dayton 0
Highlands 36, Holmes 0
South Oldham 17, Scott 6
Ryle 21, Campbell 14 (F/OT)
Walton Verona 56, Trimble Co. 7
Conner 32, Grant Co. 20