Friday Night Preview: Bellevue-Dayton Rivalry is Kentucky's Most Played
A preview of Friday night's high school gridiron action from RCN's Bryan Burke:
Dayton (2-6) at Bellevue (5-4) Class 1A District 3
No two teams have played each other more often than Dayton and Bellevue in the state of Kentucky. This year's Battle for the Paddle will be the 135th game between the neighboring rivals. Since 2007, the winner of the game receives a paddle with the results of the previous outcomes engraved in the wood. Bellevue has won the last six regular-season games and seven overall including postseason.
Bellevue won an important game over Ludlow last Thursday to even their district record to 1-1. If Bellevue can beat Dayton and Beechwood can beat Ludlow, Bellevue will have second place in the district. The Tigers have won four of their last five games, but were beaten badly at Beechwood in the rain two weeks ago. They edged out Ludlow, 20-14, last Friday night and need to head into postseason play with momentum on their side. Tigers quarterback Tate Grainger needs just 142 yards passing to go over 2,000 on the season. Grainger has also thrown for 22 touchdowns in 2014.
Dayton on the other hand, has had a forgettable season, sporting a 2-6 record on the year and having lost six of their last seven. The misery for the Greendevils came to a head last week at home where they lost to Beechwood. 62-0.
Beechwood (6-2) at Ludlow (5-3) Class 1A District 3
Beechwood has put itself in the drivers seat of the district after hammering both Bellevue and Dayton in consecutive weeks. The Tigers have not lost a regular-season district game in at least six seasons and have gained steam this season winning six straight games.
Ludlow has put together a nice season, but the loss last week to Bellevue made any chance of winning the district very difficult indeed. Before that loss, however, they had won three in a row. An upset over Beechwood on their own turf would be immense for the Panthers' season. To do that, they will have to match the physical intensity that Beechwood brings to the table.
Newport Central Catholic (4-4) at Holy Cross (1-7) (Thursday) Class 2A District 6
The tale of two halves continues this season for New Cath as they have now won three straight after losing their first four to larger schools. The Thoroughbreds showed their quick-strike capabilities last week against Brossart as they scored the games 36 points in the first 12 minutes on their way to a shutout. With a win, they will have swept their district, winning all four match ups.
The Indians, on the other hand, hope to finish the year with some kind of positive. Even remaining competitive for decent stretches against two quality opponents left on the schedule would go a long way for the young team's confidence looking ahead to next year.
Lloyd (7-1) at Newport (4-4) Class 2A District 6
Newport shook off their tough loss to New Cath two weeks ago, by pummeling Holy Cross, 51-6, last Friday night. Quarterback Paul Price has put together a balanced year with 600 yards rushing and and 837 passing, including 12 passing touchdowns with only five interceptions. The Wildcats have admirably waded through a tough schedule this season, exemplified by close scores in the three of their four losses. A win over an explosive Lloyd team could become the Wildcats marquee win of the year.
Covington Catholic (3-4) at Holmes (2-6) Class 4A District 4
Cov Cath righted the ship in a big way last week with a 56-0 drubbing over Harrison County. This coming off the heals of a three-game losing streak that made the Colonels and their fans angry. Despite the mid-season setbacks though, the Colonels have a chance to make it a winning season with wins over the Bulldogs and Conner on the road.
Holmes has not put together the kind of year coach Ben Nevels had hoped for, finding it extremely difficult to score points. The Bulldog defense has played relatively well despite all the losing, but they face a speedy and well-orchestrated passing attack against the Colonels. If the Bulldogs want to hang around in this game, they must tackle well.
Scott (5-2) at Conner (3-4) Class 5A District 4
Scott has found it to be tough sledding in their own district. After going perfect against non-district rivals, the Eagles have fallen to both Cooper and South Oldham this month, After traveling a good distance and falling short in a hard-fought, 17-6, loss to South Oldham, it will be interesting to see how Dan Woolley's team can respond going on the road in the district again on Friday.