Playoff Showdowns Set: Newport Vs. New Cath, Highlands Vs. Cov Cath, Dixie Vs. Simon Kenton
Friday night's second round of the high school football playoffs has set up some big rivalry games for next week.
Highlands will meet Covington Catholic. Newport faces Newport Central Catholic. Dixie Heights takes on Simon Kenton.
How did they get there?
The River City News's Bryan Burke, Brian Frey, and Jason Finnell hit up some of the games and have these results.
Newport 37, Walton 36 (OT)
Down by a point in overtime to Walton Verona, and with the season on the line, Newport head coach Matt Schmitz rolled the dice and went for two instead of kicking the extra point that would have extended the game.
“I put it in my guy's hands. That's a good bet, I'll take that bet any time and he did it,” Schmitz said.
His guy, senior quarterback Paul Price, took the shotgun snap and rolled into the end zone, getting the winning two-point conversion, 37-36, and giving the Wildcats another shot at their crosstown rivals, Newport Central Catholic, in the next round.
“In my mind, I knew I was going to score,” Price said after the game. “I had confidence in my offensive line and my team and I just knew that we were going to win.”
The contest was a thriller and felt almost like a basketball game the way the two teams made spirited second-half runs to force overtime.
With the score tied at 14 apiece at the half, Newport came out of the locker room the strongest as they put up 15 points in the third quarter. The first touchdown was a catch by running back Dominic Joseph on a slant pattern in the end zone. After forcing a turnover on downs on the next possession, Newport scored again, this time on a short run by Tyree Bolden, making the score 29-14.
The game then became chippy as both sides were flagged for multiple unsportsmanlike conduct and personal foul penalties. Late in the third quarter, the game looked nearly over.
The Bearcats caught fire in the fourth, though, and rallied all the way back to tie the game late, capped off by a tense two-point conversion by Will Latimore to even the score.
Newport got the ball back in the fourth quarter and with the score tied, but was unable to get a first down despite starting in excellent field position on a good return by Brian Burton. Defensive end Kameron Covington then lined up on fourth down and punted a beautiful ball, pinning the Bearcats on the one with less than a minute left to play.
Two plays later, it appeared that the unthinkable had happened to the Wildcats as Latimore took a handoff and got free to the outside, running past the entire Newport defense and on his way to a 97-yard playoff game-winning score. The Walton Verona fans went nuts, but only briefly, because, lo and behold, a penalty flag had been thrown all the way back at the line of scrimmage for a holding call. Latimore was momentarily crushed as he sat with his helmet off for the last few plays of regulation. It was Latimore's second long touchdown run called back because of a penalty on the day.
Coach Schmitz strongly believes that the only thing that can stop his players are themselves and it has showed during these playoffs.
“Like I've told you all along, it's not about who we play, it's about us,” he said.
In high-school playoff overtime, each team gets the ball at the opposing 10-yard line. If the score remains tied after each team has had possession, another overtime is played the same way.
Walton Verona got the ball first and scored right off the bat on their first play with a Latimore run to the right, where he cut back and reached the ball across the line as he was tackled.
Newport came right back and scored on their first play too, setting up the do-or-die two-point conversion moment. As the Wildcat players trotted back onto the field to attempt the conversion, they looked confident, dancing around and waving their arms. When Price coasted in to score the game-winner, it looked easy.
“Our team is confidence because we love each other. We're family, we're brothers,” Price said.
The Wildcats want payback on New Cath after losing a similarly close game to them in Week 7, 22-17. They have earned their chance for a repeat showdown next Friday night.
Newport Central Catholic 39, Lloyd 17
The Thoroughbreds continued their resurgence in the second half of the season after losing their first four games.
Lloyd came in with the better record, at 8-3, but New Cath was one of the Juggernauts' losses, a 28-0 shellacking earlier in the season. Lloyd struck early this time, scoring on its first two drives and taking a 10-0 lead.
From then on, it was all New Cath, though, and the 'Breds took a 19-10 lead to the locker room at halftime. Lloyd struggled to move the ball and suffered from several costly penalties that ended in punts.
New Cath answered with two more touchdowns, pulling away and winning by 22.
Dixie 46, Ryle 21
Addressing his team on the field after dominating Ryle 46-21 Friday night, Dixie Heights Head Coach Dave Brossart told his team they had a chance to do something special: Host a third round playoff game on its home turf. While it may be unfamiliar territory for the Colonels, their opponent is not – Simon Kenton, a team they defeated in week eight.