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Preview: NKY High School Football Playoffs

At long last, the high school football postseason is here and the round-one matchups have all been set.

Every team in Kentucky makes the playoffs. Even a winless Boone County team has the opportunity to make a postseason run, though their first-round opponent Ryle has a lot to say about that possibility.

Listen to RCN's Bryan Burke talk about the upcoming playoffs with Enquirer contributor Rick Broering:

There are situations where a sports structure like this may not make the most sense. Home playoff games are intended to award the top two teams from each district. In Campbell County’s case, the Camels only managed one win in the regular season, but because Boone County had one less win than that and the district is a three-team grouping, the Camels get a home game at 1-9.

Meanwhile, a very quality team like Conner (7-3), is the team that must play at Campbell County despite having six more regular season wins, because the Cougars finished behind Cooper and Ryle in the district standings.

Other oddities present themselves this time of year.

Covington Catholic finished the year at 3-7—a season outcome Colonels fans are not accustomed to—but they too get a home playoff game. The thing is, the games must be played at the same time on Friday night to keep any team from having the unfair advantage of an extra day before the next round. That means that Cov Cath is the home team on Friday night when they play Anderson County, though the game will be played at Dixie Heights High School instead of in Park Hills where there are no lights yet.

Typically in this setting, for the first round, the middle of the pack games tend to be better pairings. In Class 1A—the smallest schools—Ludlow (6-4) hosts Kentucky Country Day (5-5) in what could be a defensive test for the Panthers. Ludlow has quietly put together a nice season under coach Ron Turner this year, but KCD can put up a lot of points and this could be a test defensively for the Panthers. Even in their losses, KCD has not scored less than 18 points all season.

Another interesting matchup could be Holy Cross (5-5) traveling to Owen County (6-4). The Indians have worked hard to build their program back to respectability and now have a bruising tandem of ball carriers in juniors Xavier Abernathy and Derrick Barnes who can wear down defenses quickly with their power running style. If Holy Cross can pull out the road win, and New Cath (5-5) can topple Gallatin County (4-6), New Cath would then host Holy Cross in the second round in a rematch of the 20-13 New Cath win earlier in the season.

Other local teams that should move on and extend their season another week, Scott hosts Rowan County in the Class 4A bracket. The Eagles had won their last five games before losing to top-ranked Simon Kenton in the final regular season game. SK starts their mission to the championship beginning with (Louisville) Butler at home.

Playoff Games for NKY Teams:

Class 1A

Kentucky Country Day at Ludlow

Eminence at Beechwood

Raceland at Brossart

Bellevue at Frankfort

Dayton at Holy Cross (Louisville)

Class 2A

Gallatin County at Newport Central Catholic

Holy Cross at Owen County

Newport at Walton Verona

Carroll County at Lloyd

Class 4A

Rowan at Scott

Holmes at Johnson Central

Class 5A

Woodford at Highlands

Anderson County vs Covington Catholic (at Dixie)

Dixie at Montgomery

Class 6A

Conner at Campbell County

Butler at Simon Kenton

Boone County at Ryle

Seneca at Cooper

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo by RCN's Brian Frey

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