Preview: Round 2 of the High School Football Playoffs in NKY
The gauntlet gets tougher for local teams as the survivors make their way into the second round of the high-school football playoffs. Only eight games feature Northern Kentucky teams, five of which play head to head matchups.
In case you missed: What happened in the first round of the NKY football playoffs
Perhaps the most intriguing bracket is that in Class 6A which features two rematches of the area’s bigger schools. The undefeated Simon Kenton Pioneers host Ryle for the second time in a month after SK topped the Raiders, 28-7, on October 13.
The winner of that game will play the winner of Conner and Cooper which also played recently. The Jaguars squeaked it out over the Cougars, 15-13, in Week 11.
In addition to beating Ryle, Simon Kenton has also beat both Conner and Cooper this season. If the Pioneers are to reach the semifinals, they will have to vanquish two area teams again to get there.
A similar setting exists in Class 2A with Walton-Verona taking on Lloyd and Holy Cross challenging Newport Central Catholic in the quarterfinal round. The winners will play each other in the next round. New Cath beat Holy Cross earlier in the season, 20-13, while Lloyd took out Walton-Verona, 28-20, in the first week of the season.
In Class 5A, Highlands hosts Dixie and below that game on the bracket is Covington Catholic taking on Madison Southern. While Highlands lost five of their first six games, the Bluebirds righted the ship when they trounced Dixie, 42-7, and then won their next five games in a row. Dixie, on the other hand, is perhaps fortunate to be playing in the second round after only winning two regular season games. Cov Cath has been back and forth in the second half of the season but moved on last week in dominating form, beating Anderson County 47-21.
A Highlands/Cov Cath rematch would mark the sixth season in a row in which the two teams have met in the playoffs. Highlands has won the last five of those games.
Beechwood plays a familiar postseason foe in Frankfort on Friday and hopes to repeat the outcome from last year when they advanced past the Panthers in the quarterfinal. The Tigers have been strong this year, going 10-1 and finishing out the regular season with an impressive win over New Cath. Beechwood has won eight state championships in football and has a real chance of hanging the ninth banner up this winter.
Scott continues its best season ever, advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time. The Eagles lost to Conner by one point early in the season and lost to Simon Kenton at the last game of the regular season. They host Ashland Blazer on Friday night in Class 4A action.
Northern Kentucky Playoff Games:
Conner at Cooper – Class 6A
Ryle at Simon Kenton – Class 6A
Dixie at Highlands – Class 5A
Cov Cath at Madison Southern – Class 5A
Ashland Blazer at Scott – Class 4A
Holy Cross at New Cath – Class 2A
Walton Verona at Lloyd – Class 2A
Frankfort at Beechwood – Class 1A
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor
Photo: Beechwood football team in 2014 (RCN file photo by Brian Frey)