4 NKY Teams Have Shot at Football Titles
For four teams in Northern Kentucky, the ultimate prize of a state football title is but two steps away and to reach it, each must first win on Friday before earning an invitation to Bowling Green to play in the championship game.
Listen to RCN's Bryan Burke and Michael Monks preview Friday's games:
Undefeated Simon Kenton headlines the local powerhouse matchups as the Pioneers play host to Lafayette after each team escaped with close wins last week. The Pioneers barely hung on against rival Cooper, 13-12, and Lafayette edged Scott County 36-30 in the regional semifinals game. The 13 points by Simon Kenton was the lowest point total of the year by the Pioneers who are used to putting up 40 points or better in the trusty hands of quarterback Cam Racke and his high-powered offense. The 13 wins for SK is tied for the most in Class 6A with (Louisville) Male. Lafayette is 11-2 and has won eight games in a row. The winner of the SK-Lafayette game will face the winner of Male-Central Hardin for the 6A state championship.
In Class 5A, Highlands looks to win its 25th state title, four of which have come in the last five seasons. No Kentucky team has won more football state titles. The Bluebirds shut down Covington Catholic last week, 44-22, for their 15th straight win over the Colonels, including six straight in the playoffs. Highlands hosts Pulaski County on Friday night. Pulaski County is 12-1, and have 11 wins in a row. The winner will face either (Louisville) Fern Creek or Bowling Green in the finals.
Newport Central Catholic hopes to return to the Class 2A championship game for the fourth year in a row. In the last two championship games, the Thoroughbreds lost to (Louisville) DeSales and the Colts still lurk on the other side of the bracket. A win for both programs would feature the same two teams three straight years. New Cath began the year in their typically slow fashion, going 2-4 in their first six games, but have only lost once since. The 'Breds have scored over 35 points in their three playoff games this season, but to stop their next opponent, Danville, the defense must be prepared for a high-powered attack. Danville has averaged over 50 points during their playoff run and have won 10 straight. The winner will face either DeSales or Mayfield.
Another storied Northern Kentucky football program, Beechwood, also has plans to play in the Class 1A final game and will travel to Russellville to see if they can get back to the big stage. The Tigers have built a tremendous amount of momentum throughout the season, only losing to Cov Cath in Week 4. Last week, Beechwood earned a nice victory over (Louisville) Holy Cross, 21-9. Russellville is certainly no slouch with an 11-2 record, but the Tigers are strong enough to take care of any competitor in their class. Anything other than a championship appearance would likely feel like a disappointment in Beechwood country. The winner will face Pikeville or Paintsville.
Playoff Games Featuring Northern Kentucky Teams:
Pulaski County at Highlands Friday, 3 p.m.
Danville at Newport Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
Lafayette at Simon Kenton, 7:30 p.m.
Beechwood at Russelville, 7 p.m.
-Bryan Burke, associate editor