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NKY High School Football: Week 7 Results

Week 7 of high school football is in the books.

RCN's Jason Finnell and Brian Frey were at the Newport-Bellevue game for this recap and photo series. The full scoreboard follows the article (if the scoreboard displays Saturday scores, simply click on the back-arrow on the scoreboard widget to see Friday's games.)

Penalties were an Achilles’ heel to the Newport Wildcats on Friday evening vs. Bellevue, but they overcame them to just enough to pull out a 35-25 victory at Gilligan Stadium heading into district play next week as the calendar turns to October and each game’s importance grows.

In the opening quarter, Wildcats’ sophomore running back James Martin plunged in the end zone from a few yards out to begin the scoring for Newport, as it took an early 6-0 lead. Senior quarterback Charlie Schreiber countered for Bellevue to begin the second, as he found the corner past Newport defenders and the game was knotted at 6, following the Tigers’ missed extra point.

Junior cornerback Gunner Barnes snuffed out the Wildcats’ ensuing drive, picking off Newport quarterback Kaleal Davis in the end zone, creating a touch back. Barnes would be on the receiving end of the second Tigers’ scoring opportunity a few plays later. Senior running back Will Ryan carried much of the load for the drive that covered 80 yards for Bellevue, culminating in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Schreiber to a wide-open Barnes, who stood uncovered near the Wildcats’ 15, and the Tigers’ led 13-6 midway through the second quarter. However, Newport struck quickly. On first-and-10 on its own 47, Martin’s 53-yard TD run, and successful two-point conversion try on Zach Wilson’s diving catch in the end zone, put the Wildcats back in front, 14-13. After Bellevue’s possession ended following Schreiber’s incomplete pass to Daniel Hill on fourth down, Davis and the Wildcats were looking for more. The junior found receiver Giante Jackson for an 18-yard gain to the Tigers’ 37. Samari Miller kept the drive alive down to the 23 with a 12-yard reception and a first down. Davis looked Miller’s way again on the ensuing play, lofting a pass into the right corner of the end zone into Miller’s hands for a touchdown and 20-13 lead going into halftime. Bellevue then elected to take the seven-point deficit into halftime as it knelt on the ball to run out the clock.

The teams’ traded interceptions on their initial third quarter possessions: First, the Tigers’ lined up in punt formation, only to snap the ball to Will Ryan and his pass was picked by Newport’s Wilson near midfield. Following his return to the Bellevue 27-yard line, Davis’ first down pass to the end zone fell through Simon Keating’s fingers. Scrambling out of the pocket two plays later, Davis’ pass to the left sideline was intercepted. However, the Tigers’ ensuing possession ended in a punt and Davis was let off the hook. The quarter came to an end with the margin still 20-13.

But to begin the fourth, Davis and the Wildcats had momentum. On third down inside the Tigers’ 20, Davis found Wilson for a 10-yard score and 27-13 lead. Schreiber was then intercepted on his initial pass of the Tigers’ ensuing possession by Cody Kirkpatrick. But in his attempt for a few extra yards on Newport’s first down play, Wilson fumbled the ball back to Bellevue. Then, Barnes put the Tigers on the board for the first time since the second quarter with a 12-yard catch but the extra point missed wide left, leaving Bellevue with a 27-19 deficit.

Martin’s 14-yard carry put Newport in good field position near midfield to begin its next drive, but the run was nullified by a holding penalty – a common theme that dogged the Wildcats all game long. For Newport Head Coach Joseph Wynn, they can ill afford the types of mistakes his team made Friday night if it wants to win next week, he said. “There are situations where we have to be mentally tougher and not let the opponent dictate what we do. A lot of dumb penalties tonight that cost us some yardage and really gave them the ball to go score again. We have to be better at what we do. A lot of teams are going to test us…We have to be mentally tougher.”

Wynn’s Wildcats bounced back from the penalty with Martin. His 51-yard run through the left side put the game out of reach for Bellevue halfway through the final quarter. Two plays later, Davis rolled to his right and found receiver Cameron Craig in the corner for a two-yard score and 35-19 advantage following a successful two-point try.

But the penalty bug bit Newport once again. What would’ve been a harmless incomplete pass on second down, turned into an automatic first down for the Tigers following a defensive holding call. With a fresh set of downs, Bellevue capitalized with a seven-yard touchdown run from Schreiber to pull within 10, 35-25, with 3:57 left to play. The Wildcats recovered the onside kick, but a 15-yard personal foul negated a Martin 20-yard run. The Tigers returned the favor with an offsides penalty of their own and Martin’s four-yard gain followed by a seven-yard keeper from Davis and the Wildcats ran out the clock – aided by another Tigers’ offsides penalty.

“We play Lloyd next week and our drive to become district champions starts next week. We can beat Lloyd but if we come out and do what we did tonight and play some of that dumb football, we’re not going to beat Lloyd. But if we play smart football and do Newport football and worry about us and do the rest we’ll win the game,” Wynn said.

Newport (4-2) travels to 4-2 Lloyd for its first district matchup at 7:00p.m. on October 5. Bellevue (4-2) looks to bounce back against district opponent, Beechwood (4-2), on Thursday, October 4, in Fort Mitchell, at 7:30p.m.

Story by Jason Finnell, photos by Brian Frey

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