NKY Football: Scott, New Cath, Cov Cath, Beechwood, SK, Walton Advance
The second round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Commonwealth Gridiron Brown is in the past, and just six Northern Kentucky teams remain standing across all six classes.
In Class 1A, Newport Central Catholic put away Ludlow; In Class 2A, Beechwood and Walton-Verona advanced; in Class 4A, Scott upended Holmes to move on to week three; Covington Catholic stayed unbeaten in Class 5A; and Simon Kenton is still alive in Class 6A.
RCN contributor Jason Finnell has a full recap from New Cath's win over Ludlow while RCN photographer Brian Frey produced a slideshow from the Scott-Holmes game. Those, along with the full NKY scoreboard, are below.
Newport Central Catholic trailed Ludlow in total offense by 110 yards (315 to 205) and the Panthers ran 27 more plays than the Thoroughbreds. But in the column that counts, NewCath easily defeated Ludlow, 40-20, Friday evening at Newport Stadium to win the district four championship and advance to the third round of the 1A playoffs.
The Thoroughbreds were off to the races early after an 18-yard touchdown run by senior running back Luke Landrum put NewCath up 7-0 barely a minute into the game. After the Panthers gave the ball back, the ‘Breds found the end zone again, this time on a 22-yard scoring play from Paul Kremer to Cody Mueller. Things went from bad to worse for the Panthers as the second quarter began and NewCath increased its lead further. Only 20 seconds had ticked off the clock when Jamir Ackerson outran Panthers’ defenders across the goal line for another ‘Breds touchdown and a 21-0 lead. Then it was NewCath’s defense adding to the scoreboard, as Panthers’ quarterback Ian Vallandingham was intercepted by Joey Runyon deep within their own territory and Runyon found a seal down the left sideline nearly untouched for a 27-0 NewCath lead with still over eight minutes remaining in the first half. On Ludlow’s ensuing possession, Nick Tackett lost the handle on a pass in the flat near the line of scrimmage. After a scramble for the ball in which it squirted away from each team once, the Thoroughbreds came out of the scrum with possession. However, upon further review by the referees, it was decided Tackett’s contact with the football was not behind the line of scrimmage, making the second down call an incomplete pass. The Panthers successfully took advantage of the reversal and advanced down the field on a 14-yard run by Cody Kramer and 10-yard scramble by Vallandingham. But a personal foul penalty pushed Ludlow backward. Then on fourth-and-15 near midfield, Vallandingham was sacked by Thoroughbreds linebacker Landen Davis. NewCath capitalized on an additional Panthers penalty – this time, roughing the passer – on its next drive and turned it into more points. Joe Doeker’s run from five yards out put the ‘Breds ahead 34-0 into the break. “The key for us was to get the clock going so we could get our guys out and give them a rest and we were able to do that,” Head Coach Stephen Lickert said.
Ludlow picked up where it left off with penalties to begin the third quarter, putting itself inside its own 10-yard line after a holding call on the kickoff. Vallandingham gave his team some breathing room with a 13-yard keeper up the middle to the 37, but the ensuing play lost seven, followed by another holding penalty. When the Panthers held Doeker to six yards when the ‘Breds needed 16, the running back’s facemask was pulled, giving NewCath an automatic first down. With an opportunity to continue its drive, Kremer found Mueller wide open in the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown. NewCath increased its lead to 40 and induced a running clock. As the Thoroughbreds’ starters exited the game, Ludlow began to gain significant yardage on its possessions. Braxton Newborn found a crease down the left sideline for a 24-yard gain into NewCath territory on the Panthers second down play, which was its biggest of the game to that point. Vallandingham and Kramer, respectively, followed Newborn’s run with 14-yard gains of their own. Kramer added an additional 14-yarder to place the Panthers at the ‘Breds eight-yard line. With time winding down on the third quarter, Ludlow quick-snapped NewCath on first-and-goal and Kramer put the Panthers on the board with an eight-yard score. The Thoroughbreds went three-and-out on their next possession and Ludlow’s Vallandingham called his own number around the right-side racing 53 yards for the Panthers score and cutting the deficit to 40-14, after a successful two-point conversion pass to Newborn. With 5:41 to play and lining up in punt formation for only the second time on the night, ‘Breds punter Caden Caraway’s attempt was blocked and recovered by Nathan Anderson and the defensive lineman returned it to cut the NewCath lead in half, 40-20. Ludlow ends its season at 8-4 while the Thoroughbreds (10-2) advance to the third round of the state playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons, however, its first under the 1A classification. Louisville Holy Cross will be the opponent.
Beechwood is on to the third round of the playoffs in its first season in Class 2A. The Tigers doubled-up Newport in Ft. Mitchell on Friday night and will have home-field advantage next week when West Carter (9-3) comes to town. Beechwood is 7-5. Newport finishes the season at 8-4.
Owen Co. 20
The Bearcats put away Owen Co. at home on Friday, but will hit the road next week for round-three. Walton-Verona (8-4) travels to unbeaten Breathitt Co. (12-0) next Friday.
Note: If Beechwood and Walton-Verona win their games next Friday, they will play each other in the semifinals the following week.
Covington Catholic 38
The Colonels are still unbeaten after easily dispatching Conner in Park Hills on Friday night. Covington Catholic (12-0) hosts Madison Southern next week in round-three.
Dixie Heights 17
Simon Kenton 41
The Pioneers ended Dixie's season at 5-7. Simon Kenton improved to 8-4 and will travel to Tates Creek (8-4) next week in round-three.