NKY Football: Beechwood, New Cath, Cov Cath March On in Playoffs
As the Kentucky high school football playoffs reach the semifinals, only three Northern Kentucky teams remain in the field of their respective classes.
Newport Central Catholic (1A), Beechwood (2A), and Covington Catholic (5A) were all victorious on Friday night, though Cov Cath's win came in the form of a forfeit by Madison Southern due to COVID-19 protocols.
Walton-Verona (2A) and Dixie Heights (6A) fell on Friday night and saw their seasons end.
RCN contributing reporter Jason Finell and photographer Brian Frey were at the Beechwood-Breathitt Co. game in Ft. Mitchell, and there is a full recap and photo slideshow below. The rest of the local scoreboard is also below.
Cam Hergott and the Beechwood Tigers ran away from Breathitt County on Friday night in Fort Mitchell, 52-7, as the Tigers advanced to the 2A state semifinals. This trip marks the seventh consecutive season Beechwood is a participant in the semifinals outside of 2013, when they were eliminated by longtime nemesis Mayfield in the quarterfinals.
Contrary to the cool, early December evening, the game got off to a blazing start with both teams scoring under a minute into the first quarter. Receiving the opening kickoff, the Tigers’ possession began on its own 37. On their first play from scrimmage, Hergott avoided a near sack, spinning away from pressure and scrambled to his left, finding Brady Moore near the sideline. The junior receiver cut back across the field and into the end zone for a 63-yard catch and score and a 7-0 Tigers’ lead. Then, beginning its drive on the 37, Bobcats quarterback Jaylen Turner raced around the right side past Beechwood defenders 67 yards and after only seconds had ticked off the clock, it was tied at 7. Continuing the game’s torrid scoring pace to that point, Hergott took advantage of a Breathitt Co. facemask penalty which tacked on an additional 15 yards to his second down scramble. At the Bobcats’ 40, Hergott countered with a great run of his own for his first of three touchdowns in the first half. Colin Graman’s extra point made it 14-7 with 9:57 remaining in the quarter. Breathitt’s ensuing driving started well but fizzled. Blake Ritchie caught a wide-open halfback pass before stumbling down at the Beechwood 36-yard line. Turner then found Lane Weddle over the middle for eight yards. Weddle’s carry up the middle put the Bobcats at the Tigers’ 11 but would go no further. On fourth down, Beechwood’s Bo Hughes knocked down Turner’s pass intended for Weddle and the Tigers took over with 98 yards to go. Hergott’s second down run was negated by a holding penalty but Avery Courtney gave the Tigers a new set of downs out to the 35 with a 10-yard run. Hergott then found room on the right side for an additional 30. As the second quarter of play began, Courtney’s nine-yard run up the middle, increased Beechwood’s lead, 21-7, and the Tigers began to pull away, thereafter. The Bobcats were forced to punt on their next possession, giving the Tigers good field position and another opportunity. Hergott’s 20-yard scramble started things off for Beechwood followed by Courtney’s two consecutive runs to place the Tigers’ inside the Bobcats’ 10. One play later, Hergott found Tanner Jackson in the right corner of the end zone for a 28-7 margin. Breathitt was able to piece together a lengthy possession on its next opportunity but was still unable to generate points. With the ball near midfield and time winding down before halftime, Hergott dashed to the end zone for the third time in the half and the Tigers’ led 35-7. But they were not finished. Nearly a minute later, Hergott’s 54-yard scramble added to the sudden blowout margin, 42-7. When the Bobcats’ fourth down gamble deep in their own territory failed, as Colby Vanderpool knocked down the pass attempt, Beechwood was poised to add to their lead once again. Moore’s reception on first down put the Tigers at the Breathitt 13, after being knocked out of bounds. The Bobcats were called for defensive holding on the next play, giving Beechwood the ball and a first down at the six. Liam McCormack’s touchdown reception one play later made it 49-7 at the break.
With the running clock for the entirety of the second half, the Tigers’ tacked on an additional field goal by Graman from 27 yards to cap the scoring and seal a visit to West Carter next Friday night. Beechwood defeated the Comets, 42-7, in last years’ matchup and look to make it two-in-a-row with a state championship birth on the line.
Newport Central Catholic 42
Louisville Holy Cross 21
The Thoroughbreds doubled-up their hosts in Louisville on Friday night and now march on to the semifinals in Class 1A. New Cath (8-2) plays at Paintsville (8-2) next week with a trip to the state championship game on the line. Kentucky Country Day (9-1) and Williamsburg (6-2) face off in the other semifinal.
West Carter 43
Had Walton-Verona pulled off this victory on Friday night, Northern Kentucky would have had an all-local semifinal with the Bearcats facing Beechwood next week. But for Walton, it was not be, as the team was downed on the road and concludes its season at 7-5.
Madison Southern 0
Covington Catholic 1
As announced earlier in the week, Madison Southern was forced to forfeit its quarterfinal game against Covington Catholic due to COVID-19 protocols. Cov Cath (10-1) advances to the semifinals and will host Bowling Green (8-2) in Park Hills in next week's Class 5A semifinal game. Owensboro (11-0) and Frederick Douglass (7-1) play in the other semifinal game.
Dixie Heights 0
Dixie was roughed up on the road at the hands of undefeated Trinity in Louisville. The Colonels finish their season at 6-4.