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Dan Weber's Just Sayin': Cov Cath/Beechwood; Y'alls Playoffs

Dan Weber writes a sports column for The River City News. You can contact him at dweber3440@aol.com.

You know they're pretty serious about their Tiger team here in Ft. Mitchell when the sweet little white-haired, grandmotherly lady who just beat you to the tomatoes in the produce section of the Kroger's Marketplace is doing so in her bright red Beechwood Tigers sweat pants (paw print logo and everything).

Friday night, many of these Ft. Mitchell fans will be heading from their homes with the Beechwood Tiger signs in the front yard and fighting for parking spots right behind Kroger's before filing into Edgar McNabb Stadium hoping to end the six-game win streak Covington Catholic is enjoying under Eddie Eviston.

Sure, Beechwood is just a 2A school with its enrollment of 468 boys and girls but as the state's top-ranked 2A AP team, it brings a spotless 4-0 resume that, until last week's 49-21 win over Simon Kenton, hadn't given up a point, posting a 133-0 scoring edge its first three games.

With super-senior quarterback Cameron Hergott, Kentucky's returning Mr. Football, back for an additional final season, the Tigers have been pretty much unchallenged. And now for the 41st time here in this backyard brawl, here come the 2-2 Colonels from down the DIxie Highway next door. To be honest, if they wanted to, CovCath, with its enrollment of 545 boys, could hoof it – or at the very least ride their bikes to Ft. Mitchell from Park Hills for the game.

If truth be told, the 5A Colonels have faced a far more challenging schedule with a trip to Cincinnati Elder to open before a visit from Lexington Catholic two weeks ago accounting for their two losses. Both are superior to anything Beechwood has faced.

But Beechwood has been so dominant, the experts are mostly picking the Tigers.

Which is what makes this game so intriguing in the series CovCath leads 25-15. While Beechwood has its quarterback. CovCath is looking for its guy with newcomers Adam Holtz and Preston Agee sharing snaps at times with Holtz hitting on just 50 percent of his 60 passes for 374 yards with six interceptions against four touchdown passes.

Hergott meanwhile has been able to pass it when he wanted, throwing for 770 yards and eight TDs with no interceptions on 38 of 55 (a mere 13.7 passes a game). In fact, he’s run the ball almost as much as he's passed it, carrying it 36 times for 491 yards and seven TDs. Do the math and that's 192.5 yards a game rushing with 122.8 yards passing -- and a combined 15 TDs (3.75 a game). For just one guy.

Although that guy is Mr. Football.

Which is what makes this game so special. Cov Cath’s Eviston knew he was going to have to replace 27 departed seniors and with the schedule is clearly hoping to bring them on in a hurry. Or at least by Friday night.

The great thing about this game is that because the two programs are in different classes, in four different seasons -- 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2017 -- both teams went on from this game no matter who won to take state titles in the postseason.

And while two of Cov Cath's eight state championships have come in the last 15 years, six of Beechwood's 15 have come in that time frame. And all have come under Noel Rash, whose state championship game record with the Tigers is 6-1. Cov Cath's Eviston, who won two titles at Newport Central Catholic, is 4-1 in state championship games.

So get there early Friday. Find a place to park and enjoy how this plays out. Cov Cath will have to show that these Colonels are coming of age and their diverse run game can get it done against what has been a dominant Beechwood defense.

Beechwood will need to show that this year is different from the past six, in five of which, Cov Cath romped by an average score of 46.5-10.8. That it'll be much more like last year when the Colonels escaped 19-17.

Should be fun . . . JUST SAYIN'.

*** 50 YEARS, REALLY?

We're hearing that the celebration for the half-century of basketball at NKU has been put on hold for now as a result of Covid. Not that it's been completely canceled but just on a pause with the hope that there can still be a way -- and a time -- to honor the Norse anniversary this season . . . And when they do, no one will be more deserving of the spotlight for his 50th year of service than Rick Meyers, who started out as a student assistant in my sports information office in 1972 doing a little bit of everything and went on to become the first-full-time sports information director and then university relations while also handling the publicity duties for the Great Lakes Valley Conference before retiring as Assistant Vice-President for Marketing and Communications. An NKU Athletic Hall of Famer since 2014 and the GLVC Hall of Famer since 2009, Rick will be starting his 50th year as official scorer for the Norse this fall. Hard to believe. Rick still looks like that youngster from St. Thomas who just wanted to help out his school – only without the beard . . . JUST SAYIN'.

*** NLI at NKU?

Well you can't say the Norse are missing out on all the big Name, Likeness and Image moves the NCAA – and the courts -- are now permitting in college sports. The folks at Fort Thomas Matters, in a first of its kind for NKU, have inked hometown kid and incoming NKU freshman Sam Vinson for a career-long spot endorsing their digital platform. Now this won’t be one of those seven-figure deals we’re hearing are coming in some places, or even the $15,000 appearance fees SEC football guys are getting for lending their names, likenesses and images to commercial ventures. Vinson who led Highlands to the Kentucky state title last March as Kentucky’s Gatorade Player of the Year, “will work with us over the next year to provide exclusive interviews and original content over the next 12 months,” said FTM publisher Mark Collier. “We're going to be able to help Sam Vinson grow his personal platforms to accelerate more opportunities for him. Our expectation is that Sam will excel on the court with NKU and we'll be able to help grow his brands so that he's got a nice launching pad into the next level of his career.” Nice job everybody here . . . JUST SAYIN’. 

*** FLORENCE Y'ALLS . . . Y'ALL

If you haven't had your fill of sports this weekend – baseball or football - you might consider the Frontier League playoffs and a trip to Florence where the Y’alls host the Schaumburg (Illinois) Boomers in a potential three-game finish for a five-game series tied at one game apiece. Always fun at a Y’alls game and these actually matter. Friday and Saturday nights they go at 7, then if necessary, it’s at 5 Sunday. Also Friday – fireworks. Hard to beat hometown minor league baseball. And if you haven’t been there, Y’alls Park is a great place to spend an evening . . . JUST SAYIN’.  

-- Dan Weber

Photo: Beechwood hosts Breathitt Co. in Dec. 2020 (RCN file)