NKY Football: Beechwood Downs Dixie; Newport Beats Bellevue; Ryle Falls; Full Scoreboard
The River City News's coverage of Northern Kentucky high school football this week includes a column from Dan Weber who was at the Beechwood-Dixie Heights game, photos from RCN photographer Brian Frey who was at the Bellevue-Newport game, and a game report from Jason Finnell who was at the Louisville St. Xavier-Ryle game. The full regional scoreboard is below.
BEECHWOOD 21, DIXIE HEIGHTS 14
Dan Weber writes a sports column for The River City News. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like no one has this season, Dixie Heights Colonels jumped on unbeaten Beechwood from the get-go Friday. They stuffed Mr. Football, Cameron Hergott, twice inside the five-yard line to stymie the defending Class 2A state champs short of the goal line on their first drive.
"They hit us in the mouth on that first possession," Hergott said of the way his Tiger team didn't look quite ready for the physicality that was coming at them early. "That happens . . . but it's the first time it's happened to us.
"I got hit a few times," Hergott said, "It was awesome."
If the start was "awesome," the finish was even better with Dixie Heights riding the gutty athleticism of senior quarterback Logan Landers with just 3:04 left in the game to cut Beechwood's two-touchdown lead to 21-14.
But that was just the setup. With Blake Stouffer recovering Noah Koenig's disputed onside kick (Did it go 10 yards?), Dixie Heights got it as close as the Beechwood 26 with 2:05 left, but a pair of penalties for ineligible receivers downfield stopped the home team in their tracks.
And Beechwood had its 14th straight win and ownership of the Dixie Highway after having beaten Covington Catholic 27-7 two weeks ago.
"We own Dixie," the Beechwood student section chanted, "We own Dixie." Not sure if that was a reference to the highway or the school.
But as physical as this game was, it was hardly one of those ugly neighborhood rivalries. "That's the best team we've seen all year," Dixie Coach David Brossart told his team after the game.
"We knew this wasn't going to be easy," Beechwood Coach Noel Rash said. "They're a very physical team . . . they have as many good players as we do. Ours just made a couple more plays."
After both post-game team meetings, those players and their family and friends were arm-in-arm, with one group of 18 or so with players from both teams posing for a group photo -- one player in Beechwood white, the next in Dixie Heights red -- of all the Villa Hills Spartans pee wee football alumni who had played together in grade school.
One of those was the blonde-haired Landers, singled out by Brossart after the game: "We believe in you," his coach told him with the rest of the Colonels letting him know they did.
And why not. All the quick-armed 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior did was throw for 206 yards including a 35-yard touchdown to Ryan Diltz on 19 of 26 with one clutch throw after another in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we had 'em," Landers said in his matchup with the super-senior Hergott in his extra final season allowed in Kentucky after last year's Covid-limited school year. "He's a great player," he said of Hergott, who came up through the Red Devils pee wee program. "He was great then."
Landers carried the ball 10 times for 36 yards between scrambles and read option keepers. But keeping up with Hergott is easier said than done. All Mr. Football did was throw it for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 11 completions in 12 attempts plus one interception.
But as is often the case, Hergott carried the ball more than he threw it, going for 149 yards on 18 carries with an untouched cutback from the 13 giving Beechwood the winning margin with 5:37 left. Of Beechwood's 38 offensive plays, Hergott either ran it or threw it on 30 of them.
What was so special about that TD run against an obviously tiring Dixie defense? It was the final play of a 99-yard, 10-play drive. Just when it looked like Dixie had pinned Beechwood deep when Parker Mason, who made so many big defensive plays for the Tigers, caught a punt at the goal line and couldn't get loose from the coverage, Hergott took over.
He ran it four times out to the 33, then let Mitch Berger take it for five more, then threw twice for 14 yards and carried it in the final three plays from the 30.
Not his players' fault, Rash said of the slow start. "I'm the worst bye coach in America," he said, taking the blame for not getting his team ready from the start after an open date last week after that CovCath win.
"I'm not disappointed in you at all," Brossart told his Dixie team. "You played hard . . . You're a very, very good 3-3 team . . . Nobody has really outplayed you . . . I want you to re-commit yourselves to this football team . . . We can win out."
Again, that's the beauty here. "This game didn't matter much," Landers said -- OK, except for bragging rights . . . "but we start districts next week." And that does matter for both 6A Dixie and their tough 2A neighbors.
As for the team numbers, 6-0 Beechwood had 343 yards of offense (158 rushing, 185 passing) to 3-3 Dixie's 284 (78 on the ground, 206 in the air).
And now for both teams, they’ll get district games on the road -- Beechwood at Covington Holy Cross next week with Dixie at Simon Kenton.
LOUISVILLE ST. XAVIER 13, RYLE 3
Ryle’s high-flying offense grounded to a halt Friday night in Union, as Louisville St. Xavier held the Raiders out of the end zone for the first time this season, winning a sluggish battle, 13-3.
The Tigers went to their bag of tricks early as a hook-and-ladder play to Zach Marks worked to perfection as the junior wide receiver gained 22 yards and St. Xavier was in business, capitalizing on the Logan Verax interception near midfield that set up the Tigers first scoring opportunity in what turned out to be a game that featured very few of them. DonTre Richardson and Justin Walsh did the rest, splitting carries down to the Raiders two-yard line, when receiver and backup quarterback Adam Boone took the shotgun snap out of the wildcat formation and squeezed his way across the goal line for six. St. Xavier appeared to convert a successful two-point conversion, but it was announced prior to the ensuing kickoff that the points were taken off the board with no further explanation. With 1:21 remaining in the opening quarter, the Tigers led 6-0. Ryle was able to inch closer on its final possession before halftime, capitalizing on starting field position at midfield. On its first play from scrimmage following the St. X punt, Verax found running room down to the Tigers 39 and a new set of downs for the Raiders. A false start penalty followed by a sack threatened to extinguish the drive, however, the offense regrouped out of a timeout and Verax spotted Kaden Gardner for a 13-yard gain to advance inside the Tigers’ 20. But the Raiders faced a fourth-and-four and settled for a 27-yard field goal from Summer Denigan to cut the St. X lead in half, 6-3.
The Tigers and Raiders exchanged punts to begin the third, but its second possession of the quarter would yield St. X all the points it needed on this night of struggling offenses. Mekhi Smith took a jet sweep around the right side to give the Tigers a first down at the Ryle 46. Jack Sivori called his own number up the middle for six additional yards and found Smith again several plays later for 15 and St. X was within striking distance. After Sivori’s carry to give his team first-and-goal at the Raiders’ three, he found a hole through the right side of the line for a ten-point St. X lead, 13-3.
Fireworks that lit up the night sky as Ryle took the field prior to the opening kickoff seemed to be indicative of the type of night it was going to be offensively at Borland Stadium, but it turned out to be anything but for both teams. St. Xavier (5-1) faces DuPont Manual on the road next Friday while Ryle (4-2) travels to face Campbell County, looking to get back into the win column and find its offensive rhythm.
The Wildcats ran up the scoreboard on homecoming night. RCN's Brian Frey has a photo slideshow from this game below. Newport (2-5) hopes to build momentum when Lloyd visits next week. Bellevue (1-5) visits archrival Dayton next week.
Conner racks up its fourth-straight win, this time on the road in Fort Thomas. The Cougars (5-2) host Cooper next Thursday. Highlands, meanwhile, is moving in the opposite direction. After a strong start to the season, the Bluebirds have dropped four-straight games and stand at 3-4 on the year. Next week, Highlands visits Boone Co.
Rowan Co. 14
The Bulldogs saw their three-game win streak snapped on the road. Holmes (4-2) welcomes Boyd Co. to Covington next week.
Harrison Co. 14
The Eagles have now won three consecutive games and stand at 5-2 on the year. Scott is off next week, but hits the road on Oct. 15 at Boyd Co.
Mason Co. 32
Ludlow's woes continue as the Panthers drop their fifth-straight game, falling to 1-5 on the year. Next week, Ludlow visits Newport Central Catholic for a Thursday night date.
Boone Co. 6
Covington Catholic 39
The Colonels are back above .500 with a pair of consecutive wins and now stand at 4-3 on the year. Cov Cath is off next week before heading to Fort Thomas for a date with Highlands on Oct. 15. Boone Co. (3-4) hosts Highlands next week.
Carroll Co. 7
The Bearcats are back above .500 with a record of 4-3. Next Thursday, Walton welcomes Owen Co.
Nicholas Co. 0
Bishop Brossart 14
The Mustangs remain unblemished at 7-0 on the year after Friday night's shutout in Alexandria. Brossart visits Bracken Co. next week.
Montgomery Co. 41
Three straight losses for the Juggernauts has Lloyd at 2-4 on the season. Lloyd visits Newport next week.
Simon Kenton 24
The Pioneers have given up 275 points this season, the most in all of Class 6A. Simon Kenton is now 1-5 on the year and hosts Dixie Heights next week.
Madison (In.) 19
The Jaguars are now 4-2 on the year and next Thursday will visit Conner.
-Scoreboard compiled by Michael Monks, editor & publisher