Week 2 takeaways in high school football for Cincinnati and NKY


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Sports reporters Shelby Dermer, Luke Feliciano and Alex Harrison break down the highlights of Ohio and Northern Kentucky Week 2 action.
Luke Feliciano, Cincinnati Enquirer

Here’s a rundown of the top storylines from Week 2 of high school football in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

ST X WINS BIG IN SHOWDOWN: Greater Cincinnati’s biggest Week 2 contest took place on Cheviot Road, where St. Xavier met Colerain in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown. Thanks to three touchdown tosses from quarterback Matthew Rueve to Marshall Long, the Bombers escaped enemy territory with a 21-14 victory to spoil Shawn Cutright’s home debut. St. Xavier has now won three of its last four against Colerain on the road. 

BOLDEN NOTCHES NO. 1: After accumulating 142 victories as the longtime head coach at Colerain, first-year Lakota West head coach Tom Bolden dropped a 31-7 decision in his Firebirds debut. But in West Chester Friday night, Bolden rose victorious in his home debut as running back David Afari and quarterback Caleb Rao combined for 213 rushing yards and three scores in a 30-15 thumping of Centerville.  

FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS FOR HAMILTON, TALWANDA: In 2018, a one-point victory over Middletown saved Hamilton from an 0-10 season. However, the Big Blue were outscored 302-143 and landed firmly in the Greater Miami Conference cellar. On Friday under Hamilton alum and first-year coach Nate Mahon, the Big Blue moved to 2-0 thanks to a four-touchdown performance from running back Keyshawn Stephens in a 28-14 victory over Anderson. The real tests will come in the next two weeks, when Hamilton, which has not made the playoffs since 2010, begins its conference slate against Lakota West and Fairfield, respectively. 

Another squad soaring to new heights under a first-year coach is Talawanda, which has matched its 2018 win total through two weeks under Larry Cox. The Braves were consistent on the ground (49 attempts for 204 yards and three TDs) and forced a pair of turnovers in their 24-17 triumph over visiting Badin to move to 2-0. Talawanda heads to Eaton (0-2) next week in search of its first 3-0 start this century. 

THE COREY KINER SHOW: Roger Bacon played in a new stadium in its 2019 home-opener Friday night, but there was still a degree of regularity at Bron Bacevich Memorial Stadium as spectators bought a ticket to the Corey Kiner Show. The highly-touted junior running back, who has offers from Ohio State and Michigan, ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns in the Spartans’ 41-14 victory over Newport Central Catholic. He added three catches for 80 yards as Roger Bacon moved to 2-0 in its first season in the Miami Valley Conference. 

TROJANS STAY UNBEATEN: Despite just 176 total yards of offense, East Central did enough down the stretch to squeeze out a 10-7 overtime victory over visiting Harrison to improve to 3-0. After being shutout for nearly 44 minutes, the Trojans tied the game late in the fourth quarter on Devon Donaworth’s 15-yard touchdown run. In overtime, Sophie Browndyke nailed the game-winner from 21 yards out. 

STATE CHAMP UPDATE: Taft was one of the few teams to give Wyoming a run for its money during the Cowboys’ quest to perfection, a 14-12 decision at the old Stargel Stadium. Friday’s matchup on Pendery Avenue was a defensive struggle at the half with Wyoming leading 7-0, but Evan Prater’s pair of second-half touchdowns led to a 28-0 victory and pushed the Cowboys regular-season winning streak to 33. 

RESILIENT PANTHERS BATTLE BACK AT THE PIT: Elder trailed, 31-28, in the game’s final seconds Friday night at The Pit against Indianapolis Cathedral. But quarterback Matthew Luebbe did enough on Elder’s final drive of regulation to setup Sam Harmeyer’s 33-yard field goal to force OT. In the extra period, Luebbe’s third rushing touchdown of the night was enough to push the Panthers to a 38-31 victory in a second-straight thrilling victory over the Irish. 

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Northern Kentucky

MR. FOOTBALL CANDIDATES STATE THEIR CASES: The instant classic in Park Hills between Covington Catholic and Lexington Catholic, with CovCath winning 39-38 was not only about two teams hoping to win state championships in December in different classes. It was also a showcase of two of the top players in the state.

Michael Mayer, a Covington Catholic senior headed to Notre Dame; and Lexington Catholic senior Beau Allen, a quarterback headed to the UK Wildcats, put on a show and did everything they could to help their teams win.

Allen, considered the favorite for Mr. Football because QBs and UK commits tend to get more votes, lit up the scoreboard by completing 23 of 33 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns. He continually kept CovCath off balance, constantly spreading the ball around to different targets and zones on the field. He completed passes to 10 different players, and four caught touchdowns.

While Mayer’s performance wasn’t nearly as flashy as Allen’s, he helped the Colonels win in a variety of ways.

He caught six passes for 71 yards, including one on CovCath’s last drive to help run out the clock. He had one rush for five yards. On defense, he had seven tackles and one sack, which was a strip-sack that forced a fumble from Allen at a key point in the first half when the Colonels were fighting to stay in the game.

Finally, Mayer threw the lead block on Daniel Felix’s two-point conversion run that put the Colonels ahead to stay at 39-38 with 2:52 left in the game.

CovCath senior Michael Mayer gets his hands on LexCath senior QB Beau Allen and forces a fumble that CovCath would recover as Covington Catholic defeated Lexington Catholic 39-38 in football September 6, 2019 at Covington Catholic HS. (Photo: JAMES WEBER/THE ENQUIRER)

NEW COLONELS STEP OUT: CovCath’s win was also a showcase for newer players who are starting to step up and gain the spotlight. Senior Daniel Felix rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown and had a 29-yard touchdown catch that was a highlight-reel run, plus the winning two-pointer. He also led on defense with 12 tackles and three sacks.

On the ground, Michael Boydston had 65 rushing yards on eight carries, plus two big kick returns. Owen Nally had 36 rushing yards and a touchdown. Andy Molique had 105 receiving yards on five catches.

WILDCATS IN RARE AIR: Newport is 3-0 for the first time since 1999 after routing Carroll County 42-0. Newport was 6-0 that season and 9-2 overall.

Newport out-gained the Panthers 371-76. Newport had 259 passing yards on six completions, three of them to Simon Keating for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Sanders had three sacks. Newport is heavily favored to beat Bracken County next week.

LLOYD ENDS REBELS’ STREAK: Lloyd beat Boone County 22-14, improving to 2-1 and ending Boone’s 2-0 start, which was its best since 2011. Lloyd limited Boone to 114 yards offense and had 277 of its own.

Senior Dakota Thiel continued his outstanding start to the season after converting from quarterback, as the Lloyd senior rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Isaac Abdon had 55 rushing yards and a team-high 10 tackles.

Boone, who had won just six games combined from 2012-18, had been averaging 283 yards rushing in its two wins. Evan Curee and Eli Rossi were both over 200 yards for the season with three touchdowns through two games.

LUDLOW VS . BROSSART: Ludlow and Bishop Brossart will battle for local 1A bragging rights this Friday. It is uncertain whether the game will take place at Brossart’s new Mustang Athletic Complex or not. Both teams are 2-1 after impressive wins Friday. Ludlow routed Gallatin County 47-0, while Brossart rallied to edge Bellevue 27-26. Bellevue honored the 40th anniversary of its 1979 state championship team that night.

BEARCATS OUTCLAW JAGUARS: Walton-Verona rallied late to defeat 5A school North Laurel, 22-21, improving to 2-1 on te season. Travis Brauer posted two touchdowns, the last bringing the winning score with 25 seconds to go. Peyton Smith had a TD rush.. WV hosts a showdown with perennial power Newport Central Catholic this week.

COUGARS FIERCE AGAINST COLONELS: Conner (2-1) dominated Dixie Heights 35-0 on the strength of a dominant game from senior Jared Hicks, who is one of the top returning quarterbacks in Northern Kentucky.

Hicks completed 19 of 26 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for 47 yards and a score. Colton Roy had eight catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Caleb Ervin and Drew Cobble also had productive receiving days. Conner limited Dixie to 206 yards offense as the red Colonels (1-2) were shut out for the second time in three games.

BATTLE OF UNION: As expected, Ryle and Cooper had a defensive struggle in the Union derby. Ryle pulled out the 20-16 win to improve to 2-1. Both teams had less than 200 yards offense. The team’s stars had all the touchdowns, as Cooper’s Jeremiah Lee had 53 rushing yards and two TDs, and Ryle’s Kyle England rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns.

The day after, all-time greats Jake Chisholm (Ryle) and Dante Hendrix (Cooper) faced off in Terre Haute, Indiana as Dayton defeated Indiana State 42-35.

PIONEERS BOUNCE BACK: Simon Kenton earned a split of its back-to-backs with big-school Cincinnati powers by defeating Oak Hills 13-10. SK had lost 44-16 to Anderson last week.

The Pioneers limited the Highlanders to 116 yards offense. Nate Walker and Jake Huff were the leading tacklers, and running back Austin Hammack returned to action with 47 rushing yards and a TD.

HOLMES HAS GOOD START: Holmes improved to 2-1 with a 58-6 rout of Owen County. The Bulldogs have not won more than five games in Ben Nevels’ seven-year tenure, and their last winning season was 2012. Holmes plays at 1A Louisville Holy Cross next week.

SCOTT ROLLS: Scott is 2-1 after a 42-6 win over Holy Cross, highlighted by 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns from newcomer Robert Pence, a senior.


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