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When it comes to Class 2A football in Northern Kentucky you can count on getting championship-caliber teams year in and year out. NewCath most often is the team that helps things live up to that billing, but last year it was Holy Cross that represented the area down state in grand fashion.
While NewCath is once again playing at a high level, repeating last year’s success has proven to be a challenge for Holy Cross. Meanwhile, both Walton-Verona and Lloyd have shortened the gap as he team has shown improvement. It all shapes up to an exciting weekend ahead for local high school football fans.
Here is a look at Week 12’s playoff action in NKY Class 2A:
KENTUCKY CLASS 2A
(Lloyd/Walton-Verona Fri; Holy Cross/NewCath Sat.)
#3 Holy Cross (4-7) at #1 NewCath (7-4) - A year ago Holy Cross knocked off NewCath, the defending Class 2A champs, en route to a state title of their own. However, that is the only victory the Indians have had against their district foes in their last 10 meetings dating back to 2006. The Indians have been unable to capture the magic of a year ago after graduating many key contributors for the 2011 team. Holy Cross went 3-2 over their last five games but they were outscored 99-10 in their two losses to NewCath and neighborhood rival, Holmes. Conversely, the Throughbreds enter the contest winners of five straight and six of their last seven contests.
Brady Thacker and Elliott Rust help make up one of Northern Kentucky’s most underrated offensive lines. Senior running back Dylan Hayes played a large hand in the ‘Breds 2010 title and would like to go out with another. He enters this matchup with 49 career touchdowns on offense and 2,845 yards on the ground as a varsity starter. Wide Receiver Mac Franzen has pulled 39 catches from quarterback Josh Cain for 782 yards and four touchdowns. Pete Collopy and Tyler Lyon have combined for 130 tackles to help pace the defense.
Holy Cross has two explosive playmakers in Jalen Beal and Burt Pouncy. Mitch Trail threw for 10 scores, but was also picked off nine teams in the team’s first 10 games. The Indians can move the ball well on the ground, but can’t stop the run on defense, yielding 249 rushing yards per game during the regular-season. They will need a much better effort in this one than they showed in the first matchup. Devyn Herndon has been a bright spot on defense as he has three fumble recoveries to go along with 35 tackles.
#2 Lloyd (8-3) at #1 Walton-Verona (9-2) - Both teams enter this matchup on the heels of great regular-season runs and coming up decisive first-round playoff wins. Lloyd has won two straight, ending the Bearcats season on this same field a year ago and then taking care of them again in Erlanger this year during in a comeback 38-33 victory back on September 7. Walton-Verona has not lost a game since and enters this contest riding a seven-game winning streak. More impressively, they have only allowed one opponent to break seven points in that span.
Walton-Verona does most of their damage on the ground and has five players on the team that have rushed for six or more touchdowns, led by junior Chris Latimore with 11. The Bearcats put 36.5 points per game on the scoreboard while picking up 234 yards per contest running the football. Big man Cole Mosier anchors things up front on both sides of the ball and leads an offensive line that is capable of opening up huge holes. Cory Bennett leads the team with 64 tackles. Logan Foley has intercepted four passes on defense while adding 890 total yards and accounting for 11 touchdowns offensively either as a runner or a passer.
The Juggernauts scored three of the game’s final four touchdowns in the meeting with the Bearcats earlier this season to pull out a win. They will need to not get out of the gate as slowly this time around. Senior quarterback Dexter Smith threw for 234 yards and a score and added three touchdowns and another 135 yards on the ground the last time out against Walton-Verona. His favorite target in the passing game is Tomi Mejolagbe, who leads Northern Kentucky with 840 receiving yards to along with six TD’s. Defensive back Hayden Molitor enters the games with a team-high five interceptions.
Dan Clasgens is a co-founder of TSF and serves as the President/Director of Media & Content for our parent company, GetSports Enterprises LLC. In addition to nearly a decade of experience in covering local high school football, Dan is a widely recognized as a fantasy football guru. He is both a local and national radio personality, including hosting a weekly show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.