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Six games into the 2012 season the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds were struggling to find their identity. Sitting at 2-4 the lane opened up for NCC, they found their mojo and blew past the rest of the field with dominance in all phases of the game.
The T’Breds won their last nine contests and captured their second state title in three years. Playing and losing tough tilts to some larger schools made NewCath that much tougher when it came to facing their Class 2A foes down the backstretch.
On offense, defense and special teams the Thoroughbreds were relentless against their peers on the way to capturing the program’s fifth KHSAA state championship.
Let’s take a game-by-game look at NewCath Thoroughbreds 2012 campaign:
GAME #1 – NEWCATH 37, DIXIE HEIGHTS 22 - After falling behind early NewCath rallied to knock off Dixie Heights in a Crosstown Showdown tilt, 37-22. NewCath running back Dylan Hayes scored four times, including three rushing touchdowns, to go along with a two-point conversion and an interception on defense the lead the way for the T‘Breds. The Colonels opened the scoring on a nine-yard run by quarterback Drew Moore just over two minutes into the game. Dixie Heights mishandled a snap out of their own end zone to give NewCath their first points less than a minute into the second quarter. Hayes would score his first touchdown on Dixie’s free kick returning it 55 yards. The senior ended up 230 all-purpose yards, including 138 on the ground. Josh Cain was very efficient in his first start at quarterback, completing 67 percent of his passes (16/24) for 122 yards for the winners. Mac Franzen caught seven of those balls of those balls for 58 yards and had the team’s other interception on defense. Senior Pete Collopy ran for 51 yards, caught three passes for another 27 yards, had nine tackles at linebacker and scored a rushing touchdown.
GAME #2 – McNICHOLAS 27, NEWCATH 24 - Late-game heroics by quarterback Austin Ernst helped McNicholas avenge a loss in last season’s opener to Newport Central Catholic. Ernst found Matt Curran in the end zone from six yards out with less than a minute left to give the Rockets the lead and win. NewCath tied the score at 17-17 on a Hayes 20-yard scamper in the final minute of the third quarter. Hayes would score for the second time in the half with 3:23 left to give the Thoroughbreds their first lead of the contest. The senior would wind up with a game-high 102 yards rushing. Collopy pitched in with a team-high six receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Kalvin Moore led the T’Breds defense with 12 total tackles. Franzen recorded 10 total tackles with a sack and had his second interception of the season. Elliott Rust also registered a sack in the defeat.
GAME #3 – CAMPBELL COUNTY 42, NEWCATH 16 – Campbell County quarterback Tyler Durham was a man amongst boys leading his squad to their first home win over county rival Newport Central Catholic since September 8, 2000. Durham accounted for 383 yards of total offense (219 rushing) and three touchdowns as the Camels overpowered the smaller Thoroughbreds, 42-16. NewCath struggled with the run game and to stop Campbell County’s ground attack giving up 538 yards. They were outgained by the Camels 364-88. The visitors had to settle into throwing the ball after falling behind 21-0 at halftime. Cain threw for 238 yards with a touchdown pass to Noah Freppon. Franzen caught a career-high seven passes for 144 yards for the T’Breds.
GAME #4 – SIMON KENTON 28, NEWCATH 20 - Simon Kenton remained unbeaten behind a balanced offensive attack that saw the team engineer five scoring drives as they sent NewCath reeling to their third straight loss. The Thoroughbreds continued to have trouble with the opposition’s size up front. Simon Kenton quarterback Brennan Kuntz had a career day with 241 yards and three touchdowns throwing the ball. Andrew Sampson chipped in with 104 yards on the ground and a touchdown rushing and receiving for the winners. There were some bright spots in the loss for NCC. The offense found some balance on offense as Hayes ran for 141 yards on 16 carries and a score. Cain continued his precision like work throwing the football going 15-of-24 for 187 yards with touchdown tosses to Collopy and Tyler Lyon. Lyon also had a sack and tied Mason Myers with a team-high nine total tackles on defense. Franzen continued to be Cain’s favorite target, hauling in six receptions for 141 yards.
GAME #5 – NEWCATH 58, BISHOP BROSSART 0 - After dropping three straight games Newport Central Catholic turned things around in a big way as district play kicked off by downing the Bishop Brossart Mustangs, 58-0. NewCath put a pair of first-quarter TD’s on the board as Cain connected with Franzen on a 36-yard TD pass and Hayes punched in a score from eight yards out. It would be more than enough. The Thoroughbreds outgained Brossart 453-113 and built a 43-0 halftime lead. Cain finished the night by going 8-of-12 for 205 yards and four touchdowns in limited action. Franzen had three receptions for 99 yards and two scores. Lyons hauled in a TD reception for a second straight week and senior Dan Ruwe caught his first score of the year. Hayes led all rushers with 90 yards and a TD on just nine first-half carries. Freshman Jacob Smith made his varsity debut be known with four carries for 84 yards and his first touchdown.
GAME #6 – HOLMES 12, NEWCATH 7 - The Holmes Bulldogs held off a surging Newport Central Catholic team in thrilling fashion to pick up a 12-7 win. Holmes dented the scoreboard first when Desean Peterson pulled in a 30-yard B.J. Coston pass in the second quarter. After a failed kick the score was 6-0 at the half. The two would connect for another score in the third quarter, this time from 15 yards out, but a failed two-point conversion kept it at 12-0. The Bulldogs’ defense would bend, but not break. NewCath cut the deficit to five points with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Cain hit Franzen for a 41-yard touchdown pass and after the extra point it was 12-7. The T‘Breds put together a solid drive in the game’s waning moments in an attempt to take the lead, but their bid for a win was stopped when Jonathan Scruggs intercepted a pass to seal the deal for Holmes. Cain threw for 178 yards and a TD but was intercepted three times in the loss. Franzen snared four balls for 94 yards. Collopy had a team-high six receptions for three yards. A valiant defensive effort was given by Brady Thacker, who recorded 18 total tackles. Junior linebacker Jack Sutkamp registered 12 total tackles and had an interception for NCC.
GAME #7 – NEWCATH 63, LLOYD 22 – Lloyd Memorial came into Saturday night affair hoping to lay claim to Class 2A, District 6 title, but NewCath had a very different idea as they dominated the game from the outset en route to their most impressive performance of the season in a 63-22 win. Hayes was unstoppable amassing 330 all-purpose yards on 20 touches. He had 173 on and three touchdowns rushing. Myers found the end zone twice on short runs and also turned an interception off Dexter Smith into a pick six score. The T’Breds poured it on building a 49-9 lead heading into intermission. That advantage allowed Smith more second-half playing time and he came through with 65 yards on 10 carries and a score.
GAME #8 – NEWCATH 49, NEWPORT 0 - The annual battle for the Firemen’s Bell was decided quickly on as NCC scored on the game’s very first play and never looked back as they extinguished Newport. The T’Breds put up 49 first-half points for a second straight week. NewCath got a another big performance from Hayes, who scored three times and finished with 125 yards on 12 carries in limited action. Myers added two more and Collopy chipped in with another score via the run in the win. Cain connected with Ruwe on a 64-yard touchdown for the contest’s opening touchdown. Cain finished the night by completing 7-of-10 passes for 114 yards. The Thoroughbreds’ defense came up with four takeaways as Stephen Brooks, Colin Hoover and Malleek Lawrence all recovered fumbles. Nate Enslen had an interception.
GAME #9 – NEWCATH 49, HOLY CROSS 10 – It was a contest that people had anticipated since before the game began. The last two Class 2A state champions in Kentucky squared off with a district title on the line, but the result was a one-sided affair. NewCath dominated all aspects of the game as they dismantled Holy Cross, 49-10. The T’Breds opened up a 14-0 first-quarter lead behind a 7-yard touchdown run by Hayes and a 37-yard scoring scamper by Smith. The Indians finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter as Hamilton Scott hit a 28-yard field goal, but NCC would put the game away with 21 unanswered points to close out the half. Hayes racked up 285 all-purpose yards (169 rushing) and three scores on the ground. Myers found the end zone for the fifth time in NCC’s last three tilts. Senior Quin Anost led the defense with 12 total tackles. Classmate Jake Haas picked up his fourth sack of the season.
GAME #10 – NEWCATH 34, BEECHWOOD 14 – The rivalry between Beechwood and Newport Catholic Central always finds a hero to emerge. This time around it was Hayes that put together a stellar performance. The senior finished the game with 170 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries for the T’Breds. It was a resounding fourth straight victory for NCC as they head into the postseason on a roll. It was also a big night for Thacker who scored his first career touchdown for the Thoroughbreds while leading the team with 13 total tackles. Collopy, Moore and Sutkamp also recorded double-digit tackles for the winners. The Tigers had beaten NCC the previous two seasons so it was sweet revenge for the senior class.
GAME #11 – NEWCATH 49, GALLATIN COUNTY 13 - Newport Central Catholic continued to click on all cylinders as they took down the Gallatin County Wildcats 49-13 to pick up a first-round playoff win. It marked a fifth straight win for NewCath. NCC has averaged 48.8 points per game during their winning streak. Cain completed 6-of-8 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Hayes added 78 yards and two scores on the ground and also returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Sutkamp led the T’Breds with eight tackles and had an interception for the defense. Ruwe and Jimmy Raleigh also came up with takeaways for a NewCath defense that has only given up more 14 points once since Week 5.
GAME #12 – NEWCATH 52, HOLY CROSS 0 – For the second time in four weeks Newport Central Catholic manhandled rival Holy Cross by blanking them, 52-0. The loss ended the Indians hopes for a second consecutive state title as NewCath outscored them 101-10 in their two 2012 meetings. Once again Cain and Hayes were the catalyst in the T’Breds victory. Cain completed just five passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Hayes ran for 161 yards while finding the end zone two times. Franzen caught two passes for 93 yards as both receptions hit paydirt. Collopy hauled in his third touchdown catch of the year and led the Thoroughbreds with 12 total tackles on defense. Moore was not going to have his big day be overshadowed by his senior teammates. The junior had a nine tackles, a pick six and a rushing touchdown in the win.
GAME #13 – NEWCATH 49, WALTON-VERONA 14 – In an instant Newport Central Catholic got on the scoreboard as freshman Smith returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a score as the Thoroughbreds wasted little time putting Walton-Verona’s hopes for a regional title to rest on their way to a 49-14 victory. NewCath raced to a 21-0 lead less than eight minutes into the contest and never looked back. Smith had a memorable night for NCC as he also scored on short run in the third quarter after picking off a Bearcats pass. His kickoff return was one of two special team’s touchdowns by NewCath in the opening stanza. Hayes also had a 43-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the fourth time this season that Hayes has found the end zone via a punt return and his 30th touchdown overall. Sandwiched in between the scores by Smith and Hayes were touchdown runs by Thacker and Cain as NCC built a 28-0 lead after one period. Walton-Verona saw its best drive of the night come up empty when they fumbled the ball on the NewCath 1-yard line. The Bearcats showed resolve when Will Latimore intercepted a Cain pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown on the very next play to make it 28-7 NCC in the second period. The Thoroughbreds would score the next 21 points and head to halftime with that magic number of 49 on the scoreboard after 24 minutes for the third time in their last seven tilts. Cain had a touchdown pass to Collopy and Lyon recovered a bad snap by W-V on a punt in the end zone to round out the scoring for the victors. Cain completed 16 of 23 passes for 182 yards.
GAME #14 – NEWCATH 27, SOMERSET 18 - The Thoroughbreds knocked off the Somerset Briar Jumpers in a Kentucky Class 2A state semi-final matchup 27-18. NewCath got a big effort from Hayes, who ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. NCC got on the scoreboard first when Hayes punched one in from a yard out to give them a 7-0 lead after one quarter of play. Freshman quarterback Castle Hatcher would score Somerset’s first points of the night with a 1-yard TD run of his own in the second quarter, but the point-after kick failed and the score stood a 7-6 as the half ended. Hatcher would give the Briar Jumpers the lead early in the third quarter when he connected with junior Will Lange on a 54-yard scoring pass. After a failed two-point conversion Somerset was up 12-7. Hayes crossed the goal line for a second time with a 4-yard TD run later in the quarter, but a failed two-point conversion kept things close with NCC holding a 13-12 lead heading into the final frame. NewCath would add to its lead behind a 3-yard run from Thacker and sealed the deal Cain threw a 33-yard scoring strike to Franzen later in the quarter. Cain finished the night going 15-for-24 through the air for 166 yards. Somerset added a final score as time expired on a Hatcher to Jalen Jones 2-yard touchdown pass, but it was too little, too late.
GAME #15 – NEWCATH 30, CALDWELL COUNTY 26 - It was everything you could have wanted in state final championship game as Newport Central Catholic scored with 0:26 left in regulation to defeat a very sound Caldwell County team, 30-26. Cain hit an unlikely hero Lyon with the game-winning pass from four yards out as the clock was nearing triple zeroes. It gave the Thoroughbreds their fifth state title and second in the last three years under Eddie Eviston. The contest was filled with twists, turns and drama. After building a 21-14 lead at halftime, NewCath found a Tigers team that refused to go away and ready for anything after the break. Caldwell County would score nine unanswered points in the third quarter. Then Eviston put the NCC defense in a precarious situation after going for it on fourth down inside their own 15-yard line only to fail. The Tigers would manage a field goal to capture their first lead at 23-21 heading into the final stanza. Caldwell County sophomore quarterback Elijah Sindelar was smack dab in the middle of all the activity. The 6-foot-4 gunslinger threw for 258 yards and two scores. Two second-half interceptions were about the only flaws on the afternoon for the rising star. Receiver Martez Sivils would reel in 10 of Sindelar’s passes for 123 yards and a score. Hayes gained 105 yards with two touchdowns for the victors. The second time he found the end zone he would set the NCC record for touchdowns (34) and total points in a season (204). His classmate, Cain took home game MVP honors after throwing for 243 yards, running for 32 and two touchdown tosses. Franzen also set a new school mark with 1,143 yards receiving in a season. The junior ended up with six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.
MILESTONES AND MORE
--Newport Central Catholic won the school’s fifth state title and second in three years. It marked the sixth time in the last eight seasons that NCC has played in the state championship game and the programs 11th overall appearance in the finale. NewCath started the season 1-3 then 2-4 before winning their last nine games. The offense averaged 35.25 points per game including 44.7 during their streak. The defense allowed 16.7 points per tilt including just 13.0 over their last nine.
--Eddie Eviston went 36-7 with two state championships as the head coach of his alma mater. He announced shortly after the season that he would be moving on to becoming the offensive coordinator at NAIA Georgetown College where he was a three-time All-American.
--Team Defensive Coordinator Dan Wagner will take over as head coach in 2013.
--Running back Dylan Hayes ended a storied career running with 1,706 yards, 2,487 all-purpose yards while setting the school records with 34 total touchdowns and 204 points in a season. His efforts earned him Second-Team All-Kentucky as defensive back, Honorable Mention All-Kentucky at running back and First-Team All-TriStateFootball.com as return specialist. His 384 total points are third most in school history while his 3,244 yards rushing are 8th best to go along with 63 career touchdowns.
-- In his first and only year as a starting quarterback Josh Cain left his mark on the NCC record book. His 2,427 passing and 168 completions in a season were both good enough for second best in school history. Cain’s career 2,775 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes are 5th and seventh all-time in school history.
--Elliot Rust was named as a First-Team All-NKY honoree on the offensive line. He was a bear on both sides of the ball finishing his career with 183 total tackles.
--Senior lineman Brady Thacker earned Second-Team All-NKY honors after recording 102 total tackles. Classmates Jack Sutkamp, Dan Ruwe, Jake Haas, Noah Freppon and Quin Anost all had a big hand in the team’s success. Sutkamp led the team with 110 total tackles.
--The versatile duo of Pete Collopy and Mason Myers played integral parts on their way to getting a pair of rings. Collopy registered back-to-back seasons of more than 90 tackles while ending his career with 241 total takedowns to go along with seven takeaways. On offense Collopy wound up with 49 career receptions for 485 yards, eight receiving touchdowns, five rushing scores and 187 rushing yards. Myers found the end zone 18 times (14 rushing) during his tenure at NCC. He finished his career with 1,322 all-purpose yards (632 rushing) and 167 total tackles on defense.
--Record-setting receiver Mac Franzen set the school single-season record with 1,159 yards receiving. Pair that with his 59 receptions (2nd most in a single season and eight touchdown catches that was good enough to garner Second-Team All-NKY accolades for the junior.
--The future appears to be in good hands as Ross Meek, Kalvin Moore, Tyler Lyon, Stephen Brooks and Franzen provide a solid nucleus. Meek (101), Moore (88) and Lyon (81) combined for 268 total tackles in 2012.
--The varsity debut of Jacob Smith was very promising. The freshman ran for 267 yards, had 648 all-purpose yards while finding the end zone six times.
NewCath was nominated for the TriStateFootball.com NKY Team of the Year at last month’s TSF YEAR IN REVIEW show at Quaker Steak & Lube in Florence. Be sure to check out great coverage of NewCath’s sensational season on our YOUTUBE page and follow us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for year-round high school football news.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.