By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
EDGEWOOD – There may have been a lot of uncertainties going into this season-opening Skyline Showdown game.
One was not the running game for the visitors. The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds rode it to the tune of 227 yards on 42 carries to a 37-22 victory here Friday over the host Dixie Heights Colonels.
Senior Dylan Hayes led the way running for 138 yards on 23 carries with three rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for another score. He scored 26 points overall adding a two-point conversion run after the first touchdown.
“We had to stick to what we were doing,” said Eddie Eviston, NewCath head coach. “We got a big play early, then we settled down. I think we know we can play better football. Dixie kept fighting. But we kept getting a play here or there to extend our lead each time.”
The Thoroughbreds outgained the Colonels, 349-287 in total offense. Pete Collopy added 51 yards rushing and quarterback Josh Cain completed 16-of-24 passes for 122 yards. Wide receiver Mac Franzen hauled in seven catches for 58 yards. NewCath did not turn the ball over in this contest.
Franzen and Hayes also had interceptions defensively for NewCath. Franzen intercepted Dixie Heights quarterback Drew Moore and took it back to the Colonel 2. That set up a 2-yard Hayes score to put the Thoroughbreds up 23-7 just 16 seconds into the second half following Josh Caudill’s first of three extra-point attempts.
Dixie Heights entered the year with a new head coach in Dave Brossart, a former Covington Catholic head coach. The Colonels stayed in the game until the last minute behind the play of Moore, a sophomore. Moore completed 16-of-23 passes for 167 yards with two interceptions and ran for 92 yards on 15 carries. His 78-yard run with 9:50 left in the first quarter gave Dixie its only lead at 7-0 following teammate Alex Lopez’ extra-point attempt.
“I have to give a lot of credit to (Moore),” Eviston said. “He played a heck of a game for his first varsity game. We knew they’d come out fired up.”
Dixie began to move the ball late in the third quarter. Darion Washington cut NewCath’s lead to 23-15 with 11:16 left in the game with a 1-yard score and Moore completed the two-point conversion to Seth Caple.
But the Thoroughbreds responded with a score with 9:49 left in the game. Hayes scored on a draw from 13 yards out to put NewCath up 30-15.
Dixie did not quit. Moore marched the Colonels down the field and he spotted Casey Cox from 19 yards out to cut the margin to 30-22 with 4:01 left in the game.
“We were getting nervous (at that point),” Hayes said. “I told the guys we had to keep going.”
NewCath found itself in a 3rd-and-25 situation, but came up huge. Cain took a quarterback draw left and scrambled 27 yards to the Dixie 45 for a huge first down. Collopy took the next play 45 yards to the house to make the final score of 37-22.
The Thoroughbreds travel to Cincinnati McNicholas for a 1 p.m. contest Saturday. NewCath won last year’s contest, 23-13.