By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
It is sometimes hard to notice when an offense is as balanced as the Highlands Bluebirds football team has been over the years.
But every contribution adds up to teams winning their ultimate goals. David Christian found himself in this spot, especially in the playoffs after he missed most of the regular season with a hamstring injury.
Christian gave the Bluebirds another threat in that vaunted offense. He finished with nine catches for 160 yards and a touchdown for an average of 17.8 yards per catch.
When he didn’t catch the ball, the wide receiver used his 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound frame to block for his teammates. The Bluebirds put up 781 points, 111 touchdowns and 7,424 yards of total offense on their way to a sixth consecutive state championship this past fall.
Christian will take his talents an hour north as he signed to play for the University of Dayton Flyers this fall earlier in the week. Christian will join former Highlands quarterback Will Bardo as a tight end. Christian knows he will have to get better at blocking bigger guys at Dayton.
“It’s a great school,” Christian said. “It has everything I wanted academically. It has a great football team.”
The Flyers play in the Pioneer League of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. It is the only non-scholarship, football-only conference in the subdivision. Dayton finished 6-5 overall and tied with Jacksonville University (Fla.) for fourth at 5-3 in conference play. Dayton’s other teams play in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Bardo started all 11 games for the Flyers. He completed 152-of-306 passes for 1,687 yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. Dayton runs a Spread offense like they do at Highlands so Christian will have some familiarity with the main principles.
“I talked to Will some,” Christian said. “He had a lot of good things to say. It was my decision. It worked out that it was the right place for both of us.”
Drake University (Ia.), the University of San Diego and Butler University (Ind.) all tied for the league title with 7-1 league marks. All three finished 8-3 overall.
The Bluebirds went 58-2 with four state championships in Christian’s four years of high school. Christian said he plans to do what he can to have similar success at Dayton, but knows there is always the possibility of losing more than he’s used to.
“No one likes to lose, but it is part of life,” Christian said. “We’ll try to do our best not to lose.”
So far, Dayton has signed 23 players this year. That includes 15 team captains and 14 Nation Honor Society members.
“I’m very happy with the 23 commitments that we currently have,” said Rick Chamberlin, Dayton head coach. “We are not done by any means, but this group should provide us an excellent class to work with over the next four years.”
Former Covington Catholic quarterback Blake Bir is also part of that class. Highlands won all six meetings against the Colonels in Christian and Bir’s four years of high school.
“I know Blake a little bit and he’s a great guy,” Christian said. “I think we’ll be able to move on past our high school days and be good teammates together.”
Christian plans to major in Business and Finance currently. He knows it will be a challenge to balance his social, business and athletic lives but said he’s up for it.
“You have to log six hours a week of study tables,” Christian said. “(The Dayton staff) does a great job making sure you do well in the classroom as well as on the field.”
Christian is the only one of 25 seniors from this past season’s group to sign to play collegiately so far. Quarterback Donovan McCoy had an offer from Centre College in Danville, but will instead focus on academics in college.