G. Michael Graham Photo. The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds line up in their recent win over Ashland. NewCath fell to Cooper, 31-22 on Friday in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
Most teams who come out plus-four in the turnover department win football games.
But that did not happen for the Newport Central Thoroughbreds in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown at Dixie Heights on Friday. The Cooper Jaguars still moved the ball better in a 31-22 victory. Both teams are 1-1 on the season.
Cooper lost all six fumbles and the Thoroughbreds threw two interceptions. But the Jaguars outgained the Thoroughbreds, 376-209 in total offense. NewCath could not stop the balanced Cooper attack. Jaguar quarterback Will Ludwig completed 17-of-29 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“I knew they were going to be a pretty decent, tough team and they were,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath head coach. “We had momentum early and lost it. Once they got it, they didn’t let it go.”
His top target was Corey Fussinger. Fussinger had six catches for 77 yards and Aaron Morgan had five catches for 41 yards. The Jaguars also saw running back Avery Bricking run the ball 17 times for 125 yards.
“We didn’t do a really good job with one particular pattern that we have to fix,” Wagner said. “We didn’t do a real good job with one particular run pattern that we have to fix. I think we have people getting there, but the technique is lousy so we have to get better at it.”
Defensively, the Jaguars made things tough for the Thoroughbred offense. Jacob Newumann recorded eight tackles and four sacks with Fussinger adding another two sacks.
NewCath quarterback Mac Franzen completed 8-of-15 passes for 135 yards. Tommy Donnelly led the Thoroughbreds in that department with two catches for 63 yards.
The Thoroughbreds led 7-0 after the first quarter. Michael Runyon hauled in an 11-yard pass from Franzen. But Cooper came back to tie the game when Bricking broke free for a 45-yard run in the second quarter.
NewCath took its final lead in the second quarter when Jacob Weiland recovered a Cooper fumble in the end zone. But Logan Turner hit a 25-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.
The Jaguars pulled away with 21 consecutive points in the second half. In the third quarter, Ludwig hit Fussinger for a 9-yard score and Morgan for three yards to give Cooper a 24-14 advantage. The Jaguars made the score 31-14 in the fourth quarter when Tanner Kissel hauled in a 21-yard pass.
NewCath’s lone score of the second half came when Jack Sutkamp scored on a 2-yard run. Donnelly hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Franzen.
The Thoroughbreds hit the road Friday for an in-county game at Campbell County. Game time is 7 p.m. in Alexandria.