By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
If they equaled their in-county rivals on extra-point tries, the game might have gone to overtime where anything could happen.
Instead, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team found itself on the wrong end of a 21-20 defeat to the Campbell County Camels (2-1) on Friday in Alexandria. NewCath (1-2) still leads the all-time series against Cambpell County, 26-12, but has dropped the last two in the series.
The Camels defeated the Thoroughbreds, 42-16 last year also in Alexandria, but at the Pyramid at the Campbell County Middle School. Campbell County is playing its first season at the new field by the high school.
“We did see some progress,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath Head Coach. “Even though you hate to lose and this one hurts, I think we saw some kids come together. We didn’t pull it out in the end. But the kids believed we could. We’re playing a lot of sophomores so we’re going to have some issues. But they’re going to be pretty good by the time the end of the year rolls around.”
NewCath trailed 21-14 in the fourth quarter when wide receiver Tommy Donnelly took a pass from Mac Franzen and ran to the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown pass. But the Thoroughbreds missed the extra-point in what proved to be the difference in the game.
“We were missing somebody (on the offensive line) and we always tell the kids to take the penalty,” Wagner said. “It’s five yards. We got the illegal formation (penalty), kicked it anyway and ended up missing it. It’s little things like that. You try to cover them, but you can’t cover everything. If we’d have scored a few minutes later, we’d have gone for two. It was just a little too soon.”
NewCath simply had no answer for Campbell County senior quarterback Avery Wood. Wood ran the ball out of the Camel Spread offense 32 times for 154 yards, three touchdowns and an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Wood also completed 6-of-11 passes for 84 yards.
Wood had some help behind him as Cambpell County outgained NewCath, 326-210 in total offense including 240-66 on the ground. Alex Howard rushed the pigskin 10 times for 56 yards and wide receiver Nate Hess caught four passes for 49 yards with Jake Zabonick catching two passes for 35 yards.
“They have two huge offensive tackles,” Wagner said. “We’re not that big. We were doing everything we could not to break. I’m proud of the way they handled it. I just wish it was a different outcome.”
Franzen once again led the Thoroughbreds completing 14-of-19 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Donnelly led NewCath with four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown with Tyler Lyon hauling in two more for 28 yards and a touchdown. No one had more than 39 yards rushing for the Thoroughbreds.
NewCath once again won the turnover battle in a loss. The Camels lost two fumbles and threw an interception while the Thoroughbreds did not turn the ball over. NewCath is plus-seven in the turnover category in the two losses and plus-five for the year.
Wood scored on a 2-yard run to put Cambpell County up 6-0 in the first quarter before NewCath responded. Jack Sutkamp scored on an 8-yard run and John Caudill added the extra-point as the Thoroughbreds led 7-6 after the first quarter.
NewCath extended the lead to 14-6 in the second quarter as Lyon hauled in a 4-yard pass from Franzen. But Cambpell County tied the game at halftime when Wood scored from 10 yards out and Josh Carroll ran in the two-point conversion.
The Thoroughbreds travel to Independence on Friday to face another Class 6A, District 6 opponent in the undefeated 3-0 Simon Kenton Pioneers. Game time is 7 p.m.
NC Volleyball drops two at LIVT:
The Thoroughbreds (3-6) dropped two matches to open the two-day Louisville Invitational Volleyball Tournament at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center.
NewCath lost to Walton (Georgia) in the first match, 2-0 (25-19, 25-13). Setter Alyssa Maier led NewCath with 10 assists and Rachel McDonald had four kills.
The Thoroughbreds dropped the second game, also 2-0 (25-15, 25-14) to Kettering (Ohio) Alter. Maier led the Thoroughbreds with 12 assists and Keyaira Lankheit had four kills.
NewCath plays three matches Saturday. The first one starts at 9 a.m. against an opponent to be determined.