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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bluebird Notebook: Highlands holds own in tough environment


G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands junior wide receiver Jensen Feggins celebrates after his first touchdown in Friday's game at Cincinnati Elder. Feggins had 10 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-27 loss.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

It may have been a tough loss for Class 4As top-ranked squad.

But the Highlands Bluebirds proved they can compete with schools in Cincinnati’s vaunted Greater Catholic League South.

Highlands has lost the last two games to the Elder Panthers. But the Bluebirds did win 34-29 at The Pit two years ago. They also beat the St. Xavier Blue Bombers, 12-7 on national television in Fort Thomas in 2009.

“When you play in a place like this, it’s like playing in a state championship,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator. “We love playing Elder. We’d play Elder 10 times if we could. There are not a lot of teams in Kentucky that are as good as Elder.”

The Bluebirds are 4-14 against GCL South all-time. They are 3-5 against St. Xavier and 0-3 against the defending Ohio Division I state champion Moeller Crusaders. Highlands has never faced the LaSalle Lancers. Elder will finish second in the league with a win over LaSalle on Friday.

Playoff Pairings:

Once again, Highlands will play host to the Boyd County Tigers in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

The 1-8 Tigers won the one game they had to do so to make the playoffs on Friday. They edged the Greenup County Musketeers, 25-21. Greenup County has two wins this year after going winless last year. Boyd County faces Tolsia High School out of Fort Gay, West Virginia on Friday to conclude the regular season.

Highlands could meet undefeated 9-0 Johnson Central in the third round of the playoffs. The Golden Eagles rolled to a 42-7 win at Ashland Blazer on Friday in the District 8 title game. Johnson Central goes to Belfry on Friday in a battle of unbeaten to conclude the regular season.

Other Class 4A News:

The other undefeated team in Class 4A is the Boyle County Rebels. They beat Mercer County, 14-0 on Friday to conclude District 5 action. The Rebels figure to enter the postseason undefeated as they play host to one-win Whitley County on Friday. Highlands would travel to Boyle County in the state semifinals if both win their regions.

But Boyle County may need to beat district rival Lexington Catholic (6-3) again in the third round of the playoffs. The Knights may have to go to Russell Springs and face 8-1 Russell County in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers have one loss to Class 5A’s second-ranked Pulaski County Maroons, 49-21 on Sept. 13.

Highlands beat the Maroons in the Class 5A state semifinals in 2009. Pulaski County beat county rival Southwestern, 40-24 to finish undefeated in the regular season for the first time in school history.

A few teams Highlands could see in the state championship game are a pair of 7-2 teams in Collins and Owensboro. Highlands beat Collins in last year’s title game and beat Owensboro to win the 1999 and 2000 state championships. Simon Kenton and Central Hardin are the only two teams to beat Collins with Warren Central and Bowling Green the only two teams to beat Owensboro. Collins and Owensboro won Districts 3 and 1 respectively.

Freshmen/Junior Varsity Updates:

The Highlands Junior Varsity is still undefeated at 6-0. The Bluebirds beat Elder, 42-21 at home Saturday and finishes with Scott County at 11 a.m. on Nov. 2.

The Highlands Freshman beat beat Cooper, 18-6 recently to move to 5-4. The Bluebirds finish the season against Boone County. 

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