G. Michael Graham Photo. Highlands sophomore defensive lineman Bo Hebel (55) sacks Covington Holmes quarterback Desean Brumfield (18) while Nathan Merkle (39) closes in. Highlands won the game 71-14 to move to 95-3 since the start of 2007.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
The Highlands Bluebirds football team has played the Covington Holmes Bulldogs more than anyone in school history.
The Bluebirds improved to 50-20-2 all-time against the Bulldogs. The only teams they’ve beaten more in school history are Dixie Heights (62-8) and Campbell County (51-9).
Highlands has outscored Holmes, 205-42 in the recent three meetings. Despite that, Highlands Head Coach Dale Mueller said the Bulldog program is headed in the right direction under first-year Head Coach and Simon Kenton graduate Ben Nevels.
“I’ve always liked the whole Nevels family,” Mueller said. “I know his three brothers and parents. They’re just a great family and I really have respect for what he’s doing and like that he’s coaching at Holmes doing the best he can. I’m not rooting for them when they play us of course, but I want the best for Holmes. I think he really cares about the guys on the team. They want to do well.”
Highlands improved to 102-37 all-time against the current district teams. The Bluebirds are 44-17 against Covington Catholic and a perfect 8-0 against Harrison County.
Highlands improved to 95-3 since the start of 2007. The Bluebirds also earned the program’s 850th all-time win since starting the program in 1915. They are 850-225-26 all-time.
The 850 wins ranks second in the country behind Valdosta’s 881-211-34 record. The Wildcats of south Georgia beat 1-AAAAAA rival Tift county, 31-21 on Friday to move to 5-2 overall.
Elementary Names Mentioned:
The Highlands football players name their elementary schools on the new scoreboard before the game. It is a similar concept to the National Football League players announcing their colleges and universities. The elementary schools in the Fort Thomas Independent School District are Woodfill, Johnson and Moyer Elementary.
“(The players) came up with the idea of introducing our starting lineup,” Mueller said. “They don’t have a university so they say their elementary school. I think it’s just a lot of fun.”
Mueller moves into Top 20 in Kentucky:
Muller moved to 245-34 in his 20th season as the head coach at Highlands good for 20th in Kentucky history.
Mueller’s win total surpassed former Pikeville and Letcher County Central Head Coach Hillard Howard’s record of 244-69-1 in 25 years.
Big win for Highlands alum:
Chris Wolfe, a 1990 Highlands alum, guided the tradition-rich Male Bulldogs to a huge win Friday. The Bulldogs knocked off Class 6A, District 4 rival Louisville Trinity Shamrocks, 24-14 to stay undefeated at 8-0.
Male also edged Louisville St. Xavier, 44-40 the previous week to move to 2-0 in district play. Male became the first team from the Jefferson County Public Schools to beat Trinity since Louisville Seneca did it 34-33 on Sept. 19, 2003. The Bulldogs were also the last team to beat Trinity and St. Xavier in consecutive weeks since Cincinnati St. Xavier did it in 2009.
Male seems poised to end St. Xavier and Trinity’s run of winning every large-school championship since 2000. That marked the last year that Male won its last of six titles and Bob Beatty’s first year as head coach of the Shamrocks.
Male ranks second in Kentucky and third in the nation behind Valdosta and Highlands for the most wins in program history. The Bulldogs own 829 all-time wins. Massillon Washington (Ohio) ranks fourth in the country with 828 victories.
District opponents St. X and DuPont Manual also rank in the top 10 for the most wins all-time in Kentucky. Trinity is not on that list mostly because the program started in 1955.
Highlands JV/Freshman Results:
The Highlands Junior Varsity is 5-0 and recently had a game against Covington Catholic cancelled. They take on Cincinnati Elder at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26.
The Highlands Freshman team is 4-4 after beating Dixie Heights, 42-27 on Thursday. The Bluebirds finish the season Thursday against Cooper at 6 p.m.
Boyle County, Johnson Central stay undefeated:
The Boyle County Rebels and Johnson Central Golden Eagles also won again Friday to improve to 8-0. Those two plus top-ranked Highlands are the only three undefeated teams left in Class 4A.
Boyle County beat Marion County, 50-7 in District 5 action and Johnson Central destroyed Rowan County, 59-10. Johnson Central faces Ashland Blazer next week for the District 8 crown.
After those three, there is one one-loss team in Class 4A. That is the 7-1 Russell County Lakers. Their lone loss came 49-21 on Sept. 13 at Class 5A’s second-ranked and undefeated 9-0 Pulaski County Maroons.
The Bluebirds will face the winner of the Boyd County (0-8) at Greenup County (2-6) matchup Friday in the first round of the playoffs. The Musketeers have made an improvement after going 0-10 last year. Highlands dominated the Lions in the first round of the playoffs the last two years.