By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
Not only will they have a tough schedule, they will have a rugged preseason to prepare for it.
Highlands Bluebirds Head Football Coach Brian Weinrich recently confirmed Highlands will travel across the Ohio River to face the Cincinnati St. Xavier Bombers on Aug. 22. That takes place a week after the annual scrimmage against Louisville Trinity on Aug. 15. Ohio’s season does not start until Aug. 29.
“We’re not sure if it will be 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.,” Weinrich said. “We are able to have two scrimmages this year since we are not playing week zero.”
Trinity and St. Xavier play in the largest divisions in Kentucky (Class 6A) and Ohio (Division I) respectively. Both squads are normally competitive but suffered through down seasons last year.
The Shamrocks finished 6-6 against a tough schedule before losing in the region finals to District 4 rival, Louisville Male, 31-7. Highlands and Trinity own the state record for the most state football championships with 22 each. The two have scrimmaged each other four consecutive years.
St. Xavier finished 5-6 last year but still qualified for the playoffs. The Bombers lost 42-17 at Greater Catholic League South rival and eventual state champion Cincinnati Moeller.
Highlands and St. Xavier met in the regular season in 2009. The Bluebirds won the game, 12-7 on their way to an undefeated season and Class 5A state championship. They also finished ranked third in the nation with that win in the USA Today Super 25 poll. The Bluebirds are 3-5 against the Bombers in regular season contests and 1-1 against Trinity.
The Bluebirds then take on the same schedule as last year at opposite sites with the exception to University Christian (Fla.). Highlands will instead play Miami (Fla.) Christopher Columbus on Oct. 11.
The 10 regular season opponents finished 72-50 last year with eight advancing to at least the second round of the playoffs in their respective states. Six of the teams finished with winning records. John Hardin lost to eventual state champion Bowling Green in the 5A semifinals and Paducah Tilghman fell to Wayne County, 34-10 in the 3A semifinals.
The Bluebirds are 167-54-2 against the regular season opponents in school history. They’ve beaten Campbell County, Covington Catholic and Covington Holmes at least 45 times since starting their program in 1915.
Highlands plays just two games on Saturday this season. The other one will be Sept. 20 against Paducah Tilghman.