Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bluebird Notes: Highlands moves to 101-5 since 2006; Graybill verbally commits to BGSU

Allen Ramsey. Highlands senior running back Griffin Urlage (20) finds a hole in the 23-16 Bluebird win. Highlands won its 13th straight over Campbell County on Friday.
Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior wide receiver Alex Veneman (6) hauls in a touchdown pass in the first quarter of Friday's non-district game in Alexandria. Veneman had five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the 23-16 Bluebird win.

By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

Last year, Campbell County Head Coach Stephen Lickert said the Camels would continue to play the Bluebirds and he hopes to beat them at some point.

Friday’s 23-16 Highlands win marked the closest Campbell County has come to beating Highlands in the Bluebird 13-game winning streak in the series dating back to 1991. That’s when the Camels last beat the Bluebirds, 12-6. Highlands leads the all-time series, 52-9.

Prior to last year, Highlands and Campbell County last played in 2004. The teams met on an annual basis between 1995 and 2004. The Bluebirds won all 10 meetings. Highlands finished 11-0 against Campbell County in Dale Mueller’s 20-year tenure as head coach including a 50-8 verdict last year.

Prior to last night, Campbell County had not come within 10 points of Highlands during the streak. That close score came in 1997 in a 29-19 Bluebird victory. Highlands had beaten Campbell County by an average of just more than 39 points in the previous 12 meetings.

The Bluebirds have averaged point totals in the 50s in the last few years including 56.6 points per game in their last undefeated season of 2011. That team scored a state-record 849 points.

The win over Campbell County marked Highlands’ lowest point total dating back to 2010. The Bluebirds won 21-14 at Johnson Central on Nov. 19 of that year in the regional finals of the 5A playoffs that year. Their lowest point total last year was 27 in a loss at Cincinnati Elder and 24 in 2012 to the same Panther squad.

Campbell County is the Bluebirds’ fourth most common opponent in school history with 61 meetings. Highlands has only played Covington Holmes (72 times), Dixie Heights (70) and Covington Catholic (62) more times in school history.

That total surpassed Dayton. The Bluebirds and Greendevils have met 60 times with Highlands leading the all-time series, 47-10-3. But Highlands and Dayton have not played each other since 1986. The Bluebirds beat the Greendevils, 39-0 that year.

New Helmet Look:

Friday marked the start of the 100th season in Highlands football history.

The Bluebirds are commemorating it with a 100-year graphic on the right sides of their helmets. They have the usual Blue H on the left side.

The Bluebirds moved to 856-227-26 all-time with the win. They have not had a losing record since going 4-5-1 in 1955.

That total is the second-most wins in program history in the country. They only trail the 884-214-34 of Valdosta (Ga.) High. The host Wildcats (2-0) beat neighboring Thomas County Central on Friday.

Next Opponent Report:

The Bluebirds travel to Lexington to face the Bryan Station Defenders (1-1) on Friday.

Bryan Station is 1-1 on the young season. The Defenders opened with a 56-22 win over Harlan County on Aug. 23 in the Roy Kidd Bowl at Madison Central. They lost 28-13 to Louisville St. Xavier in the Bluegrass Bowl on Friday recording five turnovers including four interceptions.

Highlands beat the Defenders, 62-44 last year in Fort Thomas. Bryan Station finished 5-6 last year losing 55-7 to eventual 6A champion Scott County in the second round of the playoffs. The Bluebirds are 4-1 all-time against Bryan Station.

Only Northern Kentucky non-district opponent this season:

The Camels are Highlands’ lone non-district opponent from Campbell, Boone and Kenton Counties this year. That has been the case for the last couple years as local teams had been reluctant to schedule the Bluebirds. Highlands improved to 101-5 since the start of 2007 with the win Friday.

The Bluebirds have lost to only two Kentucky teams during that time. One came in last year’s 4A state championship to Collins (37-34) and the other came 28-26 at Ryle to finish the 2010 regular season.

That changes next year. The Bluebirds take on five non-district teams from the northern three Kentucky counties. They battle Simon Kenton, Cooper, Boone County, Campbell County and Ryle in non-district action.

Highlands Softball Note:
Graybill verbally commits to Bowling Green:

Highlands junior standout Shelby Graybill recently verbally committed to Bowling Green State University (Ohio) of the Mid-American Conference.

The 5-foot-8-inch catcher and third baseman helped Highlands to its first 9th Region title last spring. The Ladybirds finished a school-record 27-13 including a 19-game winning streak. They went 1-2 in the state tournament. Graybill batted about .529 (55-for-104) with 52 runs batted in, 32 runs scored, 19 doubles, nine home runs, three strikeouts and 13 walks. She hit two home runs in the state tournament including a two-run blast to open the state tournament in a 4-1 against Estill County.

“They are looking for me to come in and start as a freshman to be in what they say is Murderer’s Row,” Graybill said. “That’s the three, four, five (hitters). I’m looking to be at least hitting my freshman year.”

Graybill wants to become a history teacher. Her favorite time period is Early American History. She said Bowling Green is one of the top schools in the country for teaching.

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