Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bluebird Notebook: Highlands handles adversity well

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands senior linebackers Jacob Noe (left) and Rocco Pangallo (right) try to intercept a pass in Friday's game at Lexington Bryan Station. The Bluebirds moved to 2-0 with the 47-41 win over the Defenders.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team does not trail much.

But the Bluebirds had to come back from down 15 in the second quarter to beat the host Bryan Station Defenders, 47-41 on Friday. They trailed 28-13 at one point of that quarter.

It had a similar ending to the Class 5A first-round playoff game in 2008. Quarterback Tony Guidugli found Austin Collinsworth for a late score to give the Bluebirds a 28-22 win on their way to the state championship that year. This year, Highlands quarterback Beau Hoge found Alex Veneman for a 46-yard touchdown with 1:45 left in the game for the game-winning score.

The Bluebirds did not trail much all last season. They did for a good part of the 4A state championship game against Collins in addition to the games against Cincinnati Elder and University Christian (Fla.).

Better on Yellow Flags:

Highlands struggled with penalties in the season-opener at Campbell County. The Bluebirds had 14 penalties for 112 yards against the Camels.

But against Bryan Station, Highlands had just two for 20 yards. Bryan Station had nine for 127 including a number of 15-yard penalties. The first came for spiking the ball after an incomplete pass. They also had a crucial hold and facemask penalty in the clutch.

Playing the best:

Bryan Station is trying to build its program by playing some of the best teams in Kentucky. The Defenders also have lost to Louisville St. Xavier and have a game with Lexington Catholic remaining on the schedule before facing their Class 6A, District 7 opponents.

Records vs. Lexington Schools:

Highlands improved to 23-9-2 all-time against squads from Lexington. The Bluebirds are 5-1 against Bryan Station.

Highlands has mostly faced Lafayette and leads that series 9-5-2. The Bluebirds are 6-1 against Lexington Catholic, 2-0 against Dunbar and 2-2 against Henry Clay.

Struggling next two opponents:

Highlands welcomes winless John Hardin and Paducah Tilghman to Fort Thomas the next two weeks. This marks the first time either team has played at Cecil Memorial after the Bluebirds made their first-ever visits to their places last year.

The Bulldogs come into the game after dropping a 27-25 decision to defending Class 6A runner-up Meade County. John Hardin lost 24-19 to Louisville Seneca to open the season then dropped a 45-12 decision at county rival Central Hardin.

Paducah Tilghman fell 47-21 at Mayfield on Friday. The Blue Tornado have a new head coach in Mike Rogers after former Tilghman quarterback and head coach Randy Wyatt resigned in the offseason. Rogers came over from Warren Central.

Class 4A Notes:

The Boyle County Rebels have started off the year 3-0. They welcomed back former head coach Chuck Smith after Larry French left for Pulaski Southwestern. They took care of in-town rival Danville, 24-7 on Friday.

Defending state champion Collins is off to a rough start. The Titans are 0-3 following a 38-10 loss to Louisville Ballard.

Lexington Catholic is 1-2 following a 34-24 loss at Lafayette on Friday. The Knights also lost to Bowling Green at home the previous week. The three-time defending 5A champion Purples have won 47 in a row following a 6-0 overtime win against Louisville St. Xavier. They are three wins away from tying Louisville Trinity’s record of 50 straight wins.

Highlands Volleyball:
Ladybirds drop first game of September Slam:

Highlands fell 2-1 (23-25, 25-23, 15-8) to Simon Kenton to open the September Slam Tournament at Scott. The Ladybirds (3-5) had beaten the Lady Pioneers earlier in the season.

Highlands continues the tournament at 10 a.m. today against Oldham County. Game time is 10 a.m.

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