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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bluebird Notebook: How did the younger players develop Friday?

Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands quarterback Beau Hoge (7) scored on a sweep right in the first quarter of Friday's game at Covington Holmes. Hoge completed 9-of-19 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the 36-0 Bluebird win.
Allen Ramsey Photo. Evidence shows that Alex Veneman (6) caught the ball with one foot in-bounds in the first quarter of Friday's District 7-4A game between Highlands and Covington Holmes. The officials ruled Veneman's catch out of bounds on the play. But Veneman still recorded six catches for 119 yards in the win.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

In lopsided contests, the younger Highlands Bluebirds earn some playing time.

That has been the case in all three district contests this year. Highlands (7-1 overall, 3-0 District 6-4A) hit the running clock in the three district contests and the wins over Paducah Tilghman and John Hardin.

“They practice all week too,” said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. “They’re excited about the change to get to play on a Friday night unlike their usual Saturday, which is a little different. It’s good for them.”

Some may be concerned about life after this season because the younger players have not been scoring in the second half like past years. The Bluebirds did not score in the second half against Harrison County or Covington Holmes. But the coaching staff is not concerned.

“They just need time and (reptititions),” Weinrich said. “There’s just not enough reps to go around. We have 100 guys so we try to take advantage of all of them. We try to get things in practice. We also play as many JV (junior varsity) games as we can. That’s how they’re going to get some confidence.”

Junior wide receiver TJ Sipple earned some playing time against Holmes. The Bluebird Junior Varsity entered Saturday’s contest at Cincinnati St. Xavier with a 1-3 record and the freshmen were 3-3 coming off a 43-0 domination of Boone County on Thursday.

“It’s pretty cool to get in after the ones do their job,” Sipple said. “We got that experience we need for next year and (following years), to get better and work out all the (kinks). We just need to get our confidence up some and get more excited about playing when we get in during the second half.”

Both Highland sub-varsity teams have two games left after Saturday. The junior varsity goes to Cincinnati Elder and plays host to Scott county the next two Saturdays and the freshmen take on Ryle and Dixie Heights the next two Thursdays.

Injury Report:

The Bluebirds saw a number of players not play Friday. That included junior defensive lineman Tyler Robinson, senior tight end Jack Telek, senior defensive back James Hinkel, senior linebacker Brady Murray and senior running back Griffin Urlage.

Robinson left during the first half of the game Saturday against Miami (Fla.) Christopher Columbus. But he expects to return this week.

Series Report:

Highlands improved to 51-20-2 all-time against the Bulldogs with the win.

The Bluebirds have met the Bulldogs more than any opponent in school history.

The Bluebirds have won 14 in a row in the series dating back to 1995, which marked Dale Mueller’s second year as head coach.

In 1995, Holmes edged Highlands, 27-25 during the regular season. But the Bluebirds came back to beat the Bulldogs, 13-6 in the region finals before losing to Bowling Green, 28-12 in the 3A title game.

Holmes will not be on the Highlands schedule next year. Holmes will stay in Class 4A while Highlands moves to 5A.

The next in line is Dixie Heights with 70 meetings. The Bluebirds are 62-8 against the Colonels all-time. The two have not played since 2011 and will resume their series next year in the same district in Class 5A.

Class 4A update:

Johnson Central improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in District 8-4A action with a 48-14 thumping of Rowan County on Friday. The Golden Eagles meet rival Ashland Blazer (5-3 overall, 3-0 district) for the district championship in Paintsville this Friday.

Aside from Highlands, four other schools have one loss in Class 4A. Owensboro and Boyle County are 7-1 while Franklin-Simpson and Knox Central are 6-1. Owensboro’s lone loss came to three-time defending 5A champion Bowling Green, 42-34 on Sept. 12. Owensboro led at halftime in that game.

Valdosta suffers first loss:

The Bluebirds had not gained anything on Valdosta (Georgia) in terms of all-time program wins. They in fact lost a game with the defeat against Christopher Columbus on Saturday.

But Valdosta lost its first game to South Georgia Region 1-AAAAAA rival Colquitt County, 48-20 on Friday at home. The Wildcats are 889-215-34 good for the most wins in the country while the Bluebirds are 862-228-26.

Up Next:

The Bluebirds take on Cincinnati Elder on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the regular season home finale. The Panthers come in at 5-3. They snapped a two-game losing streak with a narrow 28-21 win over Cincinnati Winton Woods on Friday. They suffered consecutive losses to Greater Catholic League South rivals Cincinnati St. Xavier (32-24) and Cincinnati Moeller (26-17).

Highlands has beaten Elder just once in seven tries. That came by a 34-29 count at Elder in 2011.

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