Saturday, October 25, 2014

Who might the Bluebirds play in the first round of 4A playoffs?


Allen Ramsey Photos. In the top photo, the Highlands student section dressed in orange to show support for freshman Brady Walz, who is battling Leukemia. The bottom photo shows Highlands junior wide receiver Mitch Cain (16) trying for extra yards in Friday's game against Cincinnati Elder. Elder won 49-35.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The Highlands Bluebirds football team just can’t seem to find ways to beat the Cincinnati Elder Panthers consistently.

They dropped to 1-7 all-time against Elder (6-3) with a 49-35 defeat in Fort Thomas. Their lone win against the Panthers came three years ago on Oct. 21, 2011 at The Pit, 34-29.

Donovan McCoy, playing for the injured Patrick Towles, quarterbacked the Bluebirds to victory. McCoy threw the game-winning touchdown pass to David Christian as the Bluebirds went 15-0 in their last undefeated season.

While the Panthers have won all but one of the eight meetings between the schools just a drive over the Ohio River from each other, the games have been within 14 points in all but the 1999 meeting. Elder won that one, 35-14.

Highlands Injury Notes:

Highlands seniors Josh Watson and Andrew Abner appear done for the season. Watson reinjured his right leg against Elder and Abner was hurt on the second-to-last play of the game. Trainers wrapped up Abner’s leg heavily and took him inside. Watson missed all of last season because of a torn Anterior Cruciated Ligament.

Linebacker Conner Welsch also did not play Friday and senior tight end Jack Telek is still questionable after he tore his ACL in a scrimmage against Louisville Trinity.

Lack of yellow flags:

The officials did not threw any penalty flags in the first half even though Elder appeared to commit a couple late hits and numerous holding penalties.

The first one came in the first couple of minutes when the Panthers committed a personal foul penalty. The Panthers had four for 27 yards compared to none for the Bluebirds.

Playoff Picture:

Unlike the previous few years, the Bluebirds do not know who their first-round 4A playoff opponent will because of what happened in the District 8-4A race.

The Green County Musketeers ventured to Boyd County and won 18-17 on Friday. That left those two and Rowan County (1-8) tied for third in the district standings with 1-3 records. But the Musketeers (3-6) will travel to Covington Catholic in the first round because of overall wins

Highlands has played Boyd County (2-7) for the previous three seasons. The Bluebirds have beaten the Lions a combined 189-27 during that time.

The Bluebirds may still face the Lions a fourth straight year. The Lions can wrap up that chance with a win over Tolisa (West Virginia) on Friday or a Rowan County loss at Montgomery County.

The Johnson Central Golden Eagles won 8-4A with a 42-7 win over Ashland Blazer (5-4) on Friday. The Golden Eagles could wrap up another undefeated regular season with a win at home against defending Class 3A champion Belfry (8-1).

Johnson Central will play host to Harrison County (0-9) in the first round. Ashland plays host to Covington Holmes (2-7).

Class 4A Notes:

The Lexington Catholic Knights (6-3) continued to roll on Friday. They beat Marion County to wrap up an undefeated run through District 5-4A.

Boyle County (8-1) and Owensboro (8-1) also won Friday and remain state contenders. Owensboro downed Hopkins County Central, 56-7 and Boyle County rolled over Mercer County, 51-0.

Rallying for Brady:

Highlands fans did an “orange out” in the stands for freshman Brady Walz. He was diagnosed with leukemia in May.

Walz has huge family connections in Fort Thomas. His uncle is University of Louisville womens’ basketball coach Jeff Walz and his aunt is Highlands girls basketball Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey. Walz’ grandfather Roger quarterbacked the Bluebirds to back-to-back state championships in 1960 and 1961.

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