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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bluebirds fall on road to Cardinals

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior defensive lineman Luke Lindeman (center) runs back a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter of Friday's game against Scott County at Georgetown College.

GEORGETOWN - The script seemed a lot like the last meeting in 2012.

The host football team came out swinging like crazy and the visiting team could not respond. The initial result came in the form of a huge halftime lead that held up in the second half.

Scott County (3-0 overall), ranked fourth in the Class 6A Associated Press poll, took the fight to the visiting Highlands Bluebirds (1-2) and never looked back in the first half. The Cardinals led 40-0 at halftime and cruised to a 54-28 victory. That left Highlands with its first 1-2 start since 2002 and as many losses as last year's Class 4A state championship run.

"There's not much to say," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "We'll watch the film and get ready for Ryle."

Veteran Scott County Head Coach Jim McKee had not forgotten the 2012 meeting in Fort Thomas. Highlands led 47-14 at halftime en route to a 60-37 win. That was the first meeting between the two programs since 1979.

"I think in life you're never as good as you think you are and you're never as bad as you might think you are," McKee said. "(In 2012) At halftime, I said, 'Guys. They're better than us, but they're not that much better. Let's regroup and go out and try to win the second half.' It was kind of the same (Friday). We got off to such a fast start. We're not that much better than they are and they know that. We do have very talented skill people on the team."

The Highlands 3-4 defense could not stop the vaunted Scott County traditional Wing-T offense. Scott County outgained Highlands, 419-290 in total offense, including 230-197 on the ground. That total was 377-71 in favor of the Cardinals at halftime.

Senior fullback Noah Hughes led Scott County with seven rushes for 82 yards and senior halfback Keith Guy had five rushes for 63 yards. Scott County pounded Highlands up the middle before springing sweeps outside or play-action passes.

Defensively in its 3-4, Scott County kept the Highlands Spread offense in check. Senior Nick Kendall finished with 175 yards rushing on 17 carries mostly in the second half.

Highlands started junior Brady Gosney at quarterback allowing Austin Hergott's sprained right shoulder to heal. Gosney completed 9-of-25 passes for 93 yards. Chandler New led Highlands with three catches for 49 yards and Bradley Greene had three for 16.

Scott County scored in the first two minutes and never looked back. Hughes pulled off a 60-yard run to the Highlands 4 and Kendrick Hamilton scored. The extra-point try failed leaving the score 6-0 Scott County.

The Cardinals scored again with 4:39 left in the first. Jordan Darnell caught a long pass from sophomore quarterback Josh Davis and Guy scored from a yard out. Guy then scored on a 44-yard sweep with 3:27 left in the first quarter to put Scott County up 19-0.

Highlands tried to roll out on its next possession. But Hamilton picked up the fumble and scored from 15 yards out to put Scott County up 26-0.

The Cardinals had one more touchdown in the first quarter. Glenn Covington hauled in a 23-yard pass from Davis with 38.5 seconds left.

Davis had his lone touchdown with 8:01 left in the second quarter. That gave the Cardinals a 40-0 advantage.

"Our quarterback is good for a young kid and he makes good decisions," McKee said. "My son (Clay) was the quarterback the last three years. It was his second game ever up at Highlands and he threw a pick-six. I give him a hard time. This kid was ahead of where you were as a sophomore."

Highlands did win the second half. It started when Kendall broke off an 81-yard run out of the wildcat formation. Gosney then completed the two-point conversion to Greene to trim the margin to 40-8.

Scott County then fumbled and senior defensive lineman Luke Lindeman picked up the fumble and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 40-14 with 3:10 left. But Simon Bond returned the kickoff back 70 yards for a touchdown to put Scott County up 47-14 with 2:12 left in the third.

Kendall then recorded another touchdown on an 8-yard run before Bond recorded is second touchdown on a 14-yard score with 4:42 left in the game. Gosney ran a nice read-option left to make the final score with 49 seconds left.

Highlands plays two straight home games starting with Ryle on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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