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Saturday, September 26, 2015

RECAP: Highlands-Simon Kenton

Simon Kenton sends Highlands to fourth straight loss

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior linebacker Luke Lindeman (98) sacks Simon Kenton quarterback Cameron Racke (10) while Jared Dougherty closes in.
INDEPENDENCE - Just after the game started, a rainbow appeared in the sky and many from Fort Thomas thought it may have been the sign of hope the Highlands Bluebirds football team needed.

But after the rainbow disappeared and the first quarter came to an end, the nightmare came back.
The Pioneers scored 42 straight to hand the Bluebirds their fourth straight defeat, 42-3 in the first meeting between the two teams since 1998.

Highlands put up a fight with the heavily favored Simon Kenton Pioneers in the first quarter.

"We told our kids all week they were going to play hard and they were going to play to win. We can't overlook anyone and take anyone for granted," said Jeff Marksberry, Simon Kenton Head Coach. "They responded to the caution."

Simon Kenton stayed undefeated at 6-0 while Highlands fell to 1-5 continuing its worst start to a season since 1939. The Bluebirds last lost four in a row in 1948.

The Bluebirds could not contain Pioneer senior running back Dillion Powell after the first quarter. Powell ran behind the stellar Pioneer offensive line for 189 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns.

Simon Kenton outgained Highlands, 400-239 in total offense. The Pioneers took advantage of good field position intercepting six Bluebird passes. Junior Trent Kincaid picked off three passes for the Pioneers and junior defensive back Casey Mitchell had two with Taylor Galbraith recording the other one.

"They did a good job getting into the fast-paced tempo," said Shelby Jones, Highlands Defensive Coordinator. "It prevented us from getting guys in and getting a good rotation. We'll look at the tape, figure out what we did well and build on that."

Junior quarterback Cameron Racke completed 12-of-16 passes for 141 yards for the Pioneers. Tanner Green and Luke Vance had four catches each for Simon Kenton for 53 and 38 yards respectively.

Austin Hergott completed 16-of-33 passes for 106 yards and five interceptions. Nick Kendall again led the Bluebirds with seven catches for 34 yards and 49 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Highlands drove deep into Simon Kenton territory to start the game before Kincaid recorded his first interception inside the Pioneer 20. But Highlands held on defense. Luke Lindeman made a sack on the second series for the Pioneers on fourth down.

"We just have to keep getting better," Jones said. "We're slowly eliminating the mistakes we're making, but we're still making some mistakes. We have to completely eliminate the mistakes. When you have a good football team, they're going to take advantage of the mistakes you make. Their quarterback is real solid."

A gutsy call set up their only points off the game when Jared Dougherty ran for 37 yards on a fake punt. He then booted a 42-yard field goal with 46.3 seconds left in the game.

The lead did not last long. Powell ran left for a 52-yard touchdown just before time expired in the first quarter. Aiden McNamara kicked the extra point for Simon Kenton to give the Pioneers a 7-3 lead.

"I think our kids played a little tight in the beginning," Marksberry said. "That's what I told them when they came off the field after the first couple drives. It's not every year you get a chance to (beat Highlands)."

The Pioneers added three touchdowns in the second quarter to go up 28-3 at halftime. Powell had a 4-yard run with 7:03 left in the quarter. Racke completed an 11-yard touchdown to Vance with 5:54 left in the half before Dylan Hampton scored from 22 yards out with 1:10 left in the half.

Simon Kenton scored its other two touchdowns in the third. Powell had two 5-yard touchdown runs with 5:54 and 3:24 left in the quarter. The second score forced the running clock against Highlands for the third time this season.

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