|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Jared Dougherty will take his talents to Lindsey Wilson College as a kicker and punter.|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Bo Hebel will also be going to Lindsey Wilson as an offensive lineman.|
It will continue Wednesday when Highlands seniors Jared Dougherty (6-feet-even, 210 pounds) and Bo Hebel (6-1.5, 315) will sign their letters of intent to continue their football careers at Lindsey Wilson College of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' Mid-South Conference West Division on Wednesday after school. They will join former teammate Lou Bunning. Bunning redshirted this past season on the offensive line there. Dougherty is looking at majoring in Business while Hebel may major in Education.
Dougherty and Hebel helped Highlands to an overall mark of 48-11 in their four years of high school. That includes two state championships, a state runner-up finish, four district championships and four region championships.
"One of the big impacts of Bo and I going there is probably Lou Bunning himself," Dougherty said. "We went down last Saturday and he introduced us to all the guys. That is probably one of the biggest things is getting to know the guys on the team and not just go down there and feel awkward."
They will go to a program on the rise. The Blue Raiders finished 8-3 this past season, made the NAIA playoffs for the second straight year and earned the program's first-ever top ranking. Lindsey Wilson finished 3-2 in MSC action.
"They call it championship culture," Dougherty said. "They're like Highlands. They can win and that's something I like to do."
In 2014, Lindsey Wilson posted a 10-3 record and won the MSC East Division crown for the first time in school history with a 6-0 record. The Blue Raiders also won the first-ever postseason game in school history before losing in the NAIA FCS National Quarterfinals.
Dougherty plans to kick and punt like he did at Highlands. Dougherty began kicking on the varsity level as a freshman. He hit 207 career point-after touchdown kicks to set a new Highlands and Northern Kentucky record. That mark is good for fifth in Kentucky history for most career PATs.
Dougherty made 11-of-16 field-goal tries last year with his long being 46 yards in addition to 46-of-47 extra-point tries. He also had 39 punts for about 1,400 yards for an average of 35.9 per kick. He'd like to have a hang time of between four and five seconds and pin opponents between the goal line and 20-yard line.
But Dougherty also made his mark at linebacker. He recorded 3.5 tackles for a loss of nine total yards and had an interception in the state semifinals against Pulaski County returning it 15 yards to set up a Highlands touchdown. Dougherty also recovered two fumbles.
Hebel started on the defensive line as a sophomore before moving to the offensive line as a junior. He will be an offensive lineman at Lindsey Wilson. He'd like to increase his bench presses from between 315 and 325 pounds to 350 and higher.
"I just have to keep improving my body, working hard every day at practice and earn my spot," Hebel said. "They're getting a lot of big time recruits. I really liked the people and coaches down there. It was something I wanted to be a part of."
Hebel saw action on both lines this year. He recorded 1.5 tackles for a loss for a total of three yards.
The program resumed in 2010 after a 75-year hiatus. The Blue Raiders under Head Coach Chris Oliver have gone 41-26 during that time.
There are three college commitments from this year's class so far. Quarterback Austin Hergott committed to Central Michigan University in the summer.