|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore Bailey Armstrong (2) tries for a tackle while teammate John Buchanan (26) and Boone County's Jacob Cain (27) converge. Highlands beat Boone County, 48-28 on Friday.|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore offensive lineman Will Gastright (58) comes out for the pre-game.|
This will be a different playoff experience for the Blue and White.
For the first time in 21 years, the Highlands Bluebirds football team (3-7 overall) will hit the road for the first round of the playoffs. Highlands finished 1-2 in Class 5A, District 5 action this year and will travel to face District 4s second-seeded Louisville Doss Dragons (5-5) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Bluebirds have often played several at home having won 19 district championships over a 20-year period including four during last year's run to the state semi-finals and ninth straight region championship. The nine straight region crowns marks the longest current streak in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
But Highlands can learn some lessons from the last team that endured that fate in the 1995 Class 3A state runner-up squad. In Dale Mueller's second season as head coach, the Bluebirds had the third seed in district action after losing to both Ryle and Covington Holmes in district action that year. They had to travel near the West Virginia border to face the Lawrence County Bulldogs to open the playoffs, but came away with a 40-20 victory.
Should Highlands beat Doss, the Bluebirds might have to travel to Park Hills to face the Covington Catholic Colonels in the second round of the playoffs. Highlands did that in 1995 and came away with a 3-0 victory. The 1995 squad played host to Holmes in the region finals winning the rematch, 13-6 before taking down Tim Couch and Leslie County, 47-12 in the state semifinals. Bowling Green beat Highlands, 28-12 in the state championship game that year.
Looking at Doss:
District 4 is made of six teams out of Jefferson County Public Schools. Districts four and five were matched in region play this year as part of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association alignment rotation that involved Districts three, four, five and six. District 5 will take on District 3 next year. District 3 is made of teams from Bullitt, Oldham and Nelson Counties.
The Dragons went 4-1 in district action but struggled outside district play. They lost 41-20 to champion Fern Creek but played District 3 champion South Oldham tough in a 34-26 loss on Aug. 26.
Bowling Green still team to beat in 5A:
The Purples have lived up to high expectations so far finishing the regular season as the lone undefeated team in Class 5A with a perfect regular season beating McCracken County, 42-14 in Paducah on Friday. Bowling Green has won four of the previous five Class 5A state championships.
South Oldham also had a chance to finish undefeated. But the Dragons lost 33-32 at Shelby County on Friday.