|Bluebird winning streak over arch-rivals stops at 15|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore wide receiver Nate Roberts makes a catch in Friday's game against Covington Catholic.|
The Highlands Bluebirds football team (1-7 overall, 0-2 Class 5A, District 5 hoped to resurrect something out of the long season with an upset win over the Covington Catholic Colonels on Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. Instead, the blue Colonels ended the 15-game losing streak to the Bluebirds with a convincing 63-26 victory dating back to 2006. The loss extended the longest losing streak for the Bluebirds since 1939 to seven straight.
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The Colonels ran a total of 62 plays for 595 yards of total offense averaging about 9.6 yards per play mostly on the ground. The bigger CovCath offensive line opened holes all game long allowing the Colonels to rush for 502 yards on 54 plays for an average of about 9.3 per touch.
CovCath sophomore running back Casey McGinness rushed the ball 17 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns for an average of about 13.2 yards per carry. Colonel junior quarterback AJ Mayer rushed the ball 16 times for 168 yards and four touchdowns for an average of 10.5 yards per carry.
"I have to give a lot of credit to (CovCath's) guys," said Shelby Jones, Highlands Defensive Coordinator. "We had opportunities to get (McGinness) in the backfield. He spins out and gets away from guys. They just make great plays. He's hard to get down. That makes it tough and their quarterback is as good as they come. He's just really smart and makes the right decisions. We just have to get better. That's all we can do."
Mayer could have hurt the Bluebirds through the air more, but the Colonels stuck with the running game building a huge lead like teams have done during this losing streak. Mayer completed 4-of-8 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. He hit McGinness down the middle for a 64-yard pass to set up the first Colonel score.
The Highlands offense struggled in the first half until late in the second quarter. The Bluebirds ran 84 plays for 451 yards for an average of 5.4 yards per play.
Highlands senior quarterback Brady Gosney again led the way completing 27-of-49 passes for 288 yards a touchdown and just one interception to CovCath senior defensive back Max Schrand for the game's lone turnover. Junior Braden Posey led the Bluebirds with nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Bluebird senior running back Grant Murray had a nice game. Murray rushed for 124 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. He averaged 5.9 yards per touch.
"Blown assignments is what it really comes down to," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "Once we settled down, we were able to move the ball on them. We had two botched punts that gave them great field possession in the first half. If you put all those things together, it puts you in a hole that's almost impossible to get out of against a team like that."
CovCath built a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. Mayer scored from a yard out twice before going in from 33 yards out and Matt Kloska hit all three extra-point attempts.
The Colonels made it 35-0 in the second quarter. Anthony Best scored from two yards out and McGinness broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run.
Highlands did score twice before halftime to trim the lead to 35-14. Gosney found Jared Wogan for an 11-yard touchdown and Pulsfort scored from 10 yards out.
The Bluebirds did have hope to start the third quarter. Murray ran around the left end for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half to cut the lead to 35-20.
But CovCath scored twice to end the third quarter to put the Colonels up 49-20. Dyer scored from three yards out and McGinness scored from 14 out.
Posey scored the last touchdown for the Bluebirds on a 5-yard pass from Gosney. But Mayer broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run and completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior Kameron Butler for the final score.
Highlands travels to Grant County (3-5, 0-2) on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m. in Dry Ridge.
Link to Box Score: