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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Highlands-Cooper Sidebar

Bluebird Defensive Improvements Show in Win

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior defensive back Joe Steiden (27) records one of his four interceptions against Cooper on Friday. That is a new school record for most interceptions in a game.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands Head Coach Brian Weinrich (center) goes over strategy with Highlands senior defensive lineman Nick Biltz (77) and the defense Friday. The Bluebirds did a great job swarming to the ball all game defensively.
It turned into a performance for the ages for the Highlands defense Friday.

The Bluebirds more than gave people a reason to forget about last year for the time being in a 42-22 victory over the host Cooper Jaguars on Friday. Highlands picked off five Cooper passes, set up the Bluebird offense in Cooper territory and let the offense help the Bluebirds pull away in the Skyline Crosstown Showdown.

Senior Joe Steiden picked off four of those passes. That surpassed last year's total of three interceptions for the year. Steiden set a school record for the most interceptions in a game as a result.

Steiden tied 13 other players on the list for the third-most interceptions in a game in Kentucky history. Former Kentucky Academy player Read Gibson Thielmeier recorded four interceptions in two games in 1971. A number of Highlands players recorded three interceptions in a game.

Highlands senior Harrison Traylor also had an interception. He returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.

The state record is six in a game accomplished by Stephen Columbia of George Rogers Clark against neighboring Montgomery County in 2001 and four other players picked off five passes in a game. Jeff Kremer, a 1984 Highlands graduate, holds the school records for most interceptions in a career and season. Kremer recorded 21 career interceptions including 12 in 1981.

The state record for most interceptions in a game as a team is eight. Four teams have accomplished this most recently with Shelby County against Jeffersontown on Sept. 21, 2001.

Winning Season Openers:

Highlands had lost just one season opener dating back to 2002. It came on the same field two years ago in a 37-13 loss. The Bluebirds and Jaguars had not faced each other until then despite Cooper winning two region championships in 2012 and 2014 to go with a Class 5A state runner-up finish in 2012. Cooper opened up in 2008 to alleviate overcrowding in the other three Boone County high schools.

Another Milestone:

The Bluebirds became the second team in the country to record 880 victories in a season. Highlands is 880-243-26 in 103 years as a program.

The only team with more wins in program history than Highlands in the Valdosta Wildcats located in south Georgia owns a 913-224-34 record. The Bluebirds gained a game on the Wildcats on Friday as the Wildcats lost 45-0 to the cross-town rival Lowndes County Vikings. That marked the largest margin of victory by either squad in the Winnersville Classic.

Highlands could eclipse the 890 milestone with a nice regular season and deep playoff run later in the season. The Bluebirds would need to hit the double-digit mark in victories for the first time in three years to do that.

Around Class 5A, District 5:

The district came plays away from finishing 3-0 on the evening. Covington Catholic handled Ryle, 49-17 in its first home game ever under the lights, but Cambpell County nipped Dixie Heights, 27-23.

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