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Friday, September 1, 2017

Highlands-Scott County Gamer

Cardinal Wing-T Attack Overpowers Bluebirds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Casey Green (36) jumps on a fumble while Mason Schwalbach (94) closes in during an onside kick in the first quarter against Scott County on Thursday.
The game change to one day earlier saved it from a potential rain-out.

But it did not help the Highlands Bluebirds football team in terms of preparing for the vaunted Scott County traditional Wing-T offense. The Cardinals (3-0 overall) executed it full-throttle to the tune of 568 yards on 50 plays for an average of 11.36 yards per play on their way to a convincing 71-20 non-region win over the Bluebirds (2-1) on Thursday at Georgetown College.

"We don't have a choice," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "Nobody on our schedule is feeling sorry for us. We have to come back (Friday) and figure it out."

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Highlands especially had no answer for the sweep plays. The Cardinals rushed for 414 yards on 40 carries for an average of just more than 10 yards per play. The balanced Cardinal running game saw four players rush for at least 64 yards. Senior Brice Fryman led the way going for 177 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns. Junior Payton Brown added three touchdowns on seven carries for 76 yards and Austin Barnett had 65 yards rushing on 11 carries and a touchdown.

Scott County threw the ball more than it did in the 31-21 win over Lexington Lafayette. Senior quarterback Josh Davis completed 7-of-10 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Glenn Covington had six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

It did not help that Highlands played without some regular contributors, especially at linebacker. Sophomore Brycen Huddleston hopes to return by the Covington Catholic game. Logan Sparks and Alex Starkey also did not play Thursday.

"We'll watch the film and figure it out," Weinrich said. "Whoever plays has to be ready to go. That's not an excuse whatsoever. I thought we played hard. We had a few breaks that didn't go our way that could have turned the game one way or the other. We have to figure out a way to get some guys healthy, get some depth and get better."

Highlands wound up with 377 yards on 69 carries for an average of about 5.5 yards per play. Highlands had 244 yards passing as Carl Schoellman completed 16-of-26 passes and two touchdowns with an interception. Senior Nick Veneman led the way with 105 yards on three receptions and his first touchdown of the year. Jared Wogan added three catches for 38 yards and Nate Roberts had a 19-yard touchdown reception.

Highlands did move the ball on the ground with Cooper Schwalbach some before he left with an injury. Schwalbach finished with 48 yards on nine carries and a touchdown and three catches for 28 yards. Sawyer Depp finished with 66 yards on 15 carries.

"We left a couple of touchdowns in the red zone. We can't do that. We have to find a way to get it in there," said Zach Deaton, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "A few inches here and there and it's a different scenario going into the third quarter."

Highlands converted just 4-of-15 on third down for 27 percent and 3-of-6 on fourth down for 50 percent. Scott County converted 2-of-4 times on third down for 50 percent and converted its lone fourth-down chance on its opening drive.

Scott County went up 21-0 in the first quarter before Schwalbach scored from a yard out to make it 21-7 Cardinals. Highlands then executed an onside kick and Casey Greene recovered it. Highlands drove into the red zone but fumbled the ball to the Cardinals in the end zone.

The Cardinals extended their lead to 35-13 at halftime. Veneman took a nice pass over the middle from Schoellman in the third quarter to trim the margin to 41-20. Scott County led 57-22 after the third quarter. Scott County added two touchdowns.

Highlands plays host to Ryle a week from Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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