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2017 Prep Football Previews: Newport lineman sees potential for good season despite limited numbers

The NKyTribune is featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2017 season on Aug. 18. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

There are only 27 players on the Newport football team’s roster so the coaching staff had to shuffle some of them into different positions during pre-season practice to fill holes in the offensive and defensive lineups. A few players griped about that, but junior Nate Turner maintained a positive attitude.

Nate Turner will be a two-way starter for Newport once again, but he’s adjusting to a new position on both sides of the ball. (Photo by Terry Boehmker)

“It’s all about helping the team out, actually,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me as long as it helps us win games.”

Last year, Turner was a two-way starter at left guard and defensive end for the Wildcats, who posted a 1-10 record for the second consecutive season.

The coaches switched him to right guard and nose guard for the upcoming 2017 season and the 6-foot, 230-pound junior is working hard to master both of his new positions.

“He’s a good-character kid. At the same time, he’s got a mean streak in him,” said Newport head coach Tim Viox. “He goes at it hard, and that’s why you’ve got to love a kid like that on your team. On the field, he’ll get after you.”

The coach said he moved Turner to right guard on offense to use his mobility as a blocker in a triple-option formation. The Wildcats definitely need to do a better job moving the ball than last year when they averaged only 151.8 yards and 10.8 points per game.

“Really, your best linemen are at the guards in the triple-option,” Viox said. “He’s playing the right side because we have a right-handed quarterback and most of the time we’ll go right. People will pick up on that when they play us, but we’ll mix it up as much as we can.”

As a nose guard on defense, Turner’s primary responsibility will be plugging the inside running lanes. Last year, opponents averaged 288 rushing yards per game against the Wildcats. But he doubts if his move to the new position had anything to do with how well he played last year at defensive end.

“I’d like to say that, but it’s really because we don’t have many guys,” Turner said. “Honestly, coach told me I have to work on my speed. But we just don’t have very many big guys with experience who can play on the defensive line.”

Turner said the team has adopted the slogan, “It’s a new Newport,” going into this season. Despite their limited numbers, he sees the potential to improve on last year’s 1-10 record and be a contender for the Class 2A district title.

“I feel like, honestly, if we get the right attitude we can do better,” he said. “We just have to work on our teamwork, but I think, no pun intended, we can tackle any challenge.”

The Wildcats will play their three district opponents — Lloyd, Holy Cross and Newport Central Catholic — in October. If the team comes together the way Turner hopes it will, beating crosstown rival NewCath would be a great accomplishment.

“My dad really loves talking about the good old days when he played football (for Newport),” Turner said. “He played in 1983 and his team beat NewCath that season. All I want is to beat NewCath again.”


2016 SEASON: 1-10 record, lost in first round of Class 2A playoffs.
DISTRICT: Class 2A, District 4 with Holy Cross, Lloyd and Newport Central Catholic.
HEAD COACH: Tim Viox (head coach 13 seasons at four schools, 2-20 in two seasons at Newport).

Aug. 25 – at Finneytown (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 – at Owen County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 – at Brossart, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 – at Ludlow, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 – FRANKFORT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 – BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 – LLOYD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 – at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 – HOLMES, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:




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  1. Teresa Turner says:

    Great features on our area athletes! And yes, I’m the biased mom!

  2. Chris Turner says:

    A new D coordinator, former Bengal Jimmy Turner, should improve the run defense. Stability at QB could help. We need marked improvement on special teams to really make some noise.
    Thanks Nate for mentioning your Dad.
    Have a great season. 100% effort on every play is all we ask.

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