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2017 Prep Football Previews: With skill players back, Campbell County expects more success this season

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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 Evan Merrill
NKyTribune contributor

With the top three offensive players on last year’s team returning, Campbell County senior quarterback Austin Hoeh expects the Camels to return to respectability after back-to-back losing seasons as a Class 6A team.

Campbell County senior quarterback Austin Hoeh had more than 2,000 passing yards last season. (Photo from Campbell County football team’s photographer)

“We’ve got to stay positive and focused,” Hoeh said. “We’ve just got to keep rolling with it. If we just play our game, I believe we can hang with anybody.”

Last year, Campbell County got off to a 3-3 start and then lost five of its final six games, which coach Stephen Lickert attributed to several season-ending injuries.

“There were some difference-makers defensively that were injured and out for the year,” Lickert said. “In the playoff game, we had nine underclassmen on the field at a time.”

Hoeh passed for 2,238 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. The team’s other returning skill players are running back Alex Dowds, who rushed for 795 yards, and wide receiver Nic Mayer, who had 1,020 yards in pass receptions.

Hoeh will have full command of the offense once again. He’ll be a determining factor in the Camels’ success after finishing 4-8 and 1-10 the last two years.

“You got to be the leader,” Hoeh said. “You got to guide everybody. If something goes wrong, you got to get them back up, can’t just leave them behind. I love having control of what’s going on. It’s a nice feeling being the guy the team can count on. I love it.”

The Camels’ defense is a real concern after allowing 32 points 335 yards per game last season. The returning  starters on that side of the ball include junior safety Reid Jolly, senior cornerback Garrett Fleckenstein and Dowds at linebacker.

“We were very young defensively (last year),” coach Lickert said. “Those guys really understand their roles (now). At the most, defense is about athleticism — being athletic enough to run to the ball, being physical enough to get off a block and go make a play, being disciplined enough to read your key every single play. When it comes to that stuff, that year of experience that our guys gained is going to be huge for them.”

If the Camels do rebound and post a winning record, it will be quite an accomplishment when you look at their schedule.

“We didn’t make it any easier on ourselves this year,” coach Lickert said. “We picked up Mt. Healthy (Ohio) and Dixie Heights has been off of our schedule for the past couple years, but that’s always been a big game for us. We don’t have any weeks off, but we also feel we have a group of guys that can go into battle week-in and week-out.”

CAMPBELL COUNTY CAMELS
2016 SEASON:
4-8 record, lost in second round of Class 6A playoffs.
DISTRICT: Class 6A, District 6 with Boone County and Simon Kenton.
HEAD COACH: Steve Lickert (67-78 in 13 seasons overall, 30-40 in six seasons at Campbell County).

2017 SCHEDULE
Aug. 18 – DIXIE HEIGHTS, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 – NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 – at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 – at Ryle, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 – MOUNT HEALTHY (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 – at Conner, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 – at Simon Kenton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 – BOONE COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 – COVINGTON CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:
DAYTON GREENDEVILS
COVINGTON CATHOLIC COLONELS
BISHOP BROSSART MUSTANGS
WALTON-VERONA BEARCATS

COOPER JAGUARS
SCOTT EAGLES
LUDLOW PANTHERS
HIGHLANDS BLUEBIRDS
LLOYD JUGGERNAUTS
NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC  THOROUGHBREDS
NEWPORT WILDCATS

BOONE COUNTY REBELS
BELLEVUE TIGERS
BEECHWOOD TIGERS
CONNER COUGARS

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