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2016 Prep Football Previews: Boone County seniors striving for success to restore pride in program

The NKyTribune will be providing focused coverage of NKY high school football throughout the season, thanks to support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. See all of our pre-season features on each of NKY’s 21 high school football teams and follow our coverage, including roundups each week at Northern Kentucky High School Football.

By Evan Merrill
NKyTribune intern

The seniors on the Boone County football team have been through a lot. In their first three years, the Rebels had a 1-32 record, including a winless season in 2015. That’s left them with a burning desire to finish their high school careers on a high note.

Boone County quarterback

Boone County senior Devin Ruberg will take on the quarterback duties this season. (Photo by Evan Merrill)

“We have a great group of seniors this year,” said coach Marty Steele. “But their problem is they haven’t experienced success, so it’s important we experience success early.”

A lot will be riding on the arm of senior Devin Ruberg, who was moved from defensive back to quarterback to resurrect an offense that averaged just 11.7 points per game last season.

“I’m very confident in him at quarterback,” coach Steele said. “Hopefully, he just gets more confidence in himself. I tell him all the time we have all the confidence in the world in him. He just needs some (in himself).”

The coach is also counting on senior leadership from twins Colin and Logan Eickhoff on the offensive line and Jakob Crowell on the defensive line. They’re looking to reverse the program’s downward spiral before they graduate.

“We all just want to set a good foundation for the younger players, give them someone to look up to and keep them going,” Colin Eickhoff said.

Boone County once had a highly successful football program, posting winning records 17 of the 20 seasons from 1990 to 2009. The Rebels even made it to the semifinals of the Class 6A state playoffs in 2007.  That past tradition puts pressure on the current players to replicate the success many of their fathers experienced on earlier teams.

“I think they do feel pressure with some of their dads playing here in their great days,” said Steele, who’s also a former Boone County player. “They just need to get over that and if something bad happens don’t say, ‘Oh, here we go again.’”

Keeping a positive attitude and avoiding injuries are the two keys for the upcoming season, according to Steele. The seniors would like to get off to a good start by winning their opening game against Lexington Catholic on Aug. 19. The Rebels lost to the downstate team by a wide margin each of the last three seasons.

“A week one win helps everybody,” Steele said. “Getting a win there would definitely go a long way in getting us mentally prepared for the rest of the year. Physically, I feel we match up well with anybody. It’s just that mental aspect.”

St-E-Football-plug-768x249If the opening game doesn’t go their way, the Rebels need to stay mentally focused and confident that they can play with the remaining teams on their schedule.

“We could have competed with them the past couple years, it just didn’t go our way,” Ruberg said. “We have enough talent on our team to compete with everybody.”

The two most important games on Boone County’s schedule are against Class 6A district opponents Campbell County and Simon Kenton, a team that turned things around and won nine or more games in seven of the last eight seasons.

“It wasn’t long ago Simon Kenton was in this position trying to get a winning mentality, so it can be done,” coach Steele said.


2015 SEASON: 0-11 record, lost in first round of Class 6A playoffs.
DISTRICT: Class 6A, District 6 with Campbell County and Simon Kenton.
HEAD COACH: Marty Steele (0-11 in one season at Boone County).

Aug. 19 – at Lexington Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 – CONNER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – RYLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – LEXINGTON LAFAYETTE, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 – at South Oldham, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 – DIXIE HEIGHTS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 – at Simon Kenton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 – at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 – CAMPBELL COUNTY, 7 p.m..
Oct. 28 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:
Dixie Heights

Covington Catholic

Newport Central Catholic


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