A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

2016 Prep Football Previews: CovCath quarterback confident he can improve on passing numbers

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 Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

AJ Mayer’s first season as Covington Catholic’s starting quarterback looks good on paper. He passed for 1,974 yards and rushed for 641 to account for more than half of the Colonels’ total offense.

Now that he feels comfortable in the position, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior expects to do even better the next two seasons.

AJ Mayer CovCath copy

AJ Mayer provided more than half of CovCath’s total offensive yards last season with his passing and rushing. (Photo by Terry Boehmker)

“Once you go in there, you realize how quick everything is,” Mayer said of his transition to varsity football. “It’s definitely a whole new experience, but you get used to it eventually. I definitely learned a lot more as the year went on, especially with coach (Eddie) Eviston. He teaches me a lot.”

In his first year as head coach at CovCath, Eviston was able to share what he learned playing quarterback in high school and college with the varsity newcomer. That had a lot to do with Mayer’s successful season.

Mayer said the coach would sometimes pull him aside during practice sessions to make sure he understood how to run a play or knew what to do in a certain situation. He made some mistakes early on, but he got better as the season progressed.

“He’s handled it all really well,” coach Eviston said. “He’s very coachable so our expectations are really high for him.”

Mayer also played varsity basketball and baseball during his sophomore year at CovCath. Instead of playing baseball on a select team this summer, however, he went to football camps for college prospects.

He wants to play football at the next level and he has two more years to improve his recruiting resume as quarterback of CovCath’s rather sophisticated spread offense.

“Within our offense, there’s a lot of things you need to pick up on, little intricacies that you need to be able to learn that willl slow the game down for you mentally,” Eviston said. “I fully expect now that he’s contained all that information and processed it he’s going to be much better off.”

An experienced offensive line and several returning pass receivers should also help Mayer improve on last year’s 49.3 pass completion percentage that included 12 interceptions.

One of the tackles on the offensive line will be Hunter Zieglemeyer, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound senior who’s drawing interest from major college recruiters even though he was injured most of last season.


“We had a lot of injuries up front last year so a lot of (other) guys got reps,” coach Eviston said. “So in essence we do have a lot of guys with game experience coming back and that’s huge in our offense. If (Mayer) can just go through his progressions and reads (on pass plays) without having pressure we should be able to execute better and not have to make stuff up on the fly.”

Mayer was able to get yardage running the ball on several broken pass plays last season. He ended up being the team’s leading rusher, but he doesn’t want to carry the ball nearly as much this year.

“I’m a smarter quarterback and I’m a little bit quicker with better footwork so I can get the ball out quicker,” he said. “But it’s definitely better when you drop back (to pass) to have senior linemen instead of rookies blocking for you.”

Mayer is the main reason CovCath averaged 338 yards and 25 point per game last year, but the team still finished with a 5-8 record. The Colonels need to improve their defensive performance instead of trying to outscore opponents.

But Eviston expects college recruiters to be impressed with Mayer’s quarterback skills no matter how many yards and touchdowns he ends up with this season.

“He’s worked hard over the summer to get ready,” Eviston said. “With only a little bit of free time after (high school) baseball ended, he pushed himself to get better as quarterback. He went to recruiting camps to get his name out there. With two more years of varsity left, I fully expect more college recruiters to show their faces around here and start looking him up.”


2015 SEASON: 5-8 record, lost in third round of Class 5A playoffs.
DISTRICT: Class 5A, District 5 with Dixie Heights, Grant County and Highlands.
HEAD COACH: Eddie Eviston (40-16 in four seasons overall, 5-8 in one season at CovCath).

Aug. 19 – at Ryle, 7:30 p.m..
Aug. 25 – vs. Oak Hills (Ohio) at Mount St. Joseph University, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – SYCAMORE (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – LEXINGTON CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 – BEECHWOOD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 – at St. Francis DeSales (Ohio), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 – at Grant County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 – DIXIE HEIGHTS, 1 p.m.
Oct. 28 – vs. Scott County at Dixie Heights, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:
Dixie Heights



Related Posts

Leave a Comment