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2016 Prep Football Previews: Newport coach has team’s competitive fire burning once again

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

Nate Lloyd will be running the Newport football team’s triple-option offense in Friday’s opening game against Ludlow. He earned the quarterback position in pre-season practice even though he had never played there before.

Newport players

Newport senior Nate Lloyd, left, is the team’s new starting quarterback and Tyler Porter, right, is returning to a running back position this season. (Photo by Terry Boehmker)

“Right now, I’m a starter, but there’s always going to be competition on this team,” Lloyd said. “Just because someone’s a starter going into Game 1 doesn’t mean they’ll be a starter for Game 2. Everybody on this team is really hungry for a spot. They all want to shine on Friday night.”

That competitive attitude is one reason Tim Viox expects his second season as head coach of the Wildcats to go much better than the first. He has less than 35 players on the roster and more than half of them are sophomores and freshmen. But they’re a more cohesive team than the one that finished 1-10 last season.

“Coach Viox has been doing a whole bunch of stuff that’s made us come together more as a team,” said sophomore running back Tyler Porter. “Last year, when he came in (as head coach) it was real late and we all didn’t get along. This year, we got to know each other and it’s been working out a lot better.”

Viox was hired as head coach in mid-July last year and only had a few weeks to prepare the Wildcats for their opening game. After the season, however, he had several months to assess and train the returning players. Moving some of them to new positions was a part of that process.

“We’re giving people the ball who didn’t get it last year and they’re getting their opportunity to do what they can do,” Lloyd said.

Last season, Porter was the team’s quarterback in the last nine games. He ended up with 519 yards rushing and 353 yards passing. But Viox decided to use Porter as a running back this season and develop a quarterback who could execute the deceptive triple-option offense a little better.

St-E-Football-plug-768x249Lloyd, one of the few seniors on the team, decided to give it a try and won a close battle with sophomore Zach Wilson for the quarterback job.

“He’s not real confident yet, but he’s getting there,” Viox said of Lloyd’s transition to the quarterback position. “It’s been really close between him and Zach Wilson. As a coach, that’s a healthy situation. You know they’re both going to give it their best every day with that kind of competition thing going on.”

Active blocking schemes are a major part of the triple-option offense. Instead of blasting straight ahead when the ball is snapped, linemen have to shift and pull to make plays work.

Viox is glad to have sophomore linemen Nate Turner and Ken Vorhees returning from last season and he moved sophomore Charlie Smith into the center position during preseason practice.

“The center has to make all the blocking scheme calls and Charlie is pretty smart at doing that,” Viox said. “He kind of took up that role and that was a real pleasant surprise.”

The Wildcats’ new lineup got mixed reviews from the head coach after a scrimmage game against Dayton last week. He saw a few mistakes, but they ran the offense like they knew what they were doing.

When the players watched a video of the game, Tyler thought they “looked 10 times better than last year.”

“We’ve had all summer to work with it instead of just a few weeks like last year,” Lloyd said. “Going into the scrimmage, that made us more comfortable with it all instead of being confused.”


2015 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 12 seasons at four schools, 1-10 in one season at Newport).

Aug. 19 – LUDLOW, 7 p.m.
Aug. 26 – FINNEYTOWN (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – at Scott, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – at Bellevue, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 – OWEN COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 – BEECHWOOD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 – at Lloyd, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 – HOLY CROSS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 – HOLMES, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:
Dixie Heights

Covington Catholic

Newport Central Catholic
Boone County
Campbell County

Holy Cross

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