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Friday Football Roundup: Ryle wins rematch with Cooper behind efficient offensive performance

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

When your offense makes plays and avoids takeaways during a football game, your team usually comes out on top. That’s what happened Friday night when Ryle defeated Cooper, 49-20, in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.


Ryle pass receiver Bryce Ashley races down the sideline to score his team’s first touchdown in the win over Cooper. (Photo by Lisa Smith)

The Raiders scored on six of their nine offensive possessions and committed only one turnover in the victory that extended their perfect record to 12-0 and put them in next week’s regional finals.

Cooper wasn’t nearly as efficient on offense. The Jaguars turned the ball over three times and one fumble was returned for a touchdown by Ryle linebacker Jackson High.

“When you play really good football teams like Ryle you can’t afford to make mistakes and we had too many of them,” said Cooper coach Randy Borchers. “Give them all the credit in the world, they made plays when they needed to and we didn’t.”

Ryle senior quarterback Tanner Morgan threw the 100th touchdown pass of his high school career to Bryce Ashley on their team’s first possession, but the Raiders’ offense did the rest of their scoring on the ground. Junior running back Jake Chisholm rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Morgan and Cole Burch also scored on running plays.

Cooper had 355 yards in total offense compared to Ryle’s 328. But the Raiders maintained their possessions and put the ball in the end zone more frequently than the Jaguars.

“We definitely executed well on the offensive side and the defense stuck to their game plan and succeeded, holding them to 20 points,” Chisholm said. “Both sides of the ball really stepped up (Friday) and executed well.”

After Ryle took a 21-7 lead on a touchdown run by Morgan late in the second quarter, Cooper moved the ball to the 6-yard line with the help of a couple penalties called against the Raiders. With one second left in the first half, the Jaguars went for a touchdown instead of a field goal, but the pass was dropped in the end zone.

Ryle coach Mike Engler thought that was a crucial play because his team went into halftime with a 14-point lead.

“That (play) could’ve made it a seven-point game and they would’ve gotten the ball to start the second half,” Engler said. “Anytime you can stop them on the goal line it’s a plus.”

Late in the third quarter, the Jaguars scored on a 5-yard run by Jaden Jackson that cut Ryle’s lead to 28-14 and then recovered an onside kick near midfield. But Cooper’s chances of making a comeback were dashed once again when High scored on a 25-yard fumble return.

“On that onside kick, all that was going through my head was,  “Man, we better not let them come back,” Chisholm said. “But our defense really stepped up. That was a really big moment for us.”

Cooper senior quarterback Jarod Lonaker had 202 yards passing and 78 yards rushing in his final high school game. He also had one fumble and one interception. His only touchdown pass was a 38-yard strike to senior wide receiver Dante Hendrix in the fourth quarter.

Ryle will play Scott County (10-2) in a regional final next Friday in Georgetown. Cooper finishes the season with a 7-5 record.

COOPER   0     7  7   6 – 20
RYLE        7   14  14  14 – 49

R – Ashley 39 pass from Morgan (Molique kick)
C – Lonaker 1 run (Hollifield kick)
R – Chisholm 1 run (Molique kick)
R – Morgan 25 run (Molique kick)
R – Chisholm 17 run (Molique kick)
C – Jackson 5 run (Hollifield kick)
R – High 25 fumble return (Molique kick)
C – Hendrix 38 pass from Lonaker (kick blocked)
R – Chisholm 74 run (Molique kick)
R – Burch 23 run (Molique kick)
RECORDS: Ryle 12-0, Cooper 7-5

Covington Catholic 48, Louisville Doss 21

Covington Catholic advanced to the regional finals of the Class 5A football playoffs for the sixth consecutive year with the win over Louisville Doss on Friday in Park Hills.

The Colonels took a 41-7 lead in the first half and were able to rest their starters after running back Casey McGinness scored his second touchdown on a 28-yard run early in the third quarter.

CovCath picked up 277 of its 329 total yards in the first half. Junior quarterback AJ Mayer completed 9 of 15 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 45 yards and two TDs.

CovCath (9-3) will play Fern Creek (10-2) in the regional finals on Friday in Louisville. If the Colonels win that game, they’ll be in the semifinals of the state playoffs for the first time since 2006 when they won the Class 3A title.

Highlands eliminated CovCath in the Class 5A state semifinals the last five years.

COVCATH     21 20 7  0 – 48
DOSS             0   7 0 14 – 21

C – McGinness 27 run (Kloska kick)
C – Best 9 run (Kloska kick)
C – Mayer 1 run (Kloska kick)
C – Kloska 27 FG
C – Kloska 31 FG
C – Butler 27 pass from Mayer (Kloska kick)
D -Traynor 80 pass from Pumphrey (Rodriguez kick)
C – Mayer 36 run (Kloska kick)
C – McGinness 28 run (Kloska kick)
D – Knight-Goff fumble recovery (Rodriguez kick)
D – Wilson 12 run (Rodriguez kick)
RECORDS: CovCath 9-3, Doss 6-6

Simon Kenton 57, Campbell County 14

Simon Kenton scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to take control of the Class 6A playoff game that was tied at halftime.

The biggest play during the Pioneers’ scoring binge was a 92-yard touchdown pass from Cam Racke to Luke Vance. That was one of three TD passes Vance caught during the game. He also scored on a 20-yard run.

Simon Kenton finished with 537 yards of total offense compared to Campbell County’s 235. The Pioneers had 285 passing yards with Racke completing 6 of 10 for 159 yards and Matt Shearer completing 4 of 5 for 126 yards.

Simon Kenton (11-1) will visit Lexington Lafayette (11-1) in the regional finals on Friday. Last year, Lafayette defeated Simon Kenton, 42-28, in a state semifinal game to hand the Pioneers their only loss of the season.

CAMPBELL CO.     7   7  0   0 – 14
SIMON KENTON  8   6  29 14 – 57

CC – Hoeh 3 run (kick good)
SK – Vance 16 pass from Racke (Vance pass from Racke)
SK – Vance 20 run (run failed)
CC – Dowds 1 run (kick good)
SK – Kreidenweis 5 pass from Racke (Racke run)
SK – Hayden 31 pass from Shearer (Seger kick)
SK – Vance 92 pass from Racke (run failed)
SK – Hampton 43 run (Murray run)
SK – Vance 75 pass from Shearer (Seger kick)
SK – Sergent 34 run (Seger kick)
RECORDS: Simon Kenton 11-1, Campbell County 4-8.

Beechwood 44, Louisville Holy Cross 0

Aiden Justice caught a touchdown pass and rushed for 99 yards and three TDs to lead Beechwood to victory in the Class 1A playoff game.

The Tigers had 281 yards of offense and limited Holy Cross to 35 to post their third shutout of the season. The Louisville team managed to get just eight yards rushing and four first downs during the game.

Beechwood (11-1) will take an eight-game winning streak into the regional final against Kentucky Country Day (10-2) next Friday in Ft. Mitchell.

HOLY CROSS       0   0  0  0 – 0
BEECHWOOD    16 14  7  7 – 44

B – Justice 30 pass from Burch (Mescher kick)
B – Safety
B – Justice 21 run (Mescher kick)
B – Justice 36 run (Mescher kick)
B – Castleman 5 run (Mescher kick)
B – Justice 2 run (Mescher kick)
B – Davis 1 run (Mescher kick)
RECORDS: Beechwood 10-1, Holy Cross 7-4

Holy Cross 13, Walton-Verona 10

Xavier Abernathy scored the winning touchdown for Holy Cross on a 5-yard run with 6:46 left in the Class 2A playoff game.

Walton-Verona took a 3-0 lead on a 20-yard field goal by Jeremy Morgan in the first quarter and extended it to 10-0 when Scott Pettyjohn scored on a 23-yard run early in the second quarter.

Derrick Barnes scored the Indians’ first TD on a 39-yard run in the second quarter, but they remained behind for most of the second half.

Holy Cross finished with a 255-191 advantage in total yardage. Both teams had problems sustaining drives, partly due to turnovers. Holy Cross fumbled twice and had a pass intercepted. Walton-Verona lost the ball on one fumble and one interception.

Holy Cross (9-3) advances to the regional final to take on Newport Central Catholic (7-5) next Friday in Newport. Walton-Verona ends the season with a 7-5 record.

Scott County 46, Conner 19

Scott County won the Class 6A playoff game with a strong rushing attack that picked up 267 yards and scored six of the team’s seven touchdowns.

The Cardinals scored five rushing touchdowns in the first half to open up a 32-6 lead. One of the scoring plays was a 50-yard breakaway run by Brice Fryman, who ended up with 114 yards on 10 carries and four TDs.

Conner wide receiver Brian Manning caught two touchdown passes from Walker Buelow in the second half to account for most of their team’s points.

The Cougars finish the season with a 9-3 record. Scott County (10-2) will play Ryle (12-0) in a regional final next week in Georgetown.

Fern Creek 39, Dixie Heights 6

Fern Creek senior quarterback Shamar Bryant threw three touchdown passes in the first half of the Class 5A playoff game when his team took a 24-0 lead and the Tigers extended it to 39-0 before Dixie Heights got on the scoreboard.

The Colonels’ only touchdown came on a 15-yard pass from Noah Smedley to Giante Hicks in the fourth quarter.

Dixie Heights bows out with a 6-5 record. Fern Creek (10-2) will host Covington Catholic (9-3) in next week’s regional final.

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