A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Prep Sports Notebook: NewCath still reviewing candidates before making decision on football coach

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Newport Central Catholic has not officially hired a new head football coach, but there could be an announcement in the next few days.

Jimmy Ryan, the high school’s athletic director, sent an email Tuesday night that refuted online reports about Steve Lickert, the head coach at Campbell County the last seven seasons, getting the NewCath job.

Last season’s leading rusher Kyle Kelly is one of several returning starters for NewCath. (Photo by Greg Enxel)

“We have not finalized any hire at this time,” Ryan stated in the email. “(Principal) Ron (Dawn) and I have discussed things with extreme detail and we will make our final decision in the next few days. This hire is very important to our school so we are making sure all the fine print has been reviewed of each candidate.”

Dan Wagner agreed to step down as NewCath’s head coach after the 2017 season. In the five years that he was in charge of the program, the Thoroughbreds compiled a 40-29 record and made it to the Class 2A state championship final three times.

NewCath will have several key players returning from last season’s 6-6 team that lost to Glasgow, 27-20, in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. One of them is junior running back/linebacker Kyle Kelly, who rushed for 1,162 yards, scored 18 touchdowns and made 72 tackles.

Both of the team’s quarterbacks, Hunter Cain and Paul Kramer, were also underclassmen. Cain and sophomore Dan Craig ranked among the leading tacklers on defense along with Kelly.

Girls’ basketball players among state scoring leaders

Anna Clephane of Scott and Lexi Held of Cooper are two of the leading scorers in Kentucky girls’ high school basketball, according to statistics posted on the khsaa.org website.

Anna Clephane

Clephane, a Ball State recruit, ranks second in the state with a 29.7 scoring average after 15 games. She’s a fraction of a point behind Macie Gibson of Owsley County’s 29.8 mark. Held, a DePaul recruit, is third on the list with a 27.8 average in 17 games.

Campbell County leads the state in average winning margin at 28.3. The Camels are averaging 73.4 points per game while allowing 45.1. That’s carried the Camels to a 17-1 record a No. 2 ranking in the state.

On the boys’ side, Mason Rusch of Calvary Christian is tied for ninth in the state with a  26.9 scoring average after 15 games and Brennan Hall of Newport Central Catholic is in 13th place with a 24.6 average after 14 games.

Covington Catholic ranks second in the state in team field goal percentage (54.7) while Cooper ranks third in defensive average (49.3). Those two teams will face each other at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the Bluegrass-Buckeye Charity Classic at BB&T Arena.

Bengals nominate CovCath football coach for NFL award

Covington Catholic football coach Eddie Eviston has been nominated for the Don Shula NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Each of the 32 teams in the NFL submits a high school coach for the annual award that’s named after the winningest coach in the history of the league.

“We are proud to honor this year’s nominees who embody the character, integrity and spirit of coach Shula,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in the press release announcing the candidates. “Their commitment to improving the lives of students and developing young men of character is commendable.”

In Eviston’s third season as head coach, CovCath posted a 15-0 record and won the Class 5A state championship in Kentucky high school football. Earlier in his career, he won two Class 2A state titles while he was head coach at Newport Central Catholic.

The nominees from all 32 NFL teams will be invited and recognized during the week of the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando. The winner will be announced during the nationally televised game on Sunday, Jan. 28. Two of the finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to their high school’s football program.

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