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2018 Prep Football Previews: Brossart coach expects lessons team learned last season to pay dividends

The NKyTribune is featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2018 season on Aug. 17. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Michael Canizales
NKyTribune contributor

Following back-to-back winning seasons and a share of the Class 1A district football title in 2016, the Bishop Brossart Mustangs had a letdown last year, finishing with a 5-6 record and another playoff loss to Raceland.

Tyler McDonald passed for more 2,000 yards in his first year as Brossart’s starting quarterback. (Photo by Tim Cooper)

“We asked a lot from our younger guys while leaning heavily on our veterans last season,” head coach Paul Wiggins said. “Now that we have underclassmen with experience and 16 seniors with significant experience we’re hoping that pays dividends this year.”

One of those senior veterans is quarterback Tyler McDonald, the top returning passer in Northern Kentucky. In his first full season under center, he threw for 2,229 yards and 22 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

“He gained some great experience,” Wiggins said. “I know he wants to build on what he had last year and I look for him to take charge.”

McDonald, who also earned varsity letters in basketball and baseball, has been working diligently with quarterback coach Jesse Orth to sharpen his play-making skills and become a stronger team leader.

“He’s been very instrumental with my success,” McDonald said of Orth. “As a three-sport athlete, I got into the football offseason program as soon as possible and have been working on my timing in 7-on-7 (scrimmage) games.”

McDonald will look to Brady Kremer, Grant Haubner, Devin Carson and Wilson Schroer to offset the graduation of last year’s leading receivers, Keller McGrath and Bryce Donnelly. That duo combined for more than 1,200 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.

“Donnelly was a special kind of player,” Wiggins said. “He was a bit of a security blanket for us, but we have guys that have been around a couple of years that should figure into the mix and step up.”

Last year’s leading rusher, Bradley Moore, also graduated, but the Mustangs have Adam Orth and Nathan Bezold returning in the backfield. They finished second and third in rushing and helped the offense average 298.7 yards and 24 points per game.

Tyler McDonald

“With what we have coming back, I think I will have the opportunity to spread it around,” McDonald said. “I’m hoping we can take steps forward and make a deep run in the playoffs.”

Senior linebackers Bezold and Mason Dennis will anchor the Brossart defense once again. They had a combined total of 253 tackles last season, but they’ll need some help from their teammates to erase last season’s memory of giving up 45 or more points in four of the team’s six losses.

“I think we had some boys we may have asked too much from and we couldn’t get the job done,” Wiggins said. “If we can get those newer guys into a comfort zone, our defense could easily be responsible for any success we have.”

Though the Mustangs have turned the program around under Wiggins, they have yet to win a playoff game (0-5) and have lost to Raceland in the first round of the playoffs the last three years.

“I would think the last few years have weighed heavily on these guys,” Wiggins said. “Now that we have the experience, we hope that comes to surface to set a new level of play.”

2017 season: 5-6 record, lost in first round of Class 1A playoffs.
District: Class 1A, District 5 with Berea, Bracken County, Nicholas County, Paris.
Head coach: Paul Wiggins Jr. (23-19 in four seasons at Brossart).

Aug. 17 – at Dayton, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 – HOLMES, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 – BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 – at Newport, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 – at Nicholas County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 – LUDLOW, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 – BRACKEN COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 – PARIS, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 – at Berea, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 – PENDLETON COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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