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2018 Prep Football Previews: Long-time friends taking on team leader roles for Campbell County

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 Mike Canizales
NKyTribune contributor

Campbell County football players Tanner Lawrence and Reid Jolly have been good friends since elementary school. When their senior season begins next week, they want to get off to a good start under first-year head coach Mike Woolf.

“Everyone on the team loves coach Woolf,” Lawrence said. “The intensity and football knowledge he brings to our football team is great for us.”

Campbell County defensive end Tanner Lawrence, right, forces CovCath quarterback A.J. Mayer out of the pocket in a game last season. (Photo by Steve Dyer)

Reid and Lawrence both played on Campbell County’s regional championship basketball team last season. Now they’re focused on making their final football season together a successful one.

“With all the experience they have, I expect both of them to work hard during the week and come out to perform on Friday nights,” coach Woolf said. “They’re great kids and they’re going to have to set the tone early on both sides of the ball.”

Last season, Campbell County lost in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs and finished with a 7-5 record.

Lawrence, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound defensive end, is one of eight returning starters from a Campbell County defensive unit that allowed 313 yards and 27.6 points per game last year.

“We gave up most of those yards through the air,” Lawrence said. “With some position switches and many of our corners improving, we are looking to change that.”

Woolf, who spent most of his coaching career as a defensive coordinator, decided to change Campbell County’s alignment. He’s going with a four-man front that includes Lawrence at defensive end.

“Being a defensive guy for the past 23 years, we are going to be putting great emphasis on the defense to keep us in games,” Woolf said. “In turn, we’re hoping our offense will score enough points to pull us through.”

Reid Jolly is the Camels’ top returning pass receiver. He caught 38 passes for 458 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Rebuilding the offense will be a major challenge because last year’s team leaders — quarterback Austin Hoeh and running back Alex Dowds — both graduated. The duo combined for 4,241 of the team’s 4,657 total rushing and passing yards.

“I don’t care what team you are on it’s hard to replace over 4,000 yards worth of offense,” Woolf said. “We’re looking at a couple of seniors right now, but we’re going to have to mix it up early on to see who can step into those roles for the entire year.”

Jolly is one of only three returning offensive starters for Campbell County. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver caught 38 passes for 458 yards and six touchdowns last season. He said there are promising players who can fill vacancies in the other skill positions on offense.

“I feel like Andrew Helton has the ability to be a top quarterback in Northern Kentucky,” Jolly said. “Gavin Terhaar and Brady Singleton are two receivers that will have a huge impact on other teams’ defenses, and my twin brother, Grant, has prepared himself to take over where Alex (Dowds) left off at the running back position.”

The long-range goal for the Campbell County team is to win a Class 6A district title and make a run in the playoffs, but the new coach doesn’t want the players to get ahead of themselves.

“The morale is very high around here,” Woolf said. “They’re expecting to win, but my goal is to take it week by week and work hard every day.”

2017 season: 7-3 record, lost in second round of Class 6A playoffs.
District: Class 6A, District 6 with Boone County and Simon Kenton.
Head coach: Mike Woolf (First season as head coach).

Aug. 17 – at Dixie Heights, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 – HIGHLANDS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 – at Newport Central Catholic, 1 p.m.
Sept. 7 – COOPER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 – RYLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 – at Mount Healthy (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 – CONNER, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 – SIMON KENTON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 – at Boone County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 – at Covington Catholic, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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