A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

CovCath puts winning streak on the line against Beechwood in battle between state champions

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

If you can’t get excited about the Beechwood at Covington Catholic football game at 7 p.m. Friday, someone needs to check your pulse.

The high schools are located within four miles of each other and their football programs have won a combined total of 20 state titles. The fact that both teams are defending state champions and ranked among the top 20 in the state this season makes the matchup even more compelling.

CovCath running back Casey McGinness, No. 2, takes a handoff from quarterback Caleb Jacob (Photo by Bob Jackson)

In last year’s Kentucky state playoffs, CovCath capped a perfect 15-0 season with a victory in the Class 5A title game and Beechwood won the Class 1A championship for the second straight year.

The playoffs are classified based on enrollment so smaller schools don’t have to compete against much larger schools. But teams can schedule any opponent they want during the regular season and Beechwood vs. CovCath has been going on since 2003.

CovCath won the last three games between the teams and has a 12-3 advantage in the current series. But Beechwood refuses to back out because teams benefit from facing good competition.

This season, CovCath is off to a 4-0 start and outscored those first four opponents, 177-23. That’s why the Colonels were ranked No. 2 in this week’s Litkenhous state power ratings.

CovCath is averaging 426 yards per game with a veteran offensive line providing ample opportunities for talented skill players.  Senior running back Casey McGinness has rushed for 589 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Jacob has completed 43 of 57 passes for 819 yards and nine TDs with only one interception.

Cameron Hergott

The defensive standout for the Colonels has been junior linebacker Michael Mayer, a University of Notre Dame recruit. In the first four games, he made a team-high 22 tackles, including five for a loss.

Beechwood (2-1) was ranked No. 14 in the state by Litkenhous following a 21-14 loss to Corbin, the runner-up in the Class 3A playoffs last season. The Tigers were limited to 36 rushing yards in that game, but sophomore quarterback Cameron Hergott completed 10 of 19 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

Like most Class 1A teams, Beechwood has several talented two-way starters. One of them is senior Logan Castleman, who leads the team in rushing yards (296) and scoring (32 points) while also playing safety on defense. The Tigers also have two major college recruits starting on both the offensive and defensive front lines in seniors Dayton Baugh (Army) and Adam Derry (Middle Tennessee).

CovCath isn’t the only local team taking a perfect record into Friday’s games. The others are Simon Kenton (4-0), Walton-Verona (4-0) and Ludlow (3-0).

After outscoring its first three opponents, 132-14, Ludlow will face a major test in a game at Newport (2-1). Simon Kenton will visit Cooper (1-3) and Walton-Verona hosts Lexington Christian (2-2).

High school football schedule

FRIDAY
Beechwood at Covington Catholic. 7 p.m.
Simon Kenton at Cooper, 7:30 p.m.
Dixie Heights at Conner, 7 p.m.
Gallatin County at Bellevue, 7 p.m.
Ryle at Campbell County, 7 p.m.
Lloyd at Holmes, 7 p.m.
Ludlow at Newport, 7 p.m.
Lexington Christian at Walton-Verona, 7:30 p.m.
Highlands at Lexington Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
NewCath at Christian Academy of Louisville, 7:30 p.m.
Boone County at South Oldham, 7:30 p.m.
Holy Cross at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, 7 p.m.

 

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