A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

2019 Prep Football Previews: Ludlow has veteran at quarterback to lead quest for third winning season

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 2019 season on Aug. 23. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Cody Johnson
NKyTribune contributor

After a tough loss in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs last November, Ludlow football players showed just how badly they wanted to do better the following year.

“Our guys usually start hitting the weight room in January,” said coach Greg Taphouse. “But the funny part is, after the loss to Frankfort, they were back in the weight room the week after the loss getting ready for next season.”

Ian Vallandingham

One of the Panthers’ returning players is senior quarterback/defensive back Ian Vallandingham, who has three years of varsity experience on both sides of the ball. He was the top pass receiver on the 2017 team that finished with an 8-3 record. Last year, he switched to quarterback and had a combined average of 155 yards passing and rushing per game during an 8-4 campaign.

“Ian is going to be a huge impact player for us this year,” Taphouse said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior captain. “We’re going to put the ball in his hands and figure out what to do with it.”

There’s a chance Vallandingham will be catching passes as well as throwing them this season. College recruiters are expected to be checking him out in both positions. But his main objectives are leading the Panthers to another winning record and making a deeper run in the small-school playoffs.

“This off-season we have been getting the new players more involved and pushing them hard in the weight room to get ready for this upcoming season,” he said.

Going into pre-season practice last year, Ludlow faced the tough task of replacing record-setting quarterback Justin Blackburn, who provided 3,300 total yards and 49 touchdowns in rushing and passing combined as a senior.

Even though Vallandingham didn’t come close to matching Blackburn’s numbers, he was still a double-threat on offense last season. His final statistics included 1,037 yards and 11 touchdowns passing along with 677 yards and 12 TDs rushing.

Greg Taphouse

Ludlow did lose last year’s leading rusher and scorer, Sean Stratton, to graduation, but coach Taphouse said he has a majority of players coming back on both sides of the ball. He’s counting on two running backs — senior Cody Kramer and sophomore Braxten Newborn — to support his returning quarterback on offense.

“I think we have different options to keep teams on their toes this year with the backs we have,” Taphouse said.

Ludlow finished second in the local Class 1A district behind perennial power Beechwood the last two years. A statewide realignment moved Beechwood up to Class 2A this season. The district now includes Newport Central Catholic along with Bellevue and Dayton.

“I’m very excited to see what our guys are capable of since this is my third season with the team and another year with the same system and format,” Taphouse said.

He’s also counting on what he calls the “huge” role the community of Ludlow has played in the team’s recent success.

“They pack the stadium, helping our team bring home wins, and we travel heavy to away games, where we have had more of our fans than the home teams,” Taphouse said.

2018 SEASON:  8-4 record, lost in second round of Class 1A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 1A, District 4 with Bellevue, Dayton, Newport Central Catholic.
HEAD COACH:  Greg Taphouse (16-7 in two seasons at Ludlow).

Aug. 23 – at Carroll County, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 – at Bracken County, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 – GALLATIN COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 – at Brossart, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 – NICHOLAS COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 – LLOYD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 – at Newport Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – BELLEVUE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 – at Dayton, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 – HOLY CROSS, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Craig Davis says:

    We will be down from NE Ohio to cheer you young men on. Go Panthers ! Grandpa and Grandma.

Leave a Comment