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2019 Prep Football Previews: Senior quarterback leads Conner’s transition to new Class 5A district


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 Friday. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Jakob Jones
NKyTribune contributor

Even though he missed four games with a shoulder injury, Conner quarterback Jared Hicks was a force to be reckoned when he was on the field last season. He ended up completing 93 of 176 passes for 1,130 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 178 yards with four TDs.

The Cougars won a district title and made it to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs with Hicks running the offense. Conner coach James Trosper knows the importance of having a player like him returning this year.

Conner senior Jared Hicks was voted the top quarterback in Class 6A by local coaches last year. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

“We aren’t a team that rallies around one individual, but when we have a good quarterback we are usually successful,” Trosper said. “Jared can get us out of a bad spot. He’s able to change a play to get us where we need to be.”

The senior quarterback looks forward to a new season in which he can showcase his skills for Conner fans and college recruiters. Hicks said Morehead State has  offered him a scholarship and he’s being recruited by Princeton and Yale.

“It’s really amazing that a college wants you to come play,” he said. “It’s really a great opportunity to have, more education-wise than just playing the game, because it gives you the opportunity to learn and make a future for yourself after football is over.”

Conner has a lot of holes to fill in the starting lineup after losing 20 seniors to graduation last spring. The leading rusher and pass receiver on last year’s 9-4 team were among those who departed.

Jared Hicks

During the offseason, Trosper and his staff had to rebuild the offense around Hicks, who was voted the area’s top quarterback in Class 6A by local coaches last year.

“He’s the guy,” Trosper said. “He’s a leader, great community guy, very smart kid.”

A statewide realignment put Conner in Class 5A. The Cougars will be part of a new district that includes Covington Catholic, Highlands, Cooper and Boone County.

“I think top to bottom our district could be the best in the state,” Trosper said. “You’ve got three teams (CovCath, Highlands and Conner) that have won state championships. Bottomline, I don’t know a better district that can compare to ours.”

The first five games on the Cougars’ schedule will be against non-district opponents, beginning with their season-opener Saturday at Madison Central in Richmond. In last year’s playoffs, Madison Central knocked off Conner, 28-27, in a double-overtime thriller.

“The competition level needs to be every day,” Trosper said. “Sure, when we go down to Richmond it will be a grudge match. They know what happened. That’s just how Kentucky football is, you have to be ready every Friday night.”

CONNER COUGARS
2018 SEASON:
9-4 record, lost in third round of Class 6A playoffs.
DISTRICT: Class 5A, District 5 with Boone County, Cooper, Covington Catholic, Highlands.
HEAD COACH: Dave Trosper (91-89 in 16 seasons overall, 78-62 in 12 seasons at Conner).

2019 SCHEDULE
Aug. 24 – at Madison Central, 8 p.m.
Aug. 30 – at Ryle, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 – at Dixie Heights, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 – LLOYD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 – CAMPBELL COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 – at Boone County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 – COOPER, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 – COVINGTON CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 – GEORGE ROGERS CLARK, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews

COVINGTON CATHOLIC COLONELS
BROSSART MUSTANGS
HOLY CROSS INDIANS
SCOTT EAGLES
BOONE COUNTY REBELS
RYLE RAIDERS
HOLMES BULLDOGS
BELLEVUE TIGERS
DIXIE HEIGHTS COLONELS
NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC THOROUGHBREDS
HIGHLANDS BLUEBIRDS
WALTON-VERONA BEARCATS
DAYTON GREENDEVILS
COOPER JAGUARS
LLOYD JUGGERNAUTS
LUDLOW PANTHERS
BEECHWOOD TIGERS
NEWPORT WILDCATS


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