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2019 Prep Football Previews: Texting keeps Lloyd senior linebacker tuned in with coaching staff

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 Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Lloyd’s football coaches aren’t surprised when they receive a text message from senior linebacker Isaac Abdon on their smart phones. As a team leader, he wants to be in constant contact with the guys in charge.

“We just talk about how practice was that day,” Abdon said of his digital dialogue with the coaches. “If it was after a game, it’s how’d we do and what we need to work on and that kind of stuff.”

Lloyd senior linebacker Isaac Abdon led the team in tackles last season.

Kyle Niederman, the first-year head coach at Lloyd, likes having a player who’s that involved in the team’s development.

“He’s a student of the game,” Niederman said. “There’s no doubt that he’s strong, he’s physical and he’s fast. But what I‘ve really noticed about him is he’s a student of the game. He really wants to be good at it.”

Abdon’s extra attention to his craft showed in his statistics last season when Lloyd made it to the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs and finished with a 7-5 record.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound linebacker led the team in total tackles with 77 and solo tackles with 50. In the final two Class 2A playoffs games, he made 21 stops and 12 of them were on his own.

“If somebody’s got the football, that’s my job as a linebacker, to get down hill and do what I have to do,” Abdon said.

The new head coach and his staff changed the Juggernauts’ defensive formation to a 3-5 that has three down linemen with three linebackers and two defensive ends behind them. The player with the most varsity experience in that new formation is Abdon, who played weak side linebacker as a sophomore and shifted to middle linebacker last year.

“He plays hard and plays fast,” coach Niederman said. “He’s the epitome of what you want back there.”

Kyle Niederman

Abdon will also be seeing a lot more time in the offensive backfield since the top two running backs on last year’s team graduated. One of them was Travon Mason, who rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

The team’s primary ball carrier this year will likely be senior Dakota Thiel, who moved from quarterback to running back. Abdon will be used as an all-purpose back, according to Niederman.

“He’ll be doing some blocking for sure, but we’re going to utilize his athleticism,” the coach said. “He’ll be carrying the ball and we’ll be getting him out of the backfield a little bit in regards to running (pass) routes.”

Lloyd will face a new challenger for the Class 2A district title this season. Beechwood is moving in to replace Newport Central Catholic, which dropped to Class 1A in  a statewide realignment. Over the last four years, Lloyd has an 0-4 record against Beechwood, including a 42-8 setback last season when the Tigers went on to win a third consecutive Class 1A state title.  

“It’s always been a big game and it’s going to be even bigger now,” Abdon said of facing Beechwood. “We’ve all got to step up.”

2018 SEASON:  7-5 record, lost in second round of Class 2A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 2A, District 4 with Beechwood, Holy Cross, Newport.
HEAD COACH: Kyle Niederman (First season as head coach)

Aug. 23 – at Walton-Verona, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 – at Scott, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 – BOONE COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 – at Conner, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 – MASON COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 – at Ludlow, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 – at Newport, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – BEECHWOOD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 – HOLY CROSS, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 – ELIZABETHTOWN, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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