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Lloyd downs Newport 26-7 in Class 2A battle; big fourth quarter breaks game open for Juggernauts

By Jakob Jones
NKyTribune Contributor

It was senior night for 13 players on the Newport Wildcats football team, and they had a lot to be proud of going into their first Class 2A district seeding game of the season against Lloyd on Friday.

Lloyd senior Treshawn Cody (10) goes high into the air to bring down a pass in Friday’s game against Newport (photos by Dale Dawn).

After going 3-13 in their first two seasons in the program, Newport recovered and posted a 6-5 record last season, the first winning season since 2014. This year, the Wildcats are on their way to another solid season due to senior leadership with a strong 6-1 start. Their only loss came at the hands of crosstown rival Newport Central Catholic.

The Lloyd Juggernauts were coming off their fourth win of the season against Ludlow 37-7. With a 4-2 record, the Juggernauts were brimming with confidence as they headed into a tough three-game stretch against Class 2A district opponents

Despite the final score of 26-7 in Lloyd’s win over Newport, this matchup between the district opponents was close until the fourth quarter.

The Juggernauts and the Wildcats came ready to play early on, especially on the defensive end. Both teams struggled to move the ball offensively in the first quarter as each had three drives stall out and lead to punts.

Heading into the second, Lloyd had the ball at the Newport 34-yard line, but was stopped just short at the Newport 20 on a fourth-and-15 play .

A 21-yard run by Newport’s Giaunte Jackson paired with a 15-yard pass interference penalty put the Wildcats in Lloyd territory, but the Juggernauts’ defense forced a rushed throw by backup quarterback Daniel Veselka that was intercepted by Keesean Crim at the Lloyd 5-yard line.

The Newport defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. On the next offensive drive for the Wildcats, James Martin found the end zone for the 20-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left in the first half.

The only score of the night for the Wildcats got them on the board first and another three-and-out by the Lloyd offense sent the teams to halftime with the score at 7-0.

On Lloyd’s first drive of the second half, the Juggernauts got their passing game going, throwing for more than 40 yards on the drive and capping it off with a 9-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Jacob Davidson.

Defense dominated much of Friday’s battle between Lloyd and Newport before the Juggernauts broke the game open late. Here Lloyd senior Dakota Thiel (24) tries to evade the Newport pass rush.

First-year head coach Kyle Niederman kept his offense on the field to go for the two-point conversion and succeeded as Davidson ran it in.

Defense controlled the rest of the third quarter as the teams headed to the final quarter in a tight game.

As the clock reset to 12 minutes, the Lloyd players on the sideline held up four fingers signaling the start of the fourth quarter.

The quarter started with a punt by the Wildcats that gave the Juggernauts the ball at their own 46.

From there, the Juggernauts went to work.

It took only five plays for the Lloyd offense to find the end zone. Dakota Thiel and Davidson combined for 52 rushing yards on the drive.

Davidson scored on a 4-yard run to put the Juggernauts up 14-7. Opting to kick the point after touchdown, Davidson’s kick was blocked.

Up by only seven, Niederman and the Juggernauts took a major risk and went with the onside kick. Davidson’s kick took a high bounce at midfield and was recovered by Lloyd at the Newport 43-yard line.

Another five-play drive that went 43 yards got the Lloyd offense into the end zone with a 5-yard touchdown run by Thiel, as they pushed the lead to 20-7.

This time around, the Wildcats defense was ready for the two-point conversion and stopped Davidson just short of the goal line.

Lloyd senior Keesean Crim (1) tries to evade a tackle in Friday’s contest with Newport won by the Juggernauts 26-7.

The Newport offense continued to struggle and it only accumulated 21 yards in the entire second half. Another three and out gave the ball right back to Lloyd at its own 48 and the Juggernauts went marching down the field yet again, this time for 52 yards on only four plays.

Davidson had 46 yards on the drive and capped his night off with a 5-yard touchdown run.

Another two-point conversion attempt was denied, but Lloyd reigned victorious by a final score of 26-7.

Davidson finished with three touchdowns on 20 carries for 101 yards while completing 7 of 14 passes for 80 yards.

Niederman showered the sophomore quarterback with high praise when asked how important he is to this team, “Huge, huge he’s a great kid, he works hard, and he’s good in the classroom.”

The game was the first of three straight Class 2A seeding games for both teams. The seedings will determine the pairings for the upcoming post-season playoffs in November.

Newport (6-2) travels to Holy Cross next Friday while Lloyd (5-2) hosts Beechwood.

NEWPORT   0  7  0   0 — 7
LLOYD         0  0  8  18 — 26
N — Martin 20 run (Maxwell kick)
L — Davidson 9 run (Davidson run)
L — Davidson 4 run (kick blocked)
L — Thiel 5 run (run failed)
L — Davidson 4 run (run failed)
RECORDS: Lloyd 5-2, 1-0 district; Newport 6-2, 0-1.

High school football scores

Thursday’s games
Simon Kenton 43, Dixie Heights 27
Newport Central Catholic 49, Ludlow 10
Friday’s games

Beechwood 68, Holy Cross 6
Bellevue 21, Dayton 12
Brossart 41, Bracken County 0
Highlands 49, Boone County 0
Ryle 41, Campbell County 0
Conner 35, Conner 29
Covington Catholic 27, La Salle 7
Holmes 33, Boyd County 0
Lloyd 26, Newport 7
Walton-Verona 49, Owen County 19

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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