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Football powerhouses Johnson Central, Boyle County invade Northern Kentucky on Friday night

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

Two of the state’s powerhouse football programs visit Northern Kentucky on Friday night, with Johnson Central taking on host Simon Kenton, while Boyle County plays at Highlands. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Johnson Central, the defending Class 4A state champion, is 1-0 after posting a 36-0 win at Bell County to open the season on Sept. 11. Dillon Preston rushed for 143 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Golden Eagles to that road triumph. Johnson Central — which also captured the Class 4A state title in 2016 — limited Bell County to just 44 total yards.

Johnson Central offensive lineman Grant Bingham (65) has received many scholarship offers, including 15 from Power 5 schools. (Photo by Lisa Lemaster)

Simon Kenton owns a 2-0 record following its 36-6 victory over Walton-Verona last Friday night. Quarterback Chase Crone passed for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns to ignite the Pioneers. Jayden Lawson leads Simon Kenton’s rushing attack with 141 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games.

A year ago, Johnson Central rolled to a 49-11 victory over Simon Kenton in Paintsville. The Golden Eagles rushed for 453 yards in that victory, including three players with more than 100 yards on the ground.

Johnson Central features 6-foot-6, 302-pound offensive lineman Grant Bingham, who has received numerous scholarship offers from Power 5 schools.

Boyle County — which fell to Johnson Central in the Class 4A state championship game last December for its only loss of 2019 — is 2-0 after coasting to a 56-21 win at Christian Academy of Louisville. The Rebels own a 43-3 record during the past three years and have just one regular-season loss (10-7 at Danville on Aug. 31, 2017) in the period.

Highlands is 1-1 after rallying from an 11-0 deficit to knock off Ryle by a 23-14 score last Friday night. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Noon rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bluebirds.

A year ago, Boyle County coasted to a 30-0 win over Highlands in Danville. The Rebels held Highlands to just 24 yards on the ground in that game.

NewCath’s Jahmir Ackerson goes airborne to elude Walton-Verona defenders. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

NEWPORT FIREFIGHTERS BELL AT STAKE: The Battle for the Newport Firefighters Bell takes place Friday night as Newport and Newport Central Catholic resume their rivalry at 7 p.m. The Wildcats (1-1) are looking to end a 22-game losing streak in the series against the Thoroughbreds (2-0).

Newport has not defeated NewCath since Aug. 27, 1999. A year ago, NewCath coasted to a 37-6 win over then-unbeaten Newport (5-0 at the time).

NewCath features a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield with Joey Runyon (165 yards rushing) and Jahmir Ackerson (163 yards rushing). Thoroughbreds quarterback Malaki Herndon has added 107 yards on the ground and passed for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

DAYTON SEEKS 3-0 START: The Dayton Greendevils rallied in the final minute to post a 30-29 win over visiting Webster County last Saturday to improve to 2-0. The Greendevils rushed for 348 yards and featured four players (Jordan Marksberry, Trey Matthews, Brian Lewis and Nolan Brooks) who finished with more than 70 yards on the ground.

Dayton plays host to Bracken County at 7 p.m. this Friday. Bracken County enters that game with a 1-0 record.

HOME AT LAST: After starting off the season with road games at Corbin and Covington Catholic, Beechwood returns home to meet Ryle in Fort Mitchell on Friday night. Both teams are 1-1 going into that 7:30 p.m. contest.

Beechwood dropped a heartbreaking 19-17 decision at CovCath last week. Ryle suffered a 23-14 loss to Highlands.

Beechwood quarterback Cameron Hergott (2) has rushed for 172 yards during the first two weeks of the season. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Beechwood quarterback Cameron Hergott has passed for 368 yards and added 172 yards on the ground in the first two weeks. Hergott has also rushed for three touchdowns. Brady Moore has hauled in seven receptions for 118 yards to lead the Tigers.

Ryle quarterback Bradyn Lyons has passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the first two weeks. The Raider defense has been stingy, allowing just 17 passing yards in the opening two games. In fact, Ryle held Highlands to -1 yards passing last week. The Bluebirds, however, gained 294 yards on the ground to pull out the victory over the Raiders.

CHURNING OUT THE YARDS: Ludlow junior running back Braxton Newborn has rushed for 384 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two weeks. He gained 220 yards and scored five touchdowns during the Panthers’ 54-33 win over Bishop Brossart last Friday.

Ludlow quarterback Austin Daniels passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Brossart. The Panthers (1-1) are averaging 461 yards of total offense going into Friday’s game at Nicholas County (2-0).

A year ago, Ludlow cruised to a 54-14 win over Nicholas County. Newborn rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns in that victory.

Don Owen is sports editor of the Northern Kentucky Tribune. Contact him at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport.

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