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Unbeaten CovCath ranked No. 1 in Class 5A state poll; powerful Pikeville visits Campbell County

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

Defending Class 5A state champion Covington Catholic is ranked No. 1 in the latest Kentucky Associated Press high school football poll.

CovCath improved to 3-0 last week with a 41-0 win at Cooper. Senior quarterback Caleb Jacob tossed three touchdown passes and ran for two other scores in that triumph. The Colonels have won 18 consecutive games going into Friday’s district matchup at Boone County.

CovCath wide receiver William Shields (13) hauls in a touchdown pass during a 19-17 win over Beechwood earlier this season at Park Hills. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

CovCath has not lost since Dec. 2, 2018, when South Warren pulled out a 20-16 victory over the Colonels in the Class 5A state championship game in Lexington. In fact, the Colonels have not dropped a regular-season game since a 35-28 loss to Scott County on Oct. 28, 2016.

Conner (2-0) is ranked No. 9 in the Class 5A poll, followed by Highlands (1-2) at No. 10. The Cougars play host to the Bluebirds this Saturday at 7 p.m. A year ago, Conner defeated Highlands twice, including a 38-28 victory in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

BEECHWOOD, NEWCATH IN TOP 5: Beechwood (2-1) is ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A state poll, while unbeaten Newport Central Catholic (3-0) is No. 4 in the Class 1A rating. Simon Kenton is No. 7 in the Class 6A state poll.

Beechwood posted an impressive 35-14 win over Ryle last week as quarterback Cameron Hergott threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Hergott’s favorite targets in that game were Mitchell Berger (six receptions, 126 yards) and Parker Mason (six receptions, 109 yards). Berger also added a pair of touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers.

NewCath held on for a 17-14 win over city rival Newport last Friday. The Thoroughbreds defeated the Wildcats for the 23rd consecutive time dating back to 1999. Joey Runyon has rushed for 204 yards in three games to lead the NewCath ground attack.

UNBEATEN PIKEVILLE VISITS CAMPBELL COUNTY: Pikeville, the defending Class 1A state champion and ranked No. 1 in this week’s poll, visits Campbell County on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Panthers improved to 3-0 last Friday with a 58-41 win at Lexington Henry Clay.

Pikeville’s Zac Lockhart set two single-game receiving records in the win at Henry Clay. Lockhart, a junior wide receiver, hauled in 17 receptions for 388 yards and seven touchdowns. He became the single-game record holder for yards and touchdowns in Kentucky with that performance.

Pikeville has not lost since dropping a 21-20 decision to Beechwood in the Class 1A state championship game on Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Pikeville quarterback Isaac McNamee threw for 409 yards and seven touchdowns in the victory over Henry Clay. The Panthers own a 17-game winning streak entering Friday’s contest at Campbell County, which is a Class 6A program. Blake Birchfield leads the Pikeville rushing attack with 378 yards and four touchdowns in three games.

Pikeville has not lost since dropping a 21-20 decision to Beechwood in the Class 1A state championship game on Nov. 30, 2018.

Campbell County (1-2) dropped a 17-14 decision to Oldham County last Friday night. Senior quarterback Justin Little paced the Camels with 108 yards passing and another 93 on the ground. Crosley Gray is Campbell County’s leading rusher with 155 yards. Preston Agee has gained 129 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns.

AROUND THE STATE: Fairdale’s DeShawn Hamilton rushed for 157 yards and four touchdowns on just eight carries as the Bulldogs rolled to a 74-34 win over Bullitt Central on Saturday. Devon Stratton added 92 yards on the ground for Fairdale, which is 2-0 and averaging 61.5 points per game…Floyd Central was undefeated heading into its matchup with then-winless Pike County Central on Friday night, but the Hawks soared to a 70-50 victory. Pike County Central (1-2) rushed for a 645 yards on 48 carries. Keegan Bentley gained 250 yards on the ground with five touchdowns for Pike County Central, while Matt Anderson added 225 yards and two touchdowns…Logan Sutherland carried the ball 30 times for 214 yards and scored three touchdowns as Grant County outlasted Montgomery County by a 50-40 score on Friday night. Grant County quarterback Conner Knipp tossed four touchdown passes as the Braves improved to 2-1.

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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