A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

High school football players who emerged as team leaders among winners of Top 26 Awards

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Two running backs who emerged as their team’s offensive leader this season are among the local players chosen for the annual Top 26 Awards by the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association.

The 2020 season got off to a late start due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Braxton Newborn of Ludlow and Joey Runyon of Newport Central Catholic more than doubled the rushing and scoring totals they posted in 2019.

Ludlow running back Braxton Newborn.

Newborn was the leading rusher in Northern Kentucky and ranked second in the state with 1,827 yards. The junior standout also scored 166 points in 10 games. His final totals last year were 784 yards rushing and 64 points.

NewCath made it to the semifinals of the Class 1A playoffs with Runyon as its leading ball carrier. The senior running back picked up 907 yards in 11 games and scored a team-high 92 points. Last year, he finished with 345 yards and 44 points.

Each of the 20 teams in the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association select one player to receive a Top 26 Award. The coaches then vote on six additional players to be recognized for their outstanding contributions.

One of the six teams with double award-winners is Beechwood, the Class 2A state champion. Senior quarterback Cameron Hergott was nominated along with senior lineman Henry Nachazel.

Cameron Hergott

Hergott, who was named Kentucky Mr. Football by the state coaches association earlier this week, finished with 2,467 yards passing and 1,078 yards rushing this fall. He also set a Northern Kentucky single-season record by completing 73.2 percent of his passes.

The other teams with two players on the Top 26 Awards list are Campbell County, Covington Catholic, Holmes, Holy Cross and Simon Kenton. The nominees from Holmes are fraternal twin brothers Quantez and Tayquan Calloway.

Noel Rash of Beechwood was named coach of the year by his counterparts. Ben Nevels of Holmes will receive the Owen Hauck Award that goes to the area’s most improved team.

The coaches association will select three finalists for the Brian Williams “That’s My Boy” Award that goes to the top student-athlete in Northern Kentucky high school football each year. A rating system that awards points for achievements in football, academics and community service is used to determine the winner.

Local coaches had to cancel this year’s Top 24 Awards banquet due to coronavirus concerns. Plaques will be sent to the players on each team.


Beechwood – Cameron Hergott, Henry Nachazel
Bellevue – Colton Hissong
Bishop Brossart – Trevor Schadler
Boone County – Mike Lee
Campbell County – Mike Leicht, Derek Minning
Conner – Sam Clements
Cooper – Jeremiah Lee
CovCath – Caleb Jacob, Ben Dickhaus
Dayton – Eric Jiminez
Dixie Heights – Rhys Brown
Highlands – Mason South
Holmes – Tayquan Calloway, Quantez Calloway
Holy Cross – Jack Bayless, Brandon McClendon
Lloyd – Mike Wallington
Ludlow – Braxton Newborn
Newport – Simon Keating
NewCath – Joey Runyon
Ryle – Mathias Cusick
Scott – Cole Dant
Simon Kenton – Nate Walker, Chase Crone


Bob Schneider Coach of the Year Award – Noel Rash (Beechwood)
Owen Hauck Award – Ben Nevels (Holmes)
Assistant Coach of the Year — Jason Moore (Holmes)

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