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Friday football roundup: CovCath, Dixie Heights secure wins with pass interceptions in the end zone

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Pass interceptions in the end zone by senior defensive backs clinched wins for Covington Catholic and Dixie Heights in two intense high school football games on Friday night.

In the fourth overtime series, CovCath senior Robby Sandfoss picked off a fourth-down desperation pass into the end zone to give his team a 31-24 win over Cooper in a Class 5A district seeding game at CovCath.

Dixie Heights running back avoids a diving tackle from behind as he heads down the sideline. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

With less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Dixie Heights senior Colin Smith secured his team’s 28-21 win at home against Highlands with a leaping interception amid a crowd of players just across the goal line.

When a Kentucky high school football game ends in a tie, each team gets a chance to score from the 10-yard line on alternating possessions until a winner is decided.

CovCath (3-3) and Cooper (3-2) both scored a touchdown on their first possession, failed to convert a field goal on their second possession and kicked a field goal on their third possession to remain tied.

Preston Agee, one of two quarterbacks CovCath used in its game, scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth overtime series to give the Colonels a 31-24 lead. Cooper’s fourth possession started with a penalty that moved the ball back to the 25-yard line and ended three plays later with the interception by Sandfoss.

Both teams kept the ball on the ground most of the night. Cooper rushed for 304 of its 369 total yards. CovCath picked up 231 of its 300 yards on run plays.

The team leaders were Cooper senior Brendon Tye with 165 yards on 16 carries and two TDs. Agree had 127 yards on 21 carries and scored all four of CovCath’s touchdowns.

Cooper took a 14-0 lead in the third quarter when Tye got his second touchdown on a 97-yard run. With 6:18 left in the fourth quarter, CovCath tied the score on a 19-yard run by Agee that sent the game into overtime.

Agee, who transferred to CovCath this year, also made a team-high 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 assisted) as a defensive back. Cooper linebacker Jack Lonaker was credited with 19 tackles (15 solo and 4 assisted). He also had a pass interception.

Dixie Heights senior Colin Smith scored a touchdown on offense and made an interception on defense that clinched his team’s win. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

CovCath now has a 7-0 record against Cooper, but this was the first game that went into overtime. The last time Dixie Heights beat Highlands was 2016 when they were both in Class 5A. After Dixie Heights moved up to Class 6A in 2019, the teams had not played each other until Friday.

Dixie Heights scored on three consecutive possessions in the first half and had a 21-7 lead at the break. Highlands tied it, 21-21, in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard run by quarterback Charlie Noon. But Dixie Heights answered with a scoring drive that ended with a 20-yard run by quarterback Logan Landers into the end zone.

It looked like Highlands had tied the score on a trick play. Noon threw a pass to Brennan Kelsey, who then fired the ball down field to an open receiver for a touchdown. But officials nullified the play because it was two forward passes instead of a lateral and a forward pass.

Highlands finished with 343 total yards. Noon provided most of it by completing 16 of 26 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Landers accounted for 237 of Dixie Heights’ 370 total yards. He connected on 13 of 19 passes for 123 yards and rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries.

Pierce Rohlman got the scoring started for the Colonels with a 3-yard touchdown run and finished with 88 yards on 24 carries. In addition to making the game-clinching interception, Smith scored on a 9-yard run in the first half.

It was the third consecutive loss for the Bluebirds (3-3), who will play their first Class 5A district seeding game against Conner (4-2) next Friday. Dixie Heights (3-2) has a home game against Beechwood (5-0) on Friday.

Conner 34, Boone County 7

Boone County scored the first touchdown on a 17-yard run by Jeremiah Williams, but Conner was the only team that put the ball in the end zone during the last three quarters of the Class 5A district seeding game.

The Cougars (4-2) relied primarily on their rushing attack, picking up 301 of their 395 total yards and scoring four of their five touchdowns on the ground. The team leaders were junior running back Alijah Thompson with 181 yards and senior quarterback Alex Castrucci with 123. Each of them also scored twice.

Conner’s other touchdown came on an 18-yard pass from Castrucci to Cody Crawford. The Cougars’ defense  limited Boone County (3-3) to 176 total yards.

Brossart 41, Ludlow 7

Brossart improved to 6-0 with the offense scoring five touchdowns and the defense getting the other one on an interception return by junior Derek Martin.

Senior running back Jed Martin rushed for 138 yards on 14 carries and scored twice for the Mustangs. Senior quarterback Jacob Leicht had 119 yards rushing and 75 passing. He scored on a 1-yard run and threw a 49-yard TD pass to David Govan.

Ludlow (1-5) scored its only touchdown in the third quarter when junior Jaxson Rice caught a 10-yard pass from senior Brogan O’Brien.

Holmes 50, Holy Cross 28

Holmes scored three times on pass interceptions in the first half when it took a 44-7 lead and coasted to its fourth win in five games. It was the fifth consecutive loss for Holy Cross (1-5).

Quantez Calloway, Tayquan Calloway and Adam Boone were the Holmes defensive players who returned interceptions for touchdowns. The Calloway brothers also hooked up on a 69-yard touchdown pass with Quantez throwing to Tayquan.

Curtez Hill scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs, who finished with a 275-218 advantage in total yards. Holy Cross quarterback Javier Ison threw TD passes to Javier Ward and Cabe Lehmkuhl.

Scott 17, Rowan County 7

Scott (4-2) won the Class 4A district seeding game with a good defensive effort against a visiting Rowan County (3-3) team that came in averaging 26.8 points and 335 yards per game.

Most of the scoring was done in the final nine minutes of the second quarter. After Scott took a 3-0 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Luke Iden, Rowan County running back Cole Wallace got the game’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run. But Bennie Hill caught a 7-yard TD pass from Gus Howlett to put Scott ahead, 10-7, at halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Howlett scored on a 1-yard run and the Scott defense recovered two fumbles in the final period to secure the victory.

High school football scoreboard

Covington Catholic 31, Cooper 24 4-OT
Dixie Heights 28, Highlands 21
Conner 34 Boone County 7
Walton-Verona 49, Gallatin County 8
Brossart 41, Ludlow 7
Scott 17, Rowan County 7
Dayton 42, Fairview 8
George Rogers Clark 27, Campbell County 14
Holmes 50, Holy Cross 28
Simon Kenton 56, Connersville (Ind.) 20
Newport Central Catholic (3-2) at Newport (1-4), 7 p.m.

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