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Sophomore quarterbacks will face tough defenses in final regular season football games on Friday

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Logan Verax and Kolton Smith, two sophomores who stepped into the role of starting quarterback and have led their teams to 7-2 records, face formidable opponents in the final week of the regular season.

On Friday, Smith and his Newport Central Catholic teammates will visit undefeated Beechwood (9-0) while Verax will be running Ryle’s offense against Covington Catholic (6-3), a team that’s riding a four-game win streak.

NewCath sophomore Kolton Smith has passed for 1,622 yards in his first year as starting quarterback. (Photo by Carla Martin)

Verax is the top passer in Northern Kentucky going into the regular season finale. He has completed 133 of 226 (58.8 percent) for 1,801 yards and 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

The sophomore moved into the top spot Saturday when he passed for 422 yards and five touchdowns in Ryle’s 47-22 win at Simon Kenton that clinched the No. 1 seed in the local Class 6A district.

But the CovCath defense has held six of its nine opponent to 75 passing yards or less this season. Last Friday, the Colonels had two pass interceptions and four quarterback sacks in a 27-7 win over Conner.

In Smith’s first nine games as NewCath’s starting quarterback, he completed 105 of 174 passes (60.3 percent) for 1,622 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He’s the reason the Thoroughbreds are averaging 187 passing yards compared to 93 rushing yards per game, but moving the ball either way won’t be easy to do on Friday.

Beechwood has given up just 55 points in nine games for a 6.1 average that’s second in the state. The Tigers also rank among the state leaders in passing yards allowed (27.6) and rushing yards allowed (36.2).

Quarterbacks have thrown only two touchdown passes against Beechwood in nine games while being sacked 14 times and having seven passes picked off.

Several other games on Friday’s schedule will have an impact on seeds for the post-season playoffs that begin on Nov. 5. The seeds will be determined by the final Ratings Percentage Index that ranks teams according to their records and strength of schedule.

High school football schedule

Newport Central Catholic (7-2) at Beechwood (9-0), 7:30 p.m.
Ryle (7-2) at Covington Catholic (6-3), 7 p.m.
Scott (6-3) at Dixie Heights (5-4), 7 p.m.
Holmes (7-2) at Bellevue (1-8), 7 p.m.
Cooper (6-2) at Louisville Butler (1-8), 7:30 p.m.
Corbin (9-0) at Campbell County (1-8), 7:30 p.m.
George Rogers Clark (2-7) at Conner (5-4), 7:30 p.m.
Dayton (4-5) at Eminence (6-3), 7:30 p.m.
Holy Cross (2-7) at Ludlow (3-6), 7 p.m.
Newport (3-7) at Pendleton County (1-7), 7:30 p.m.
Boone County (3-6) at Lexington Tates Creek (2-6), 7:30 p.m.
Simon Kenton (2-7) at Woodford County (9-0), 7:30 p.m.

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