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Brossart, NewCath football teams will head to opposite ends of the state for playoff games

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Northern Kentucky will have two teams in the final four of the Class 1A football playoffs if Newport Central Catholic and Brossart win regional quarterfinal games at opposite ends of the state this Friday.

NewCath (9-3) will make a four-hour road trip to Russellville (10-1), a high school located south of Bowling Green near the state’s western border with Tennessee. Brossart (12-0) will visit Raceland (11-1), a high school on the outskirts of Ashland near the state’s eastern border with West Virginia.

NewCath quarterback Kolton Smith has passed for 2,087 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first year as a varsity starter. (File photo by Carla Martin)

The games were scheduled at Russellville and Raceland because they were ranked higher in the Ratings Percentage Index that’s used to seed teams for the third round of the playoffs based largely on strength of schedule.

Russellville topped the RPI Index in Class 1A. During the regular season, the Panthers won seven games against teams in higher classes, but six of them finished with losing records.

Their biggest win came against Logan County, a team that’s in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs. The only team that beat the Panthers was Glasgow, a contender in the Class 2A playoffs.

Most of NewCath’s victories also came against teams that finished with losing records, but the Thoroughbreds did beat two opponents in higher classes — Holmes (4A) and Walton-Verona (2A) — early in the season.

NewCath sophomore Kolton Smith has put up some impressive numbers in his first season as a varsity starter. He has passed for 2,087 yards and 26 touchdowns to put his name in the team’s single-season record book. He currently ranks seventh in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns.

This will be the first time NewCath has played Russellville, according to NewCath’s record book. But Brossart will be putting its perfect record on the line against a Raceland team that eliminated the Mustangs in the Class 1A playoffs four consecutive years from 2015 to 2018.

This season, Raceland defeated five teams in higher classes, including a 21-0 win over Class 2A playoff contender West Carter. The Rams’ one loss came against Russell, a Class 3A team, but they’ve won 10 straight since then.

Brossart senior quarterback Jacob Leicht has rushed for 1,077 yards and 14 touchdowns.(Photo by Tim Cooper/bmustangs.com)

During the regular season, Brossart beat four Class 2A teams that had a combined record of 12-33. Last week, the Mustangs knocked off Nicholas County, 36-0, to advance to the Class 1A quarterfinals of the first time in the program’s 15-year history.

Brossart’s defense has given up a total of 54 points in 12 games for a 4.5 average. The leading tacklers are senior linebacker Kaleb Lukes (76) and junior defensive back Eva Orth (70).

On offense, the Mustangs have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in senior running back Jed Martin (1,272) and senior quarterback Jacob Leicht (1,077), who have scored 25 of their team’s 35 touchdowns.

In other playoff games on Friday, Walton-Verona will visit defending Class 2A state champion Beechwood, Scott will visit defending Class 4A state champion Boyle County and Ryle will host defending Class 6A state champion Louisville Trinity.

Covington Catholic will take a seven-game win streak on the road to Woodford County, the top seed in the Class 5A RPI Index. The undefeated Yellow Jackets, who have won 10 games by margins of 21 points or more, will be facing a CovCath defense that’s allowed only five touchdowns in the last six games.

Friday’s regional playoff games

Newport Central Catholic (9-3) at Russellville (10-1), 7 p.m.
Brossart (12-0) at Raceland (11-1), 7:30 p.m.
Walton-Verona (9-3) at Beechwood (12-0), 7:30 p.m.
Scott (8-4) at Boyle County (11-1), 7:30 p.m.
Covington Catholic (9-3) at Woodford County (12-0), 7:30 p.m.
Louisville Trinity (5-7) at Ryle (9-3), 7:30 p.m.

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