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Prep Sports Notebook: Five football teams will begin preseason practice this week with new head coaches

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Kentucky high school football teams can begin preseason practice wearing helmets only this week and five local teams will get things started with a new head coach in charge of their program.

The head coaches hired during the offseason include Dave Brausch at Bellevue, Brian Weinrich at Campbell County, Patrick Burke at Dixie Heights, Ryan Hahn at Newport and Roy Lucas Jr. at Simon Kenton.

Chase Crone will be Simon Kenton’s starting quarterback for the fourth consecutive season. (File photo by Dale Dawn)

Lucas was an assistant under Simon Kenton head coach Jeff Marksberry for the last 10 seasons. Marksberry retired after his teams compiled a 159-103 record with 15 winning seasons in 22 years.

The Pioneers finished 2-9 last season, but most of the team’s statistical leaders were juniors who will be returning. One of them is quarterback Chase Crone, a three-year starter with career totals of 5,210 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing.

Last season, Crone passed for 1,638 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 693 yards and 14 TDs. Other talented juniors on the Simon Kenton roster last year were leading rusher Jayden Lawson (898 yards), leading pass receiver Chris Williams (800 yards) and leading tackler Josh Bowling (123).

The Pioneers also have place kicker Andrew Petty returning. Last season, he converted 33 of 38 point-after kicks and all five of his field goal attempts to score 48 points.

The only local football team that won a state championship last year was Beechwood in Class 2A. In the other classes, no local team made it to the semifinals in the state playoffs.

The first day of practice for soccer, volleyball, cross country and golf teams is Friday. Local teams claimed four state championship trophies in those fall sports last year. The defending champions include St. Henry in volleyball and boys Class 1A cross country, Notre Dame in girls soccer and Conner in Class 3A boys cross country.

CovCath all-state basketball player makes college commitment

Covington Catholic basketball player Evan Ipsaro, who was named first-team all-state last season, has made a commitment with Miami University of Ohio.

The 5-foot-10 point guard averaged 21.7 points and 5.8 assists for the Colonels, who won the 9th Region championship and made it to the semifinals of the state tournament.

Evan Ipsaro

He was named to the state all-tournament team after averaging 21.3 points and 4.3 assists in three games. He also made all 21 of his free throws during his first state tournament appearance.

After the season, Ipsaro was voted first-team all-state in a statewide poll of coaches. He received scholarship offers from several NCAA Division I teams before announcing his commitment with Miami of Ohio.

Mitchell Rylee, the only senior in CovCath’s starting lineup last season, will be attending Miami on a basketball scholarship this year. The team’s new head coach Travis Steele has also offered a scholarship to Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer, who had the state’s highest scoring average (38.2) as a junior last season.

Ipsaro was voted 2022 Division I Player of the Year by Northern Kentucky boys basketball coaches. In his first two seasons at CovCath, he scored 1,180 points in 52 games for a 22.6 average while shooting 57.4 percent (424 of 738) from the field and 87 percent (255 of 293) from the line.

Local players on boys basketball club team that finished strong

Basketball players from two local high schools were on the Griffin Elite boys under-17 team that won seven of eight games in the final session of the Under Armor Rise Circuit last week in Atlanta.

The nine players on the Griffin Elite roster included guard Landon Hamilton of Conner and 7-foot-2 center Gabriel Dynes of Simon Kenton. Both of them scored in all eight games with Hamilton totaling 41 points and Dynes netting 35.

After going 3-0 in pool play, Griffin Elite lost in the first round of the double-elimination championship bracket. The team then won four straight in the consolation bracket with Hamilton scoring 13 points in one of those victories.

Griffin Elite compiled a 14-2 record in three sessions of the Under Armor Rise Circuit that provides high-level competition and college recruiting exposure for high school players.

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