Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 18, 2013

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Fell for it like a rookie

ASHLAND — You’d think after six years of covering Kentucky high school football, I would stop making rookie mistakes.

But even the veterans were jolted by this one.

Johnson Central had disposed of every team on its schedule by 22 or more points this season. It consistently churned out two or three 100-yard rushers behind a dominant offensive line, threw in a few nice pass plays here and there and presented a rock-solid case on defense. The Golden Eagles appeared untameable.

But, like a Bluegrass broken record, another mighty foe from the Greater Cincinnati area prevailed in an all-too-familiar tune for teams in this part of the state.

Covington Catholic didn’t just beat Johnson Central, the Colonels clobbered the Golden Eagles, setting up a CovCath-Highlands rematch. Here’s what’s amazing: Highlands drilled CovCath, 42-6, earlier this season.

I look like a fool for thinking Highlands could be taken down by anyone, not just Johnson Central. CovCath prevented the matchup from even happening, squashing the notion with a loud stomp.

The Bluebirds — who still need to come up with a more intimidating mascot — blitzed Ashland, 56-6, to end the Tomcats’ season.

Highlands is basically like Alabama. Throughout the entire season, fans, sports writers, TV analysts and opposing players gradually grow to think that a team from another conference can outduel the SEC’s best come bowl time. Then, the Tide deliver the truth and it hits everyone like a ton of bricks.

So, I admit it. I was blinded by the light (revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night; Manfred Mann, 1976).

Here’s my new prediction: Highlands will roll to its seventh straight state championship.

According to MaxPreps, such a streak would be the longest ever in American high school football.

As far as Ashland and Johnson Central go, Friday night should not define their 2013 seasons.

The Tomcats accomplished much more than many thought they would with almost a whole new slate of starters and a slew of injuries under first-year coach Tony Love.

Love summed it up well on Friday. “Sometimes that last loss clouds what your team has achieved, and these guys have achieved a lot,” he said of his 8-4 Tomcats.

Johnson Central still has a lot returning next season from an

11-1 squad.

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