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Newport Central Catholic (2-0) bounced back from a turnover-filled first half to come away with a big 23-13 win against McNicholas (0-1) in the third game on Saturday at Nippert Stadium.
NewCath quarterback Brady Hightchew had difficulty holding on to the ball in the first half. The dual threat signal caller fumbled on a running play and it turned into a McNick touchdown. Rockets defensive back Brad Rice picked up the loose ball and raced 74 yards to the house for a second quarter 7-0 lead.
Hightchew who would turn the ball over three times in the first quarter, threw a five-yard touchdown pass to junior Pete Collopy with less than a minute left before halftime. All things considered, the Breds had to be happy to have the score tied 7-7 at the intermission.
NewCath lost the services of starting center Nick Groh due to an injury in the first quarter and his absence was significant. The new center-quarterback exchange struggled and Hightchew had to fall on several muffed snaps in the first half.
The second half was another story as NewCath looked to be a rejuvenated squad by an extremely poised Hightchew who would be named the game’s most valuable player.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Hightchew threw a 50-yard pass to fellow senior Nick Woltermann. An additional 15 yards was tacked on to the end of the play when Woltermann was hit late out-of-bounds. Five plays later, Hightchew scored on a six-yard touchdown run to take a 13-7 lead.
Hightchew would score again with just eight seconds left in the third quarter with a seven-yard run. The eight-play drive was highlighted by another big play by Woltermann, a 21-yard reception.
At the end of a 13-play drive, Matt Burns added a 32-yard field goal to push the lead out to 23-7 late in the fourth quarter.
GAME PHOTO GALLERY
--Postgame: Brady Hightchew, NewCath
--Postgame: Eddie Eviston, NewCath
The NewCath defense was dominating throughout the game. Junior defensive lineman Elliott Rust led the way with a pair of sacks as the Breds took control of the line of scrimmage for the entire game.
The Breds would have pitched a shutout but gave up a late touchdown using a prevent-defense with many non-starters on the field. McNick scored its first offensive touchdown with under two minutes to play in the game. Quarterback Austin Ernst threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to fellow junior Michael Mink.
NewCath will play its first home game of the season Friday night at Newport Stadium against Campbell County. McNicholas will hope to bounce back with a home game versus New Richmond next week.
Brady Laber is a 2009 graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He is in his second season with TriStateFootball.com and has covered Northern Kentucky high school football since 2006. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.