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It was a “Say What?” weekend as high school football had its first full schedule of games in the Tri-State a week ago.
Reading and Sidney start off 1-0 after 0-10 campaigns in 2011. In fact both schools were the only one in their league to pull out a victory.
In Ohio, Division I four of last year’s top eight playoff teams fell in Week 1. In Division II last season’s top two squads, Kings and Trotwood-Madison, fell in their openers.
On the Kentucky side of the river, Simon Kenton, Cooper and Lloyd all went to 2-0. It was also rare occasion that saw NewCath and Beechwood go down in the same week.
Indiana can boast that four of the six EIAC teams are 2-0 out of the gate.
Here is a look at this weekend’s Best Bets:
NewCath (1-1) @ Campbell County (1-1) - NewCath followed up an opening week win by dropping a heartbreaker at McNicholas last Saturday, 27-24. The Breds’ defense has yet to find its groove early season, allowing 24.5 points per game through its first two contests. Establishing the running game and senior Dylan Hayes shouldn’t be too difficult against a Camels’ defense that has struggled to stop the run. Campbell County will need a big night from quarterback Tyler Durham if they are going to pull out a home victory.
Holy Cross (1-1) @ Conner (1-0) - The Cougars had no problems getting points on the board in their opener as they picked up a tough road win at Boone County. Now Conner returns home to face Holy Cross, the defending Class 2A state champions. The Indians struggled mightily in Week 2 as they fell to Cooper, another Class 5A school, 49-7. Quarterback Drew Barker and senior Cameron Fogle present huge matchup problems for Holy Cross, who must figure out a way to get Jalen Beal going if they are going to stay in this contest.
Holmes (1-0) @ Beechwood (0-1) – 7:30 PM – Beechwood seemed a bit lost on both sides of the ball without star Max Nussbaum, who is out with a torn meniscus. The Tigers fell to Simon Kenton and could have used that leadership from Nussbaum in key situations last Friday. Head coach Noel Rash will make the adjustments this week. Beechwood will need to prove they are capable of handling the athleticism that Holmes brings to the table. The Bulldogs start off with an intense first four weeks of the season. Now, with a little bit of confidence after the Scott win, this team has momentum on their side and must learn how to maintain it heading into September.
CovCath (2-0) @ LaSalle (0-1) – 7:30 PM – LaSalle won an early 10 am start, 41-10, at CovCath, a year ago in a contest that was shortened because of heat warnings last season. The Lancers defense has to get better in a hurry. They gave up 392 yards in last week’s loss to Lakota West and 289 of those were on the ground. In addition, the Lancers gave up pass plays of 45 and 49 yards to the Firebirds. LaSalle racked up 466 yards of total offense on 82 plays (59 were passes), but it was five turnovers that were their demise in the opener. The combination of juniors Derek Kief at receiver and Morgan Wilcox at running back is going to make life easy for Lancers head coach Tom Grippa over the next two years. CovCath quarterback Blake Bir set the school record with six touchdown passes and upped his program best touchdown pass total to 59 in last week’s 54-0 rout of Dixie Heights. The Colonels have outscored their two opponents by a combined 91-0 in 2012.
East Central (2-0) @ Sycamore (1-0) – 7:30 PM – East Central takes a step up in class as they take on a GMC foe. The Trojans will see speed like they have never seen before with Sycamore’s skill position players. It will be a sharp contrast as EC used star linebacker Payton Stonefield in their depleted backfield last week. Aviators’ junior quarterback Greg Simpson is a dual threat with a strong arm and fast wheels. The most impressive thing about Sycamore’s win over Anderson was that they only gave up 3.1 yards per carry on 43 rushing attempts. The Aves’ defense got stronger as the game wore on.
Grand Rapids Christian (1-0) @ Moeller (1-0) – Saturday, 1:00 PM - Moeller has been to the postseason 10 straight years. It is the longest current streak by any team in Southwest Ohio. Sunday’s win for the Crusaders marked the sixth time in 10 games that quarterback Spencer Iacavone has ran and passed for at least one touchdown in a game. Running back Keith Watkins surpassed the 1,000-yard mark rushing for his career with a 117-yard output in Week 1. Grand Rapids Christian is coming off the program’s first undefeated regular season and has 12 players that will play ball at the next level. GRC gave up 418 yards of total offense in their opener. Moeller linebacker Shane Jones and Grand Rapids Christian receiver Drake Harris have both committed to Michigan State
Winton Woods (0-1) @ Lakota East (1-0) – 7:30 PM – Last fall Lakota East won a 38-37 overtime thriller over Winton Woods a year ago. The Thunderhawks benefit from their GMC schedule, avoiding Colerain and Princeton. Picking up non-conference wins versus the Warriors and Northmont next week will be huge for their playoff hopes. Running back Will Mahone showed his explosiveness with three first-quarter touchdowns in a 6:40 span of the first quarter in Lakota East’s Week 1 win over Western Hills. Winton Woods quarterback Shermar Hooks was impressive in his first start under center completing 14/22 passes for 198 yards, rushing for 77 more with a score on the ground and another passing in the Warriors’ loss to Wayne.
Withrow (0-1) @ Anderson (0-1) - 7:30 PM – The loser of this affair goes to 0-2 with little margin of error to make the playoffs. Anderson heads to Lakota West and the Tigers head to Centerville in Week 3. Last season Withrow won last year’s thriller with the Redskins, 26-25. A young Anderson defense gave up way too many yards on first and second downs in their 38-7 loss to Sycamore. Their offense has to get the ball into the hands of First-Team All-Southwest District receiver Jared Cook’s hands more frequently after just four catches in the opener. The Tigers massive offensive line needs to be more assertive. Withrow only ran for 131 yards in loss to Turpin. This team should average 200 yards a game on the ground with their size up front.
Lebanon (1-0) @ Loveland (1-0) – 7:30 PM – This is the fourth straight year that these teams will meet in Week 2 with Lebanon winning two of the three tilts. The contest has all the makings of a letdown game for Lebanon. Last year the Warriors knocked off Loveland in Week 2 after the Tigers trounced Turpin to start their season. Loveland will be out for revenge. In Lebanon’s upset over Kings, the Warriors lost every statistical category except passing yards and still won by 15 points. Stretching the field is key for the Warriors, of quarterback Luke Morgan’s eight completions in the win over the Knights six of them went for 20 or more yards. Takeaway a 62-yard touchdown pass by Butler in the first quarter and the Loveland defense did not allow another point and only 85 yards of total offense the rest of the night to the Aviators in their opening win. The Tigers haven’t started a season 2-0 since they got out of the gat at 3-0 in 2007.
Springboro (1-0) @ Centerville (0-1) – 7:30 – Two schools that neighbor each other in adjacent and yet this is only the third time that they have met in football. Centerville has won handily over the Panthers in each of the past two seasons. This year is different as the pressure is on the Elks to nab a victory. Centerville threw for more yards than they ran for against Elder and that is not a good sign for their triple-option offense. Springboro showed their mental toughness in taking down Mason in Week 1. The Panthers can make everyone take notice if they can put enough points on the board to sneak out a win over the Elks.
McNick (1-0) @ New Richmond (1-0) – 7:30 PM – Jumping out to a 2-0 start in Region 12 is going to be a huge advantage moving forward to the winner of this tilt. McNicholas showed huge heart as they knocked off a very good NewCath squad in Week 1. The Rockets will continue to need clutch play out of quarterback Austin Ernst if they want to get back to the playoffs. New Richmond running back Blake Thompson was stellar in the second half in the Lions’ victory over Indian Hill with three rushing touchdowns. McNick held the NewCath run game in check. They will have to do the same thing this Friday night to come out on top.
Ross (0-1) at Monroe (1-0) – 7:30 – PM – Ross can ill-afford another collapse defensively after giving up 21 unanswered points to Goshen in the game’s final 12 minutes last Friday night. The Rams let it slip away after dominating for three periods. It took Monroe a half to finally get their motors going behind the wheels of quarterback Tyler Larison. Ironically the Hornets finished with a big fourth quarter surge to break away from Talawanda in their opener. If the Ross front line can win the push up front on defense it could be a long night for Monroe.
Taft (1-0) @ Badin (1-0) – Sat, 7:30 PM - These two schools will meet for a fourth straight season with Taft holding a 2-1 advantage. All three games have been decided by six points or fewer. Badin has not finished under .500 since 2004. The Rams’ Austin Rieman had seven touches and amassed 204 all-purpose yards with three rushing touchdowns in the win over Woodward to start his senior year. Taft has won at least six games (but never more than seven in each of the past five seasons). Senators’ quarterback Michael Williams was sensational in his debut under center racking up 476 yards of total offense (368 passing, 119 rushing) with four touchdowns rushing and one passing.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.