Cov Cath Holds On To Beat Highlands 21-14

FORT THOMAS, Kentucky – Covington Catholic and Highlands renewed its long-standing classic rivalry at David Cecil Stadium with the Colonels 22-game winning streak on the line. Cov Cath held on to win while playing in cold and rainy conditions by a score of 21-14. 

Highlands is now the first opponent this season from the state of Kentucky that did not have the running clock put on them by the mighty Covington Catholic offense.

Highlands struck first scoring early in the second quarter capping off a 78-yard drive. Joe Buten raced 40-yards to the Bluebirds red zone setting up a two-yard pass play from quarterback Grady Cramer to Hunter Ahfeld. After Nick Bowman’s successful extra point Highlands took a 7-0 advantage.

Covington Catholic recovered quickly and marched down the field on the ensuing possession. Duncan Summe took a handoff on a jet sweep play around the left edge for a 9-yard touchdown run tying the score 7-7.

Highlands committed the game’s first mistake and the Colonels made them pay for it. The Bluebirds fumbled deep in its own territory and the Colonels recovered it on the 14-yard line.

It only took Cov Cath two plays for running back Casey McGinness to score on a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

Highlands went on a long drive hoping to tie the score before intermission. The Colonels defense forced another Highlands turnover as Jack Coldiron intercepted a Bluebirds pass just in front of the goal line. This helped give Cov Cath a 14-7 halftime lead.

Just before the third quarter began the light drizzle turned into a steady, driving rain. Ball security would be a key for both teams in the second half.

After the Colonels were forced to punt starting the second half, Highlands began its first drive on its own 2-yard line. On the first play of the possession, Summe made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball with an interception. 

McGinness scored on the next play from the 2-yard line for his second rushing touchdown. McGinness finished the night with 179 yards on 27 carries.

Highlands could have easily given up but bounced back on the next possession when things were looking bleak.

On 4th-and-10 from its own 9-yard line the Bluebirds setup in punt formation. Cramer took the snap and raced 11 yards for a first down. 

With new life, Highlands turned the possession into a 14-play scoring drive. Cooper Schwalbach finished it off with a 3-yard touchdown run cutting the Colonels lead to 21-14.

The Birds defense forced the usually steady McGinness to fumble the wet football on the final play of the third quarter. Unfortunately, the Highlands could not take advantage and was forced to punt back to Colonels.

Cov Cath was driving in an effort to pad its lead when McGinness was stopped short of a first down on 4th-and-1 at the Colonels 27-yard line.

This gave Highlands the ball with five minutes left in the game and a chance to tie game. The Bluebirds drove to the 33-yard line before the Cov Cath defense made one final stop on 4th-and-7, holding off the Birds and coming away with the win.   

Highlands out gained the high powered Covington Catholic offense 299 yards to 256 but turnovers were the difference as Birds coughed up the ball three times. 

Cov Cath 0-14-7-0 – 21
Highlands 0-7-7-0 – 14

H – Hunter Ahfeld 2-yard catch from Michael Bittner (Nick Bowman kick).
C – Duncan Summe 9-yard TD run (David Gronotte kick)
C – Casey McGinness 3-yard TD run (David Gronotte kick)
C – Casey McGinness 2-yard TD run (David Gronotte kick)
H – Cooper Schwalbach 3-yard TD run (Nick Bowman kick)

RECORDS: Cov Cath (8-0); Highlands (6-2)
UP NEXT: Cov Cath vs. Dixie (0-8); Highlands vs. Greenwood (2-6).

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