Preview: La Salle at CovCath

What does the Blitz 5 Tour do for an encore after last week’s stop to check out our top two ranked teams, St. Xavier and Elder, duel it out in an epic battle? It heads south of the river to watch unbeatens La Salle and Covington Catholic fight to remain perfect in another matchup between highly touted squads in the latest Blitz 5 Top 25 presented by

This success from these teams at this point of the season may be a bit of a surprise to the fans and even the coaches. As good as things have been, both schools want this badly, a signature win to build on moving forward.

For La Salle, a victory almost ensures them one of the eight playoff berths in Division II, Region 8. As for Covington Catholic, they would like nothing better than to close out October with some chest-pounding triumphs starting with this affair.

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Dennis Griffin Stadium, Wooten Field
Follow on Twitter @TSFootball

PLAYERS TO WATCH: La Salle QB Zach Branam is having a breakout junior campaign . He has amassed 1,115 yards of total offense (578 passing, 537 rushing) and accounted for 20 touchdowns (11 passing, nine rushing), including 10 over the last two weeks. The backfield tandem of senior RB Cam Porter and sophomore RB Gi’Bran Payne have combined for 740 yards and nine touchdowns rushing. Porter has committed to Northwestern. Senior and Ohio State commit, WR/K Jake Seibert, leads the team with 16 receptions and three touchdowns. On special teams, Seibert has connected on all 29 of his extra points, hit 3-of-4 field goals, and produced 28 touchbacks on 38 kickoffs.

The Lancers are loaded with speed in the back seven of the defense with senior leadership provided by LB Luke Thiemann and DB Cole Hildebrand. The secondary is comprised of juniors Jaylen Johnson, Jaymar Hargrove-Mundy, Iesa Jarmon and Tay Smith. All of them hold Division I FBS offers. Smith has three of the team’s nine interceptions.

Notre Dame commit TE/LB Michael Mayer is arguably the best two-way player in the state of Kentucky. Mayer has 21 receptions of which nine have gone for touchdowns. The senior holds the school record with 24 career touchdown catches. He also has more than 200 tackles in a Covington Catholic uniform. Junior QB Caleb Jacob, seniors RB/LB Daniel Felix and RB Michael Boydston have been a very productive offensively. Jacobs has thrown for 1,315 yards and 19 touchdowns. Felix has team highs of 297 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Boydston has six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) on 35 offensive touches. Senior OL Lucas Jones is the anchor up front.

Felix also stars on the defensive side of the ball. He and classmates DL Carter Martin, DL John Lawrie along with sophomore Trevor Wilson have combined for 17 of the Colonels 30 sacks. Wilson leads the squad with five sacks.

TEAM TRENDS: La Salle and Covington Catholic are two of the four teams (Winton Woods, Little Miami) in the Blitz 5 Top 25 that have scored at least 31 points in every game that they have played this season. CovCath has scored 45 points or more on five occasions.

Staying undefeated will be tough for La Salle. The Lancers final four opponents are a combined 21-4. Covington Catholic has won 28 consecutive regular season contests. They are 36-1 in their last 37 games overall. The Colonels have four shutouts with 38 of its 47 points allowed this season coming in Week 2 against Lexington Catholic. That may be a bit misleading, CovCath has six victories over teams that are averaging less than 19 points per game.

LA SALLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Lancers have built double-digit advantages by halftime in all of their games, including five leads of 17 points or more. This has afforded La Salle the opportunity to cut it loose on defense after intermission. The Lancers will look to tap into that formula for success, once again. That starts with keeping Mayer silent offensively in the first two quarters.

COVINGTON CATHOLIC’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Colonels haven’t faced a team that has nearly the speed that La Salle has. Negating the Lancers’ quickness means being sure tacklers on defense and sustaining long drives on offense. The less time that La Salle has the ball in its hands the better CovCath’s chance to win.

Prediction: La Salle 30, Covington Catholic 24

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