Saturday, September 04, 1999

Dixie Heights 70, Simon Kenton 14


Colonels' QB says team can play better

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[simon-dixie]
Dixie's Jason Soden dives over Simon Kenton's Ryan Swayne (29).
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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        CRESTVIEW HILLS — It has come this far, this fast: Dixie Heights scores 70 points and finds fault.

        “It wasn't our "A' game,” senior quarterback Chris Unkraut said after a 70-14 beating Friday of visiting Simon Kenton. “We played good, but we're capable of a lot more.”

        And so the most ballyhooed season in school history breeds new and bigger expectations. The Colonels (2-0), ranked fourth in the Enquirer's coaches poll and eighth in the state in Class AAA, now eye a quantum leap.

        A school which has made just six state playoff appearances and never advanced beyond the second round has spent the summer talking titles.

        “We're on a crusade for the state championship,” Unkraut said. “This is our year.”

[simon-dixie]
Dixie's Chris Unkraut (8) runs past Simon Kenton's Sammy Sowards (72).
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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        Dixie's point total Friday is believed a modern-day school record; schools officials said the Colonels bettered 70 points once decades ago.

        With 22 seniors, plus starters returning in 15 of 22 positions, Dixie should update its record book in pencil. More marks could be coming.

        “This is surely the most talented team with the most experience I've had,” coach Tom Spritzky said. “A team like this doesn't come along very often in a career.”

        Spritzky was upset with his team's effort in its opener, a 21-0 victory over Campbell County which was scoreless at halftime.

        “Last week we didn't play good, physical, hard-nosed football,” he said. “This week we pressed the point that you can't turn it on and off.”

        Dixie went full-blast Friday. It scored touchdowns on its first six possessions, being stopped only when the first-half clock expired. In building its 42-0 lead in the first 19 minutes, it held the Pioneers to 12 yards of total offense.

        The 70 points came on a relatively modest 412 yards of offense, thanks largely to good field position. Eight of its scoring drives took four or fewer plays.

        Dixie senior tailback Jason Soden rushed for 141 yards and four TDs on 18 carries. Unkrautwas 8-of-9 passing for 129 yards and a TD.

        “They sure look like the real deal,” Simon Kenton coach Roy Lucas Jr. said. “They've got good players at every position.”

        Though last year's playoff appearance was the school's first since 1991, and Spritzky can't recall if and when the school last made back-to-back playoff appearances, there remains an urge to look ahead.

        Dixie visits Lexington Tates Creek (2-1), the No.7 team in Class AAAA, on Sept. 24. But the titanic struggles come in the season's waning weeks: Oct. 15 at Highlands and Oct. 29 vs. Covington Catholic.

        “We've got a game plan for them (Highlands and CovCath) already,” Soden said. “No one has seen the true Colonels yet.”

        Dixie earned two first-place votes locally from other coaches. It gains believers weekly.

        “We're good enough to compete with just about anyone,” Spritzky said. “But we're just focused on the week ahead. If you look ahead, you'll get snakebit.”

        Simon Kenton senior QB Mike Ballinger was woozy after a hit in the game's second series, so freshman backup Justin Bishop played the rest of the game. The Pioneers' lone bright spot was junior tailback Daniel Morrison, who gained 133 yards and a TD on 21 carries.

        Simon Kenton ....... 0  0  7  7—14

        Dixie Heights ....... 21  21  7  21—70

        DH—Stamper 1 run (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Soden 12 run (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Schneider 20 pass from C.Unkraut (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Soden 10 run (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Soden 1 run (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Buford 38 run (Rolfes kick)

        SK—Morrison 80 run (Smock kick)

        DH—Hall 63 punt return (Rolfes kick)

        SK—Cristello 8 pass from Bishop (Smock kick)

        DH—Soden 9 run (Rolfes kick)

        DH—Stallkamp 30 fumble return (Brockman kick)

        DH—Metzger 30 run (Brockman kick)

        Records: Dixie 2-0, Simon Kenton 1-2.

       



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