Friday, September 10, 1999

N.KY. FOOTBALL PICKS


By Neil Schmidt

       

BEECHWOOD (2-0) at NEWPORT (2-0)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Newport HS, 900 E. 6th St., Newport

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Neither Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle or Newport coach Roy Lucas Sr. is sure how good his team is. Tonight should answer many questions.

        Beechwood, ranked first in the Class A state poll, continues to break in new starters on both sides of the ball. Its strength, though, is strength.

        “They're one of the biggest high school teams I've seen, maybe the biggest team in the state,” Lucas said. “They're huge. That always presents a problem. You take the pounding for awhile, and it finally gets to you.”

        Newport presents the double-whammy senior backfield of QB Charlie Smith and TB Nick Partin, running a complex option offense. But Partin is questionable with a sprained knee.

        “We try to work on (defending) the option each week, but when you don't see it in a game, it's tough,” Yeagle said.

        Who wins? Go with experience.

        • PICK: Beechwood

ST. FRANCIS DESALES (1-1)
        at COVINGTON CATHOLIC (2-1)

        • WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday

        • WHERE: Covington Catholic HS, 1600 Dixie Hwy., Park Hills

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Covington Catholic coach Lynn Ray won't get career victory No. 200 without a fight. Ray, 199-96 in 24 years at CovCath, lost at Ryle last week and sees stern tests here and at Beechwood next week.

        Columbus St. Francis DeSales is the two-time defending Ohio Division III state champion, but it's off to a slow start. It beat Toledo St. Johns Jesuit 26-18 but lost last week to big-school power Westerville South 39-13.

        Ohio football is often considered stronger, but CovCath might strike a blow here for the Commonwealth.

        • PICK: Covington Catholic

RYLE (2-0) at CONNER (2-0)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Conner HS, 3310 Cougar Path, Hebron

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Ryle is the surprise of this young season, having started 2-0 with an upset of CovCath despite adjusting to new coach Kyle Hockman's wide-open offense. Ryle is ranked No. 2 in the Enquirer coaches poll and No. 5 in the AAAA state poll.

        Quietly, Conner has also started 2-0, and these Boone County rivals usually match up fairly evenly. Though the district rivalry is now history with Ryle's move up to AAAA, the Raiders still need to avoid a letdown or pay the price.

        • PICK: Ryle

BELLEVUE (3-0) at MASON COUNTY (2-0)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Mason County HS, 1320 U.S. 68, Maysville

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Bellevue's surprising 3-0 start has earned it a No. 10 ranking in the Class A state poll, but it gets a real test tonight.

        Mason County, ranked 11th in AA, blitzed AAA Rowan County 46-0 last Friday. The good news, should Bellevue lose a close one tonight, is that might mean good things next week when the Tigers play Rowan.

        • PICK: Mason County

SCOTT (2-0) at SIMON KENTON (1-2)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Simon Kenton HS, 11132 Madison Pike, Alexandria

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Scott has already matched last year's victory total and has a chance tonight to match the highest number of victories (three) of any season since 1990.

        That shouldn't come tonight. Simon Kenton, embarrassed by its 70-14 loss at Dixie Heights last week, will be primed for a good showing.

        • PICK: Simon Kenton

OTHER TOP GAMES
        • Boone County at Cincinnati La Salle: The Rebels are improved, but they won't start winning until their schedule eases up. Pick: Cincinnati La Salle.

        • Dayton at Holmes: Holmes (2-0) is cruising through its non-district schedule. Pick: Holmes.

        • Lloyd at Dixie Heights: With Lloyd struggling, this ranks as a real mismatch. Pick: Dixie Heights.

        • Lynn Camp at Ludlow: Ludlow (2-1) seems back on track after struggling in a season-opening loss to Madeira. Pick: Ludlow.

        • Campbell County vs. Newport Central Catholic at Newport (Sat.): The Camels, a hard-luck 0-2, get their first victory. Pick: Campbell County.

        LAST WEEK: 8-1 SEASON: 19-4 (82.7 percent)

High School Football Page



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