Saturday, September 18, 1999

Beechwood 26, CovCath 0


Tigers protect home turf

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[covcath]
CovCath's Mike Applegate dodges Beechwood's Joe Brady (right) and Gerry Ramundo (left).
(Thomas E. Witte photo)
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        FORT MITCHELL — The Northern Kentucky-record 38-game winning streak was gone, victimized last year in the state semifinals at Middlesboro. Then went a 28-game regular-season streak, vanishing in an upset loss last week at Newport.

        Beechwood's football invincibility was down to a single statistic: Nobody beats the Tigers at home. Friday, figured for a tight tussle with neighborhood rival Covington Catholic, Beechwood instead cruised to a 26-0 home victory.

        Beechwood hasn't lost at Edgar McNabb Field since Lloyd beat it 21-20 on Sept. 1, 1995, a streak that now numbers 35 consecutive victories. A week after what coach Mike Yeagle called one of the Tigers' most uninspired effort in years, the home field cured all ills.

        “Our kids just love playing here at home,” Yeagle said. “There's a tradition. There's something special.”

        There's also an attitude.

        “Coach Yeagle tells us, "If someone came in your house to hurt you, you'd fight 'til the death, wouldn't you? Don't let anyone beat us here,'” Beechwood senior lineman Matt Mercer said.

        Beechwood (3-1) totaled 232 yards, all on the ground. Of those yards, 175 came after halftime.

        “We're always a second-half team,” Mercer said.

[cocath]
CovCath's Brett Dietz gets sacked by Beechwood's Jason Wells (left) and Joe Hampel (right).
(Thomas E. WItte photo)
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        Senior Joe Hampel was Beechwood's leading rusher, totaling 95 yards and two TDs on 10 carries. Ben List gained 91 yards and a TD on 18 carries and scored another TD on a 70-yard punt return.

        “We knew we had the big boys (on the line), and it was just a matter of running behind them,” Hampel said. “It's all the line. That's our whole game.”

        The loss sickened the Colonels (2-3), who lost their third consecutive game in a season suddenly spiraling downward. Lynn Ray, 199-98 in 24 years at CovCath, again was denied his 200th career victory.

        For Beechwood, the victory extended an unlikely dominance of the big-brother school down Dixie Highway. This marks six straight beatings of CovCath, though most of the first five came on courageous comebacks and late heroics.

        “The fact we won 26-0 was a surprise, but the fact we won wasn't,” Yeagle said. “I felt we were the better team. We played good defense and good special teams, and our offense is getting better.”

        CovCath reached Beechwood territory four times in the first half and outgained the Tigers 101 yards to 57. But List's punt return spelled a 6-0 Beechwood lead at intermission.

        Yeagle lit up the locker room at halftime.

        “He really wants it against CovCath,” Mercer said. “He told us seniors it was our last half of football against CovCath, and to make it memorable.”

        The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage thereafter, marching 63 yards on eight rushing plays to score on the first drive after intermission. Beechwood's next possession was a two-play, 40-yard scoring drive.

        “We challenged our line at halftime,” Yeagle said. “Our kids finally realized we could block them.”

        Beechwood, tied with Campbellsville atop the Class A state poll, held down Brett Dietz. Arguably the top quarterback in Northern Kentucky, Dietz suffered a 9-for-26, 90-yard passing night with two interceptions.

        “I have no comment,” Ray said. “I'm too upset to talk right now.”

        CovCath was led by junior tailback Cole Chadwick's 102 rushing yards on 17 carries. It now gets a much-needed bye week, next playing host to Highlands Oct. 2 at CovCath.

        Covington Catholic ....... 0  0   0  0— 0

        Beechwood ....... 0  6  13  7—26

        B—List 70 punt return (kick failed)

        B—Hampel 15 run (pass failed)

        B—Hampel 30 run (Robb kick)

        B—List 18 run (Robb kick)

        Records: Beechwood 3-1, Covington Catholic 2-3.

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