Saturday, October 09, 1999

Dixie Heights 35, Holmes 13

Colonels show they're for real - Highlands next

Enquirer contributor

Dixie's Tom Unkraut make a catch as he's pursued by Holmes' Simar Rice.
(Steve Shaffer photo)
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        Holmes is no longer unbeaten. Dixie Heights is no longer unproven.

        The Colonels, who had manhandled lesser opponents all season, erased any question about their championship potential Friday night with a 35-13 beating of the visiting Bulldogs. They used a 268-yard rushing performance from senior Jason Soden to cruise to the critical Class 3A district victory.

        Dixie (6-1), ranked No.7 in the 3A state poll, ran 55 times for 359 yards and played sharp, ball-control offense. Holmes (6-1), ranked 11th in 3A, was stung by four turnovers and several costly penalties.

        Dixie's victory now sets up a titanic meeting with Highlands (6-1) on Friday in Fort Thomas. The winner probably will claim the 3A district crown and could claim home-field advantage all the way to the state finals.

        Dixie set the tone Friday with a 75-yard scoring drive on its first possession. The Colo nels ran on all but two plays on the drive, scoring on Soden's 40-yard run down the left sideline with six minutes to go in the first quarter.

        The Bulldogs tried to respond, but after a penalty forced them back five yards to start the ensuing drive, Eddie Bane had the ball knocked loose by Soden, and Tom Unkraut pounced on it.

        “When you play a football team like (Dixie), you have to play mistake-free,” Holmes coach John Vander Meer said. “We didn't do that.”

        On the second play from scrimmage after the turnover, Dixie quarterback Chris Unkraut completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Andy Schneider on a flea-flicker play the Colonels inserted into their playbook just this week.

        Dixie added another touchdown, thanks to the defense setting up great field position that allowed the Colonels to start on the Bulldogs 37.

        Holmes countered with a 61-yard drive in the closing minutes of the half, scoring with 33 seconds left on an 11-yard pass from Brian Ferguson to Jerry Weaver to trail 21-7 at the break.

        The ground attack led Dixie to another score to open the second half. A drive that fea tured just one pass ended with a Scott Stamper 3-yard TD run.

        “Once we got the first score of the second half, I thought it was time for us to grind it out,” Dixie coach Tom Spritzky said.

        Soden's 35 carries dominated the game and the clock. He capped his scoring by diving across the goal line after a 12- yard run in the fourth quarter. He also caught an interception to go with his forced fumble.

        “The line stepped it up tonight,” Soden said. “They were firing off the ball and sticking their blocks all night. I just tried to hit the holes.”

        With his yardage Friday, Soden went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He now has 1,145 yards and 13 TDs.

        Holmes ....... 0  7 0 6—13

        Dixie Heights ....... 14  7  7  7—35

D—Soden 40 run (Rolfes kick)

        D—Schneider 32 pass from C.Unkraut (Rolfes kick)

        D—T.Unkraut 26 pass from C.Unkraut (Rolfes kick)

        H—Weaver 11 pass from Ferguson (Rankin kick)

        D—Stamper 3 run (Rolfes kick)

        D—Soden 12 run (Rolfes kick)

        H—Engelmon 12 run (conversion failed)

        Records: Dixie 6-1 (2-0 dist.), Holmes 6-1 (1-1).


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- Dixie Heights 35, Holmes 13
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