Friday, October 15, 1999

N.Ky. football picks

By Neil Schmidt


Dixie Heights (6-1) at Highlands (6-1)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Highlands HS, 2400 Memorial Pkwy., Fort Thomas

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Dixie Height coach Tom Spritzky played center at Highlands in the early 1980s, winning Class AAA state titles with the Bluebirds in '81 and '82. To him, though, that feels like another lifetime. On fall Fridays, he no longer bleeds blue.

        “I've been at Dixie eight years; I consider this my home now,” he said. “Everyone thinks beating Highlands would be extra special for me, but the people surrounding the program want us to win (tonight) for me more than I want to win for me. I want to win for the kids.”

        At Dixie, Spritzky is 0-8 against Highlands, but this appears his best shot. He has 22 seniors and returned starters this fall in 15 of the 22 positions. Dixie has outscored opponents this fall by an average of 42-9, averaging 411.4 yards per game while allowing just 188.4.

        “We knew going into winter workouts and spring football that Dixie was going to be tough,” Highlands coach Dale Mueller said. “This hasn't surprised us, them scoring 70 points (twice). They've got all those good players back.”

        Highlands has just eight seniors, but its junior class is as talented as any group Highlands has ever had. New QB Gino Guidugli has been a great find, leading Northern Kentucky with 1,384 passing yards and 16 TDs.

        • PICK: Highlands

Covington Catholic (2-5) at Holmes (6-1)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Holmes HS, 25th and Madison Aves., Covington

        • WHAT TO WATCH: CovCath has lost five consecutive games and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years if it loses tonight.

        A Colonel victory, though, could tighten the Class AAA playoff race. It could lead to a scenario in which CovCath, Holmes and Conner all tie for the last two playoff spots; multiple tiebreakers could be needed.

        CovCath coach Lynn Ray, 199-100 in 24 seasons at CovCath, will claim his 200th career victory if his Colonels can harness Holmes' offense. But the Bulldogs average 365.4 yards per game offensively, mixing Eddie Bane's rushing (840 yards, 9.8 per carry) and Brian Ferguson's passing (811 yards, 13 TDs).

        • PICK: Holmes

Scott County (4-4) at Ryle (4-3)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Ryle HS, 10379 U.S. 42, Union

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Ryle, 0-3 in its AAAA district, might need to win out to make the playoffs. Scott County (2-2 district) is one of its hurdles.

        Ryle is ready for a late-season surge.

        • PICK: Ryle

Lex. Bryan Station (6-1) at Boone County (3-4)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Boone County HS, 7056 Burlington Pike, Florence

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Bryan Station, ranked fifth in the AAAA state poll, is an offensive powerhouse. Boone will try to control the clock with the rushing of junior Timmy King, who has totaled 814 yards the past three games. He may not be enough.

        • PICK: Lexington Bryan Station

Ludlow (4-3) at Bellevue (7-0)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Gilligan Stadium, on Berry St., Bellevue

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Now No. 1 in the Class A state poll for the first time in eight years, don't expect the Tigers to let down tonight.

        Bellevue coach Charlie Coleman said preliminary research indicates this is the school's best start since 1951, when it went undefeated and was declared the mythical state champ. That was before the advent of state playoffs; state champs were crowned by the AP poll.

        • PICK: Bellevue

Other top games
        • Lloyd at Newport: Newport QB Charlie Smith needs just 79 yards rushing and 49 passing to reach 1,000 in each for the second straight season. Pick: Newport.

        • Conner at Scott: A must-win for Conner's playoff hopes. Pick: Conner.

        • Lexington Henry Clay at Campbell County: Henry Clay (7-0) is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA. Pick: Henry Clay.

        • Holy Cross at Beechwood: Beechwood has won 37 consecutive home games. Pick: Beechwood.

        • Newport Central Catholic at Dayton: NewCath (2-5) will improve to 3-0 in the district. Pick: NewCath.

        LAST WEEK: 7-3 SEASON: 52-18 (74.3 percent)


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- N.Ky. football picks