Friday, October 22, 1999

Northern Ky. football picks

By Neil Schmidt


Ryle (5-3) at Boone County (3-5)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

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

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Both teams endured three-game losing streaks earlier this season, each slowed by injuries to key players. But both teams now seem back on track.

        The key matchup is how Ryle defends Boone junior tailback Timmy King, who has totaled 979 rushing yards and 13 TDs the past four games.

        “The biggest thing to try to eliminate is the extra two or three yards after you hit him,” Ryle coach Kyle Hockman said. “We're really focusing on running to the ball and swarming.”

        Ryle, which averages 336.5 yards per game, could capitalize on a Boone defense allowing 345 yards per game. Raiders senior QB Justin Parr has thrown for 1,456 yards and 13 TDs, and senior WR Mike Setters has 63 catches for 941 yards and 10 TDs. Travis Grant has run for 808 yards and seven TDs.

        “We have shown some improvement, but we need to challenge ourselves defensively,” Boone coach Rick Thompson said.

        • PICK: Ryle

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

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

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Forget Holmes' 6-0 start. A loss tonight might be the nail in its coffin.

        At 1-2 in Class AAA district play, the Bulldogs need either to win their last two games or win one and get help. In a possible three-way tie with Covington Catholic and Conner, Holmes would lose a tiebreaker and miss the playoffs.

        Highlands, the state's top-ranked AAA team, has won 22 of its past 23 games. It is averaging 373.3 yards per game with a strong run/pass balance.

        Holmes' only hope is to win a scoring duel. It averages 369.3 yards per game, and the Bluebirds are susceptible defensively, allowing 269 yards a night.

        • PICK: Highlands

Dixie Heights (6-2) at Conner (4-3)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today

        • WHERE: Conner HS, 3310 Cougar Path, Hebron

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Conner can clinch a AAA playoff berth by winning tonight. But Dixie is ranked ninth in the state, so that's a tall order.

        Its best hope is for an ambush. Dixie could have an emotional hangover from its disappointing defeat last week at Highlands, and two Colonels — senior running back Jason Soden (thigh bruise) and senior wideout/defensive back Andy Schneider (sprained ankle) — are ailing.

        Dixie has defended the run well, though, which gives it the edge.

        • PICK: Dixie Heights

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

        • WHERE: Beechwood HS, 54 Beechwood Rd., Fort Mitchell

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Beechwood can still work its way into Class A district title contention. If it wins its last two games and Newport Central Catholic beats Bellevue, those three teams would finish in a three-way tie and a complicated tiebreaker process would ensue.

        The Tigers, who moved up this week from third to second in the Class A state poll, have won 38 consecutive home games.

        • PICK: Beechwood

Bellevue (8-0) vs. Newport CC (3-5)
        • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

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

        • WHAT TO WATCH: Bellevue, which ranked No. 1 in the Class A state poll last week but dropped this week to No. 2, can clinch the district crown with a win here. That would mean home-field advantage in the playoffs all the way to the state finals.

        • PICK: Bellevue

Other top games
        • Campbell County at Simon Kenton: The Pioneers still have faint playoff hopes. Pick: Simon Kenton.

        • Dayton vs. Holy Cross at Holmes: Borrowing Holmes' field, Holy Cross stages its first Homecoming tonight. Pick: Dayton.

        • Russell at Lloyd: Lloyd (1-7) would need two wins and help to make the playoffs. Pick: Russell.

        • Bath County at Newport: Newport QB Charlie Smith needs one rushing yard and 17 passing yards to total 1,000 of each for the second straight season. Pick: Newport.

        • Scott at Covington Catholic (Sat.): CovCath has begun its annual late-season surge. Pick: CovCath.

        LAST WEEK: 9-1 SEASON: 61-19 (76.3 percent)


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This week's football schedule
- Northern Ky. football picks
Enquirer polls
Ohio football computer ratings
Ohio Football Polls