Coach: Dale Mueller (121-40, including 1-0 this year)
Aug. 21 Highlands 50, Hancock Co. 15
Aug. 28 EVANSVILLE (IN) HARRISON, 8 p.m.
Sept. 3 at Campbell County
Sept. 17 at Cincinnati Elder
Sept. 24 at Lexington Paul Dunbar
Oct. 2 at Covington Catholic, 2 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Scott
Oct. 15 DIXIE HEIGHTS
Oct. 22 HOLMES
Oct. 29 CONNER
(All games at 7:30 unless noted)
Outlook: A Highlands team with only eight seniors, just three returning starters on offense and few big names might sound vulnerable. Don't count on it.
The Bluebirds rank No. 1 in the Enquirer's Northern Kentucky coaches poll and the Courier-Journal's Class AAA state coaches poll, and No. 19 in Fox Sports Net's ''Fox Fab 50'' national ratings. It started strong with a 50-15 beating of Hancock County in the season opener last Saturday.
Highlands was an offensive juggernaut the past three seasons, averaging 91 touchdowns a year (including a state-record 113 last year). For comparison, only four other schools in state history have scored more than 91 in a season.
This team will be less powerful, but perhaps faster. Its strength is speed. Weaknesses? Asked for some in a preseason questionnaire, Mueller wrote, ''We don't believe we have a team weakness.''
A defense which started five sophomores last season is a year older and stronger, led by phenomenal junior linebacker Brent Grover (150 tackles in 1998). He'll also start at tight end this year. Commence comparisons to Derek Smith.
Junior Gino Guidugli gets to follow in Jared Lorenzen's sizeable footsteps at quarterback. If he's half as good, Highlands could repeat its state title.