DevilMayCare's Avatar
Hurdle, barrier, obstacle, obstruction, impediment.

Those are all terms that the Lloyd Juggernauts might use to describe the Thoroughbreds of Newport Central Catholic over the years. There's probably a few other choice words they might use to describe the 'Breds, but they're likely not fit to print. The last time that the Juggs defeated NewCath, ‘Good Vibrations’ by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch was the #1 song on the Billboard music charts. Disney's animated 'Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ were duking it out for box office supremacy. In other words, it was a long time ago. The year was 1991. Lloyd beat Newport Central Catholic to earn the 2 seed in their district that season. Ultimately, both teams had their seasons cut short by Beechwood in year one of the Yeagle dynasty.

Since then, NewCath has been victorious over Lloyd 23 times in a row, including six times in the past three years. The Juggernauts have developed a pattern in the last two years of playing NewCath tight in the regular season, only to get blown out in the playoff rematch. Similar results against a common opponent this year suggest that another close regular season battle is in store. Newport Central Catholic suffered a 35-27 setback to Conner in Week 5. Seven days later, the Cougars dealt Lloyd a competitive 40-28 loss.

Offensively, Lloyd (5-2) has relied on the playmaking abilities of quarterback Jordan Fann, wide receiver Jamorrow Dawson, and running back Travon Mason. Fann and Mason have formed a potent rushing attack, combining for over 1,000 yards. Fann hasn't thrown it much, but when he does, his favorite target has been Dawson. The senior wideout has totalled 317 yards and 5 touchdowns on 13 receptions, averaging 24 yards per catch through the team's first six games. Linebackers Kamren Krim and Jonathan Williams, and defensive linemen Anthony Hall and Logan Jouett lead the front seven, while Dawson holds down the back end of the defense from his free safety position.

Running back Kyle Kelly is the focal point of Newport Central Catholic’s offense. The junior leads the team in both rushing and receiving. Prior to the 1st half running clock beatdown of Holy Cross, quarterbacks Paul Kremer and Hunter Cain had combined for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. Highlands transfer Braden Posey has proven himself an efficient weapon at WR with four touchdown receptions on just seven catches. Defensively, the Thoroughbreds (4-3) are led by the linebacker trio of Jason Decker, Daniel Craig, and Kelly. Ian Meyer and Brady Hicks anchor the D-line, while Harrison Walz, Hezekiah Miller, and the Posey brothers rove the secondary. Walz leads the team with three interceptions.

Despite the one sided nature of this series over the years, this game is shaping up to be very competitive. The winner all but locks up the district and at least two home playoff games. Lloyd will look to end a couple of decades worth of frustration against NewCath, while the 'Breds hope to keep their collective cleat on the throat of the Juggernauts.