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Bluegrasspreps’ Class 5A Pre-Season Preview

For the last several years, Class 5A was dominated by Bowling Green. This year Class 5A got a whole lot more interesting with two teams that won State Championships in 2014 and one that had won three in the last four years and had a great run 49 consecutive wins end a year ago. What does 2015 hold for Class 5A? There’s a chance a regular State Champion will dominate, but which one? Two dominate teams from last season will be disappointed. Which ones?

The Top 10

1. Highlands (13-2; 4A State Champions)
There are two people in Fort Thomas smiling, yea maybe more, but two in particular: Coach Weinrich and Coach Turner. Why are they smiling? Because they are returning three offensive linemen from their 2014 State Championship team: Bo Hebel, Evan Richardson and Carson Haas. Put those three together with Nick Kendall and Chandler New and the Bluebirds will have a great start on some offensive firepower.

2. Bowling Green (11-2; Lost in third round of 5A playoffs to Graves County)
After a disappointment in the third round of playoffs in 2014, expect the Purples to be re-focused and determined. Bowling Green returns thousand yard rusher Jamele Carothers who scored 16 touchdowns a year ago. Carothers will get the ball early and often and will be running behind D1 commit Jordan Meredith.

3. Pulaski County (13-2; 5A State Champions)
After a 2014 State Championship that everyone thought was going to Bowling Green, the Maroons are excited and want to retain the title. Pulaski County return Mr. Football Candidate Riley Hall who passed for over 2,000 yards, adding another 250 on the ground, from the Championship team. Stay tuned, you will hear more about Riley Hall this season.

4. Covington Catholic (8-5; Lost in third round of 4A playoffs to Highlands)
The Colonels are excited with new Head Coach Eddie Eviston making his return to Northern Kentucky. Coach Eviston inherited more than a football team, he inherited a schedule that is more than difficult. Covington Catholic will be tested virtually every week of the season and if they survive unscathed, they will be the best playoff prepared team in the class.

5. Owensboro (12-3; 4A State Runner-Up)
The Red Devils are one of the few teams in the class that have given Highlands a scare. After a tremendous playoff run to the State Championship game, Owensboro controlled the game for a time before falling to the Bluebirds 42-49. The good news for Owensboro, they return 1,200 yard rusher T.J. James and LB Gekove Garder who amassed 88 tackles a year ago.

6. Southwestern (10-3; Lost in third round of 5A playoffs to Pulaski County)
Southwestern was able to beat eventual State Champion Pulaski County a year ago during the regular season, but they could not repeat the feat in the playoffs. Southwestern will relish the opportunity to beat Pulaski again.

7. Dixie Heights (13-2; Class 6A State Runner-Up)
After making it to the State Championship Game in 2014, it seems everyone is talking about what Dixie Heights has lost and how much they have to replace. On offense that is true, the Colonels will have to find some weapons to score. But, the good news for Dixie Heights is, they have a great chance of making it difficult for their opponents to score. The Colonels return Jack Lohre, Owen Sammons, Noah Caple and Ethan Schulte who made up a large part of the 2014 defense.

8. Anderson County (9-4; Lost in third round of 5A playoffs to Cooper)
The Bearcats lost much of their offensive firepower from last year, but they retain enough to cause a lot of trouble for opponents. After being a contributing factor as a sophomore, junior Bryndon Labhart returns at the running back position and senior Ryan Martin will in the backfield help and give another dimension to worry about.

9. North Laurel (8-4; Lost in second round of 5A playoffs to Southwestern)
Gone is Mr. Everything - Jake McFadden, it will take a committee to replace his offensive output. Chairman of that committee is senior Steven Nelson. After rushing for 800 yards behind McFadden, look for Nelson to have more opportunities in a strong ground game. To add another diminution to the offense, the Jaugars return two capable receivers in Nick Broughton and Tucker Sharp. The big question is: who will take over at quarterback for North Laurel.

10. Christian County (4-8; Lost in second round of 5A playoffs to Graves County)
The Colonels had less than a dominant performance in 2014, but one good thing Christian County does have in 2015, they’ve got experience. The Colonels return quarterback Kolbe Langhi after his baptism under fire as a starting freshman quarterback. He may have been a freshman, but the 6’5” sophomore will pass the look test, and after passing 2,300 yards and 24 touchdowns a year ago, Langhi is not your typical sophomore quarterback.

The Next Five

Bullitt East (7-4; Lost in first round of 5A playoffs to John Hardin)
After a four loss season and an early playoff lose, Bullitt East will have many new faces on both sides of the ball. The Charges will have a lot to prove in the early season to prepare for District and playoff games to come.

Graves County (11-4; Class 5A State Runner-Up)
Cody Crider is gone, and much of Graves County’s known offensive firepower went with him. The big question for the Eagles is, who will be the starting quarterback. Graves County returns two possible single callers: Junior Conner McKee and Sophomore Tristin Bonnstetter. Both received some playing time last season and similar output in limited playing time. The good news for the Eagles is Dakota Dixon returns, a two way player that was very productive on defense a year ago.

South Oldham (8-3; Lost in the second round of Class 5A playoffs to Anderson County)
The Dragons lost most virtually all their offensive production to graduation. “Virtually”, South Oldham returns their leading scorer from 2014 - Kicker, Drew Koch who accounted for 64 total points on 46 extra points and three field goals.

Grayson County (9-3; Lost in second round of 5A playoffs to John Hardin)
After a great 2014, the Cougars move into a district with Bowling Green. Grayson County will have to work hard to find replacements for the holes left to graduation to complete with the Purples.

Woodford County (4-7; Lost in first round of 5A playoffs to Cooper)
The Yellow Jackets return, what looks to be the most talented and highly touted offensive line in the state. Woodford County returns the, arguably, number one center in the country - Drake Jackson. To go with Jackson, the Jackets have highly recruited Saige Young and Seth Joest at the two guard positions. Unlike many programs wondering if they will have the line to help their backfield, Woodford County is hoping they have the backfield to benefit from their line play.

Players to Watch

Chandler New, WR - Highlands
Nick Kendall, RB - Highlands
Jamele Carothers, RB - Bowling Green
Jordan Meredith, OL - Bowling Green
Riley Hall, QB - Pulaski County
Chris Resinger, OL - Covington Catholic
T.J. James, RB - Owensboro
Caple Noah, LB - Dixie Heights
Kolbe Langhi, QB - Christian County
Keyron Catlett, WR - Christian County
Ryan Martin, RB - Anderson County
Bryndon Labhart, RB - Anderson County
Steven Nelson, RB - North Laurel
Dakota Dixon, RB - Graves County
Starr Thompson, RB - South Oldham
Drew Koch, K - South Oldham
Drake Jackson, OL - Woodford County
Saige Young, OL - Woodford County
Seth Joest, OL - Woodford County

Games to Watch

Bowling Green vs. Owensboro - September 11th
Owensboro vs. Christian County - October 2nd
Highlands vs. Dixie Heights - October 9th
Highlands at Covington Catholic - October 17th
Pulaski County at Southwestern - October 23rd
Covington Catholic at Dixie Heights - October 23rd