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THE RANKINGS:


10) Holy Cross (2A) 7-3 – The Indians put up a serious fight during the regular season this year, besting their 5-5 season last year by 2 wins. They finished things off in winning fashion by beating 1A Bellevue 56-12 on the road. Holy Cross’s backfield, led by rushers Xavier Abernathy and Derrick Barnes, ran for a combined 306 yards and 5 TDs, while QB Dylan Couch threw for 191 yards and 2 TDs to Corey Lyons and Jaylin Williams. Austin Baker and Jake Gerrein led the defense with 7 tackles each, while Barnes, Finke, Finnell and Schirmann each had 5 tackles a piece. Holy Cross starts off in the 2A playoffs hosting Owen County (5-5) tonight at Covington Catholic.

9) Highlands (5A) 3-7 – The Birds will be looking to put this regular season well behind them as they begin their hunt in the 5A playoffs with a fresh 0-0 record. Their third win of the season came in Week 10 with a 48-28 win over 6A Boone County last Friday. QG Brady Gosney showed why he is the number 2 passer in 5A with 219 yards and 3 TDs passing, while adding another 2 TDs on the ground. RB Grant Murray rushed for 175 yards and 2 TDS, and caught one more TD. Nick Veneman caught for 163 yards and 1 TD while Trent Buchert added another TD reception. The defense will continue to be a concern for the Birds, as evidenced by Boone’s 498 yards total offense, compared to Highlands’ 477 total yards offense. Highlands will start the 5A playoffs on the road against Doss (5-5).

8) Newport Catholic (2A) 5-5 – For a second year in a row, the Breds came out of the regular season with a 5-5 record. Friday proved more of a disappointment than most New Cath fans would have hoped, with the Breds losing 14-42 to 1A Beechwood. For 328 total yards of offense, New Cath only had two touchdowns to show for it, with a 22 yard Henschen to Losey TD pass, and a punch-in TD on the ground by Kelly. Henschen finished the game with 226 yards and 1 TD passing, while Hunter Cain led the defense with 6 solo tackles. The Breds will look to repeat their 2015 run to the 2A state finals as they begin the playoffs against Carroll County (4-6).

7) Dixie Heights (5A) 5-5 – Dixie’s regular season ended on Friday with a loss to an undefeated 6A Ryle team. The Colonels weren’t able to dig out a winning regular season, but still managed to improve things by finishing the regular season with two more wins than they had all year in 2015. Dixie’s passing game couldn’t get going on Friday, with a mere 37 yards in the air. Cameron Barrett rushed for 98 yards and 1 TD, Brandon Barker ran for another 49 yards and 1 TD, while Austin Rice added another 117 yards on the ground. SR Jose Torres – 5A’s #3 leading rusher – only carried three times for 7 yards. Dixie will begin in the 5A playoffs on Friday as they host Southern (4-6).

6) Beechwood (1A) 9-1 – Beechwood finished their second 9-1 regular season in a row on Friday by beating longtime rival 2A Newport Catholic. The Tigers extended their win streak over the Breds to three by beating New Cath 42-14 with 433 yards total offense. Brayden Burch went 10 for 18 with 170 yards and 3 TDs passing, and Aiden Justice averaged over 8 yards per carry with an impressive 168 yards rushing and 2 TDs. The 1A playoffs open for the Tigers at home on Friday against Eminence (4-6).

5) Cooper (6A) 6-4 – Cooper saw no action this week, after having wrapped up their regular season schedule last week with a 7-18 loss to 6A district rival Conner. Quarterback Jarod Lonaker finished the regular season as the number one 6A passer in Kentucky while favorite receiver, SR Dante Hendrix, finished as the number two 6A receiver in the state. The Jags will be on the road on Friday, as they head to Lexington to take on Bryan Station (4-6) in the first round of the 6A playoffs.

4) Conner (6A) 8-2 – The Cougars enters the 6A playoffs second place in District 5, ending the regular season with a 40-8 win over 4A Mason County. QB Buelow had 155 yards passing on Friday, with 1 passing TD and 1 rushing. RB Armand Jackson rushed 9 times for 122 yards and 3 TDs of his own. Senior Peyton VanHorn had 14 solo tackles in the game, finishing the regular season with a stout 117 solo tackles. Conner starts off their run in the 6A playoffs against Paul Laurence Dunbar (3-7) on Friday in Hebron.

3) Covington Catholic (5A) 7-3 – After a 3-7 regular season last year, the Colonels turned things around, facing 9 of the same opponents this year, but coming out with much improved a 7-3 record, including wins over Sycamore (OH), 4A Lex Cath, and 5A rival Highlands. Their final game of the season ended in a loss, but many didn’t expect to find the Colonels tied with 6A Scott County going into the 4th quarter of the 28-35 loss on Friday. Senior Alex Shelton led the defense with 7 tackles, while QB AJ Mayer led the offensive charge with 149 yards and 2 TDs passing and 1 TD on the ground. Anthony Best had a receiving TD and a rushing TD, while Josh Newman had 1 TD receiving. Cov Cath will play host to Fairdale (3-7) on Friday in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

2) Simon Kenton (6A) 9-1 – Simon Kenton’s regular season only had 1 blemish – a Week 10 loss to 6A Ryle. However, they finished off things in the regular season with a 39-7 win over 4A Scott. Racke was 70% passing with 126 yards and 2 TDs on 10 attempts. Dylan Hampton and Jon Sergent accounted for 3 TSs on the ground, while Tanner Green and Luke Vance caught for 1 TD a piece. Conner Norvell led the defense with 6 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles. Simon Kenton will host 6A George Rogers Clark (1-9) in the first round of the playoffs.

1) Ryle (6A) 10-0 – Ryle finishes out the regular season undefeated with a final 43-14 victory over 5A Dixie Heights. Tanner Morgan had another stellar outing going 9 for 18 with 219 yards and 3 TDs passing. Jake Chisholm had 3 TDs, with 2 by air and 1 by land, and the other TDs came via Clarkson, Howorka, and Pilyer. Demetrakis, High and Saladin each had 8 solo tackles on D, while Rytlewski had 3 tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception. The Raiders bested 8 NKY competitors in the regular season, as well as 6A Henry Clay and 6A George Rogers Clark. They will start the 6A playoffs this Friday by hosting Henry Clay (3-6-1) for a rematch of their regular season game.


Trending Up (Season):

5A Covington Catholic (7-3) – The Colonels faced 9 of the 10 teams they played last season, and reversed their regular season win/loss record from 3-7 in 2015 to 7-3 in 2016.

2A Holy Cross (7-3) – Holy Cross’s senior class pulled their weight in the regular season, helping improve the team's record from 5-5 in 2015 to 7-3 in 2016.

6A Ryle (10-0) – Ryle won out the regular season this year, improving on their 2015 by two wins and finishing as the only undefeated team in NKY and the #1 team in the final edition of the NKY Power Rankings for the year.


Trending Down (Season):

6A Campbell County (3-7) – Although they saw two more wins this season than they did in 2015 – beating 5A Highlands and 2A New Cath in cross-county competition – the Camels team seemed to slip backwards throughout the regular season as they only managed 1 win in their last 7 games.

5A Highlands (3-7) – The 2016 regular season was one of the worst in Highlands’ football history, with losses including 6A Campbell County, 5A Dixie Heights, and rival 5A Covington Catholic. The Birds will start off the playoffs on the road for the first time in over 20 years.

4A Scott (3-7) – After having their best regular season in program history in 2015 (8-2), the Eagles were only able to scrape out 2 wins in the regular season this year, and will face the same Johnson Central (9-1) team in the first round of the playoffs who ended their playoff run last year.