By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters
NEWPORT – The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds football team did not figure to have much trouble with the visitors to open the Class 2A playoffs.
That proved to be the case in a 47-14 rout of the Owen County Rebels on Saturday afternoon at Newport Stadium. The defending 2A state champions have not lost in the first or second round of the playoffs since 1999.
The Thoroughbreds led 47-0 at halftime and enforced the running clock in the second quarter. The teams agreed to play eight-minute quarters with the running clock in the second half. NewCath (7-4) has won six in a row.
“We just took care of what we wanted to do,” said Dan Wagner, NewCath Head Coach. “We took care of our business and played the way we wanted to starting out. We were hoping to get some (younger) kids in and we did.”
NewCath outgained Owen County (2-9), 204-152 in total offense. The Thoroughbreds held the Rebels to just 15 yards in the first half. NewCath doubled up Owen County, 8-4 in first downs.
NewCath ran the ball 24 times for 149 yards and completed all four passes for 55 yards. Jacob Smith rushed for 85 yards on eight carries for NewCath and Mac Franzen completed both passes for 35 yards. Brandon Gray had a 19-yard reception for the longest of NewCath’s pass plays.
Tanner Smith completed 7-of-20 passes for 167 yards for the Rebels. All seven went to Logan Webster.
Owen County scored one touchdown in each of the final two quarters. Logan Lowe had a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Smith hit Webster for a 60-yard bomb in the fourth quarter.
The Thoroughbreds led 34-0 after the first quarter. Smith had touchdown runs of eight and four yards with Kalvin Moore scoring from three yards out and Jack Sutkamp scoring from 10 yards away. Brandon Gray topped off the scoring with a 54-yard punt return.
NewCath enforced the running clock in the second quarter when Peyton Davis recovered a fumble in the end zone and sophomore quarterback Erik Anderson had a 27-yard touchdown run. The Thoroughbreds made 7-of-9 extra-point attempts.
Depth played a role in this game. NewCath has 62 players listed on its roster and Owen County dressed about 30.
2012 Region Final Rematch up next:
The next challenge for the Thoroughbreds is a home game against the 9-2 Walton-Verona Bearcats. NewCath handled Walton-Verona, 49-14 in the region title game last year.
NewCath has played the tougher schedule. The Thoroughbreds have faced three 6A schools that all advanced to the second round of the playoffs, a 5A school in Cooper that led most of Friday’s game at Anderson County and beat Class 4A Ashland Blazer, which beat Covington Holmes to march on to the next round of the playoffs.
The Bearcats lost to Covington Holmes and beat Class 5A Grant County, which did not make the playoffs. Every other opponent is Class 2A or smaller.
Walton-Verona rallied past Lloyd Memorial, 21-18 on Friday. The Juggernauts led most of the game.
Senior Chris Latimore and junior Mason Compton have rushed for more than 800 yards each for the Bearcats. They entered the playoffs averaging between 12 and 13 passes a game.
“The Compton kid is a strong runner,” Wagner said. “They run (Latimore and Compton) almost exclusively. The quarterback (Justin Kline) carries it some. Latimore is more of the scat back. When they need a play, it’s (Compton) running the ball.”
Wagner said he hopes the game starts at 7 p.m. The Thoroughbreds have won 13 straight second-round playoff games.