Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Highlands Sub-Varsity Report

Bluebird Freshman Team Lost Just Once This Season

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands junior offensive lineman Jackson Roy (66) watches after completing a block against Conner in the first round of the playoffs Friday.
With the graduation of 31 seniors, Highlands could see a number of contributors move up from the junior varsity and freshman squads.

The junior varsity team finished 5-4. The Bluebirds defeated Campbell County, Ryle, Conner, Boone County and Cooper and lost to Simon Kenton twice, Covington Catholic and Cincinnati St. Xavier.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Highlands Bowling Wins First Matches

Bluebirds Take Down Crusaders

Twitter Photo. Highlands senior Gunner Gabbard (senior) and junior Abby Bach (right) helped the Highlands Co-Ed Bowling Team to a victory on Thursday at LaRu Lanes.
The Highlands Bowling teams opened with a co-ed victory over St. Henry by 2,515 pins to 2,188 at LaRu Lanes in Highland Heights.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Playoff Outlook for Highlands

Bluebirds Hit Road to Open Playoffs

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands senior defensive lineman Brennan White (99) puts pressure on Cooper quarterback Drew Warth (5).
The Highlands Bluebirds football team (6-4 overall) will travel to face the Conner Cougars (7-2) in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs in two weeks.

Conner came to Fort Thomas on Oct. 4 and won 20-17 on a touchdown pass in the final minutes. Highlands set up the rematch with a 14-7 win at Cooper combined with Conner's 45-7 loss to Covington Catholic up the road in Hebron. Cooper will travel to undefeated Covington Catholic.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Highlands Freshman Football Loses First

The Highlands Bluebirds freshman football team (8-1) lost 10-3 at Ryle on Thursday for the first loss of the season.

Highlands travels to Beechwood on Thursday. Game time is 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

JV Football Loses to CovCath

Bluebirds Unable to Solve Colonels

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands junior quarterback Jake Fahlbusch looks for running room in a recent varsity game.
The Highlands Bluebirds junior varsity football team (4-4) lost to Covington Catholic in Park Hills by a 14-0 score on Saturday.

Highlands concludes the season at home against Cooper on Saturday. Game time is 10 a.m.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Highlands Thursday Results

Bluebirds Complete Regular Season with Dominating Win

Twitter Photo. Five Highlands volleyball seniors and one manager celebrated Senior Night on Thursday. They are, from left, Ava Hockney, Rylee Kirschenbaum, manager Navaeh Votel, Audrey graves, Casey Dunn and Brooke Biltz.
The five Highlands seniors had one last show at the home gym in the final regular season game of the year.

The Bluebirds (26-7 overall) took care of business like usual with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-19) win over the Conner Lady Cougars. Highlands has won all three meetings against Conner this year and moved to 13-5 against 9th Region opponents.

"(We just) wanted to get more into a rhythm," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "Coming out of our Louisville weekend, we just felt out of sync. At Cake (Classic), we got kind of back in rhythm. Then this week, even more so. We just wanted to build some confidence off the things we've done well the majority of the season making sure we're keying on those things."

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Highlands Volleyball Records 25th Victory

One Game Left in Regular Season for Bluebirds

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore CC Shick goes through a drill earlier in the season.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (25-7 overall) had a chance to equal the win totals from the previous two years and took care of business quickly Tuesday just down the road.

Highlands defeated Bellevue, 3-0 (25-3, 25-12, 25-11) to finish 4-0 in 36th District seed play. The Bluebirds finished 25-11 the previous two years winning two district titles.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Weekend Highlands Results

Region Pairings Set for Highlands Soccer Teams

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands girls take on Beechwood on Monday in the 9th Region quarterfinals at 7 p.m. at Tower Park.
The Highlands soccer teams learned their next opponents Sunday.

The Highlands girls soccer team received a great draw with arch-rival Notre Dame and St. Henry getting paired on the other side of the bracket of the 9th Region Tournament. The 36th District champion Bluebirds (14-3-5 overall) face 35th District runner-up Beechwood (8-9-3) on Monday at 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Highlands Makes History with Win

Bluebirds Second Team in Country to Reach 900 Program Wins

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands senior Brycen Huddleston (1) sets up for a block in the 49-0 win at Boone County on Friday. That marked the 900th victory for the program.
Coming into the season, three teams in Kentucky had the chance to reach the 900-win plateau in school history.

The Highlands Bluebirds led that group needing just five wins while the Louisville Male Bulldogs and Mayfield Cardinals needed eight and 13 respectively. Highlands has 23 state championships in school history with Mayfield and Male recording 12 and eight respectively.

People wondered if Highlands would get there first after the two-game losing streak. But the Bluebirds earned it first with the 49-0 win over the Boone County Rebels on Friday in Florence. The Bluebirds are 900-243-46 dating back to the first season in 1915.

The Bluebirds are second in the country for the most all-time wins. The Valdosta Wildcats from south Georgia lead the country at 931-234-34.

"That means a lot to me personally growing up and wanting to be a part of Highlands football," said Joe Buten, Highlands junior running back. "It's cool to accomplish something like that."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Highlands Thursday Results

Bluebirds Go for 21st Win of Season Friday

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team lost at home to Cooper on Thursday.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (20-6 overall) dropped a 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-18) 9th Region decision at home to the Cooper Lady Jaguars (19-8).

Highlands fell to 10-4 in region play. The Bluebirds dropped both region games this week.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Results

Bluebirds Lose in Three to Pandas

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team lost at Notre Dame on Tuesday.
The gap between the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (20-5 overall) and the two teams that form what Head Coach Katelyn Sallee calls 'the wall' in the 9th Region has closed in recent years.

Highlands Dominates Dayton

Bluebirds Play for District Title on Wednesday

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands knocked off Dayton, 11-0 on Monday to move on in the 36th District Tournament.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (13-3-5 overall) dominated the Dayton Lady Devils, 11-0 in the semifinals of the 36th District Tournament at Tower Park on Monday.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saturday Highlands Results

Highlands Soccer Wins on Road

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Austin Frazier and the Bluebirds won the final game of the regular season, 1-0 on Saturday.
The final warm-up for the Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (12-5-4 overall) ended in victory on the road Saturday, 1-0 over Cincinnati (Ohio) Indian Hill.

Highlands-Conner Football Sidebar

Highlands Faced Conner for First Time Since 2006

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Family members of the late Highlands quarterback Jared Lorenzen stand at midfield before the Highlands-Conner football game. In the middle wearing number 22 jerseys are Lorenzen's son Tayden (white jersey) and his daughter Taylar (blue jersey).
The Highlands Bluebirds and Conner Cougars had not met since 2006.

It ended up being the third Cougar win all-time against the Bluebirds. Conner last defeated Highlands, 29-26 in the second round of the playoffs in 1993.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

Highlands Boys Soccer Earns Much-Needed Win 

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team knocked off Cincinnati (Ohio) Madeira on Thursday, 3-0.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (11-5-4 overall) came together for a 3-0 non-region win in the final home game of the regular season over the Madeira (Ohio) Mustangs.

Highlands Head Coach Chad Niedert said the Bluebirds built off the second half of the 3-2 loss at Loveland (Ohio) on Tuesday. Highlands won the half, 1-0 despite being two players down because of two red cards.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Highlands Volleyball Victorious in District Play

Bluebirds Take Care of Business at Dayton
PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team knocked off Dayton on Wednesday to move to 3-0 in 36th District play,
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team is playing three straight days and won the most important of the three Wednesday in 36th District play.

Highlands (17-2 overall) ventured to Dayton and defeated the Lady Devils, 2-0 (25-6. 25-20) in a best-of-three match. The Bluebirds have won seven in a row. They are 3-0 in district play and 8-1 against 9th Region opponents.

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Golf Finishes Third at Region

Twitter Photo. Highlands juniors Luke Muller (left) and Justin Gabbard (right) qualified for the state tournament Tuesday.
Entering the season, the Highlands Bluebirds boys golf team knew repeating as region champs would be tough.

Highlands placed third at the 8th Region Tournament on Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Dry Ridge shooting a 322 as a team. The Grant County Braves won the region to qualify for state as a team and the Henry County Wildcats took second with 321. Only the region champ advances to state as a team unlike previous years when the region champ and runner-up advanced to state.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday Highlands Results

Two Individuals Headed to State Golf Tournament for Bluebirds

Twitter Photo. Highlands junior Ellie Rowland shot a 79 at the 8th Region Tournament to take third and qualify for state along with sophomore KJ Toole.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls golf team put together a solid outing in the 8th Region Tournament.

Highlands did not qualify for state as a team shooting a 359 to take third place. Grant County won the region tournament at AJ Jolly Golf Course in Alexandria with 344 points and Owen County took runner-up honors at 346. Unlike previous years when the region champion and runner-up made state, only the region champ qualified for state team-wise.

But the Bluebirds did see two individuals make it to the state tournament. Junior Ellie Rowland shot a 79 to finish third and sophomore KJ Toole shot an 82 to take fifth. The top seven individuals not on the region champion team go to state.

"The girls played their hearts out," said Mike Lipscomb, Highlands Head Coach. "As a team, we played the best we ever have."

Saturday Highlands Results

Bluebirds Post Convincing Region Win

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands girls soccer team beat Covington Holy Cross, 5-1 on Saturday for a second straight win.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (11-1-5 overall) recorded another impressive 9th Region victory.

Highlands pulled away from the Covington Holy Cross Lady Indians, 5-1 at Eva G. Farris Sports Complex/John Wysong Field in Covington. Highlands moved to 7-1-1 against region opponents.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Highlands-Boyle County Sidebar

Latest Chapter of Great Highlands-Boyle County Rivalry Belongs to Rebels

Submitted Photo. Highlands graduates Jared Dougherty (10) and Lou Bunning (50) pose after the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders defeated the Warner University (of Lake Whales, Florida) Royals, 73-29.
After Boyle County defeated Highlands, 30-0 at Rebel Field on Friday, Boyle County veteran Head Coach Chuck Smith said it is a good rivalry even though it marked just the seventh time the teams have met.

"We've had some great games," Smith said. "It's always intense and always a good game."

Highlands still leads the series, 4-3. The home-and-home series returns to Fort Thomas next season.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

Bluebirds Down Holy Cross

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior setter Audrey Graves had 45 assists in the win at Covington Holy Cross on Thursday.
Entering the 9th Region match-up at the Covington Holy Cross Lady Indians, the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team had lost just eight sets all season.

During the 14-2 start, Highlands won the swept through the best-of-three or best-of-two matches in the September Slam in 13 of their 14 wins. The only game the Bluebirds won where they lost a set came on Sept. 3 in a 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-7) win at Walton-Verona.

The All "A" State champion Lady Indians (19-4) pulled off the first set, 31-29. But the Bluebirds regrouped and won the next three by 25-18, 25-23, 25-11 scores to win the match. They have won five straight and are 8-1 against region opponents. Highlands is 2-0 against Holy Cross this year.

Highlands Girls Soccer Posts Convincing Win

Bluebirds Make Lead Stick

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands OZone student section has been coming out in full force this year.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team appears to have its swagger back.

The Bluebirds (10-1-5 overall) ventured to Dixie Heights on Wednesday and came away with a 3-0 victory. Highlands junior goalkeeper Jasmine Rehberger stopped four shots from the Lady Colonels (10-7-1) in the eighth shutout of the season for the Bluebirds.

"It was a very impressive game," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "We started clicking from the beginning, connecting passes and doing things that we really hadn't seen this year like switching from the back, finding a center mid(fielder) and getting (the ball) to the other side. The intensity just kind of grew and then we made sure we got that shutout."

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Roundup

Highlands Volleyball Records Huge Home Win over Ryle

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore CC Shick (left) gets in position. In the back, from left, are seniors Casey Dunn, Rylee Kirschenbaum and Brooke Biltz.
Russell Bridges Gym at Highlands High School has turned into an atmosphere of excitement in recent years in the fall.

The rise of the Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team has more than been a huge reason for it. The atmosphere has especially helped Highlands record huge wins over 9th Region opponents.

Highlands (14-2 overall) and Ryle (8-7) came into the match-up Tuesday tied for third in the latest Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association 9th Region poll. They are both ranked in the Top 25 as well at 12th for Ryle and 18th for Highlands.

For years, Ryle has been at the top of the region led by veteran Head Coach Tasha Lovins. Lovins has been at that position since 2002. The Lady Raiders have won 11 district championships and have only missed the region tournament once since Lovins became head coach. But like many teams, the Lady Raiders have not been able the region wall of St. Henry and Notre Dame.

Highlands figured some things out in the first set after not starting off strong and won it 27-25. The Bluebirds then took control to win the game, 3-0 winning the next two sets 25-16, 25-17. Highlands owns wins over Dixie Heights and has beaten two top-ranked region teams in Campbell County from the 10th Region and Pulaski Southwestern from the 12th Region.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Monday Highlands Results

Highlands Girls Soccer Ties East Central

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Kelsey Mathis (12) gets in position against East Central on Monday.
It was one of those games where the team scored in the first half and hoped to make it stand.

Sophomore forward Chloe Bramble put the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer (9-1-5 overall) team up 1-0  just 12 minutes into the game. Bramble's team-high eighth goal of the season and the second assist from senior midfielder Natalie Ossege stood for a long time.

But the visiting East Central (from St. Leon, Indiana) Trojans tied the game with six minutes to go. Highlands could not answer so the teams settled for a tie.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Weekend Highlands Results

Highlands Comes Home from Indiana 0-1-1

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands boys soccer team finished 0-1-1 in the Evansville Reitz Memorial Tiger Invitational over the weekend.
The Highlands boys soccer team (9-4-3 overall) finished 0-1-1 in the Tiger Invitational at Evansville (Indiana) Reitz Memorial.

Highlands-Ryle Sidebar

Highlands Heads South for Final Non-District Game

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands senior Mason Schwalbach (4) celebrates after a defensive touchdown against Ryle on Friday.
The Highlands Bluebirds football team is about to finish non-district play with one final game Friday.

The Bluebirds will head to Danville to take on the undefeated Boyle County Rebels (5-0). The Rebels have outscored opponents, 265-42. That's the most points of any team in Class 4A. They have two NCAA Division I commits in Landen Bartleson (Notre Dame) and senior wide receiver/defensive back Reese Smith (West Virginia).

Friday, September 20, 2019

Highlands Thursday Round-Up

Bluebirds Win Third Straight

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highland Bluebirds volleyball team knocked off Bishop Brossart to move to 13-2 overall on Thursday.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (13-2 overall) handled the visiting Bishop Brossart Lady Mustangs (11-8), 3-0 (25-10. 25-14, 25-13) for its third straight win.

Highlands is 4-0 against its Campbell County rivals on the season. Bishop Brossart recently won the All "A" 10th Region title and went 3-3 in the All "A" State Tournament.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Wednesday Highlands Results

The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team moved to 8-1-4 on the season following a tight 1-0 win over the Bishop Brossart Lady Mustangs on Wednesday at Pendery Park in Melbourne.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Boys Soccer, Volleyball Record District Victories

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team defeated Newport Central Catholic, 4-3 on Tuesday.
The main thing that mattered in the end was the 4-3 victory.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (9-3-2 overall) ventured to Morscher Field in Silver Grove and came away with that 36th District victory over the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (9-5-1). But the Bluebirds know some things need to be ironed out with seven games left in the regular season.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Monday Highlands Golf Results

Highlands Boys Beat NC in Dual Match

Twitter Photo. Highlands girls golf Head Coach Mike Lipscomb (left) stands with the members of the team on Senior Nite.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys golf team knocked off Newport Central Catholic, 176-198 at Highland Country Club.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Saturday Highlands Results

Rough Day for Highlands Soccer Teams

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team lost on the road Saturday to Louisville Collegiate, 5-2.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (7-1-4 overall) dropped the first game of the season to the arch-rival Notre Dame Pandas (8-1-3) in the title game of the Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup on Saturday.

Highlands has not won this tournament since 2006. The Bluebirds last appeared in the title game in 2016.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

Highlands Handles NewCath in 36th District Battle

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Rylee Kirschenbaum (12) follows through on a serve in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds (11-2 overall) found themselves in a challenge to play their fast-paced brand of volleyball and not down to the level of the opponent, even in the rivalry game.

Highlands senior setter Audrey Graves said the team was fired up before the game. But once the game started, the seniors made sure everyone stayed on an even keel. That propelled the Bluebirds to a sound 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-15) 36th District victory. NewCath (2-5) has lost five straight.

"It's always going to be an exciting game. On the court, (it was) about looking to each and being like, 'Hey, take a deep breath. We're good. Get this pass' really grounded everybody so that they could do the jobs that we needed to do," Graves said. "We do that anyway. Whether it's hand hugs or anything like is really helpful to keep your mind right."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Highlands Girls Move on in LexCath Tournament

The Highlands Bluebirds will be playing in the championship game of the Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup.

Highlands (7-0-4 overall) defeated the host Lady Knights (8-2-1), 7-6 on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the winner's bracket to advance to the title game for the first time since 2016. Highlands will play Saturday at 7 p.m. for the title against either Sacred Heart, Notre Dame or Lexington Tates Creek.

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Soccer Wins Again; Volleyball Loses to Region Power

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore CC Shick (right) goes up for a kill in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team will end up playing three times in three days.

Highlands (6-0-4 overall) shut out the Beechwood Lady Tigers, 4-0 on Tuesday at Tower Park. The Bluebirds moved to 4-0-1 in 9th Region play.

"They've been trending upwards in terms of their skill," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "They definitely have a good amount of skill and they definitely play with effort. (Beechwood Head Coach Josh Young) is in his first year, but he definitely did a good job making sure that his girls played hard."

Monday, September 9, 2019

Victories for Highlands Soccer Teams

Bluebirds Win Fourth Straight Against Colonels

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds trap the ball in a recent home game. Highlands edged Covington Catholic, 1-0 on Monday in Park Hills.
It may look as though the Covington Catholic Colonel boys soccer team is struggling based on the 3-6 record.

But the Highlands Bluebirds (7-2-2) did not fall for that deceptive record making a first-half goal stand in a 1-0 victory on the road. The Colonels have lost to the likes of Lexington Henry Clay, Cincinnati (Ohio) Country Day, Dayton (Ohio) Carroll, Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis de Sales and Cincinnati (Ohio) Archbishop McNicholas.

Highlands has won four straight in the series against the Colonels including a 2-1 win in the 9th Region championship in Park Hills last year. Highlands is 4-0-1 in region play.

"We've realized in these games we're going to grind it out," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "When we're the better team, it's a 50/50 game. When we're the lesser team, it's a 50/50 game. It really doesn't matter what kind of record you got."

Highlands had 16 shots to 10 for the Colonels with three on goal to six for CovCath. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer had three saves.

The lone goal came 13 minutes into the game. Junior Max Farris dribbled into the box and fired off a shot. Senior Caymon Stevie put the deflection home for the score.

"When you have the team chemistry that Highland has, it takes a couple passes and maybe a couple dribbles though people," Farris said. "It just all worked out."

Highlands had to overcome some free kicks in the second half not far from the goal. But the Bluebirds cleared every one of them. Neither team had a red card. But the Colonels did receive two yellow cards.

"Our midfield plays a lot of defense and a lot of offense," said Porter Hedenberg, Highlands senior. "You have to do both jobs, which is nice. We all three work together really well and we have good chemistry with our six on defense and our six on offense."

Highlands plays host to Covington Holmes (1-5) on Thursday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Soccer, Girls:
Highlands 4, Louisville DuPont Manual 2:

Highlands (5-0-4 overall) overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit against the Lady Crimsons (4-3-1) to win the first game at the annual Lexington Catholic Lady Knights Challenge Cup. Highlands takes on the hosts in the next round Wednesday at 8 p.m.

"In the first half, we didn't start slow, but we didn't have the start that we wanted," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "We were a little fatigued and we kind of told the girls you don't have to go out and play 80 minutes. Just go out and give us five or 10 minutes of good effort. We were down at halftime. We had a talk at halftime. We can play with any team in Kentucky, but we have to act like it. We just can't think that we can walk out there and get a win. That was a good thing being able to overcome a halftime deficit."

Sophomores Faith Broering and Jade Rehberger had one goal and one assist each in the game for three points. Senior Kelsey Mathis and sophomore Macy Hedenberg had one goal each with sophomore Chloe Bramble tallying two assists. Bramble has a team-high seven goals to go with five assists for a team-high 19 points.

"The upperclassmen definitely encourage us," Macy Hedenberg said. "If we do something wrong, they're all so positive and encouraging and we're all best friends."

Highlands takes on Beechwood on Tuesday at Tower Park. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Saturday Highlands Results

Highland Soccer Teams Tie Solid Opponents

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer had four saves in the 1-1 tie against Lexington Henry Clay on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (6-2-2 overall) hoped to finish the week with three nice wins.

The Bluebirds earned a man advantage in the second half of the game against the Lexington Henry Clay Blue Devils, a state semifinalist last season, after the Blue Devils earned a red card. But Highlands could not capitalize and the teams settled for a 1-1 tie. Henry Clay came into the game ranked third in the state in the Maher rankings.

Highlands Boys Golf Wins Bourbon County

First Tournament Win of Season for Bluebirds

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Boys Golf team won the Bourbon County Invitational on Sunday.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys golf team won its first tournament of the season Sunday.

Highlands won the Bourbon County Invitational shooting a 321 team total on the Par-72 course. Junior Justin Gabbard led the way shooting a 74 and placing third individually. Gabbard won medalist honors at the Shelby County Invitational and the Beechwood Invitational earlier in the season.

Six Wins in Three Days for Highlands Volleyball

Bluebirds Fend off Lady Warriors for Tournament Title

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team celebrates after winning the September Slam at Scott High on Saturday. The Bluebirds are 10-1 on the season.

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. From left, Highlands sophomores CC Shick, Lauren Buemi and junior Laura Winkler set up in the front row before senior Casey Dunn sets to serve. In the back row are setter Audrey Graves (left) and senior defensive specialist Rylee Kirschenbaum (red jersey).
It came down to one last burst playing as much volleyball as the Highlands Bluebirds (10-1 overall) did over a three-day period.

Highlands found itself back in the championship game of the September Slam hosted by Scott after capping off pool play with two wins Saturday morning. The last opponent of the three-day stretch proved to be solid.

The Southwestern Lady Warriors located about two and a half hours away just outside the Pulaski County county seat of Somerset near Lake Cumberland came into the game with a sparkling 10-2 record. Southwestern's only losses came to host Lexington Lafayette and Station Camp (from the Nashville, Tennessee suburb of Gallatin) in the Bluegrass Invitational a little more than a week ago.

Southwestern has won the 12th Region a number of times over the years including last year. The Lady Warriors beat Paintsville in the state tournament before losing to Campbell County in the state quarterfinals. But Highland had beaten the Lady Warriors in each of the past two September Slam Tournaments.

The Lady Warriors came out the aggressors in the first game building a 10-1 lead. But once sophomore CC Shick landed a hard kill, the vaunted, fast-paced Highlands attack took off. Highlands rallied to win the best-of-three set, 26-24 then 24-19 to win its first September Slam title since 2008 when current Highlands assistant coach Molly Wehage-Maxwell was a senior.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Highlands-Campbell County Sidebar

Younger Highlands Players See First Friday Night Lights Action

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Student Section known as the OZone had a Country theme in the game against Campbell County.
With the game out of hand in the second half in the first shut-out for the Highlands Bluebirds football team in two seasons, some players saw their first Friday Night action.

Sophomore wide receiver Jacob Welch made the most impressive debut with three touchdowns on four touches for the Bluebirds. Welch had two rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore offensive lineman Nate Weidner took over at center in the fourth quarter.

"I was excited to get out there and play," Weidner said. "You just have to get out there, know your plays well and get after it."

The last shut-out for the Bluebirds came on Oct. 6, 2017 by a 47-0 score over Dixie Heights in Fort Thomas. The closest Highlands came to that last season was a 40-3 win at Ryle on Sept. 7. 

OZone Goes Country:

The Highlands student section known as the O-Zone has a theme for most of the football games. Against Campbell County, it was a Country theme and it was a white-out against Scott to open the season. One senior who took part in the country them was Caraline Walsh. Walsh is a member of the Chamber Choir and the National English Honors Society.

"There's nothing better," Walsh said. "Every year when we play Campbell County, this is the go-to theme. I feel like it represents our school. I'm glad to show our pride."

Honoring Lorenzen:

Highlands senior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth wore number 22 instead of the usual 10 in honor of the late Highlands and University of Kentucky great quarterback Jared Lorenzen. Highlands painted the 22-yard lines blue in Lorenzen's honor before the season.

Around Class 5A, District 5:

The Bluebirds watched part of the fourth quarter of the Covington Catholic-Lexington Catholic game on the big screen in the locker room.

Covington Catholic trailed 38-24 in the fourth quarter, but came back to beat the Knights, 39-38 and stay undefeated at 3-0. Junior quarterback Caleb Jacob snuck it in from a yard out and senior running back Daniel Felix ran over the right side for the two-point conversion to give the Colonels for the first time in the game.

CovCath held on with a fourth-down stop at its 46. On 4th-and-1, LexCath quarterback Beau Allen lined up under center with five wide receivers. He tried the quarterback sneak, but the Colonel defense snuffed it out with around 1:32 left in the game.

Allen, a University of Kentucky commit, competed 23-of-32 passes for 448 yards and five touchdowns. Jacob threw for 247 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Michael Mayer had six catches for 71 yards for the Colonels.

The Colonels play host to Dixie Heights on Friday at 7 p.m.

Conner moved to 2-1 with a 35-0 win at Dixie Heights. The Cougars play host to Lloyd Memorial (2-1) on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.

Cooper and Boone County both lost for the first time this season falling to 2-1. The Jaguars lost 20-16 in the battle of Union against Ryle at home on Friday and Lloyd Memorial beat Boone County, 22-14 in Erlanger.

Next Opponent for Highlands:

The Bluebirds travel to Independence to face the Simon Kenton Pioneers on Friday at 7 p.m. in a battle of 2-1 teams. The Pioneers opened the season with a 38-27 win over Lexington Henry Clay before facing two Ohio opponents.

Simon Kenton lost to Cincinnati Anderson, 44-16. But the Pioneers bounced back to beat the Cincinnati Oak Hills Highlanders.

Highlands Wins Two at September Slam:

The Bluebirds moved to 7-1 on the season with two wins in the September Slam on Friday at Woodland Middle School. Highlands bested Covington Holy Cross, 2-0 (25-15, 25-16) before taking out South Laurel from the 13th Region, 2-0 (25-9, 25-17).

"Our focus has been not only to maintain our composure, but our level of play," said Katelyn Sallee, Highlands Head Coach. "We want to control the tempo of the match regardless of who we're facing. This weekend is going to be a really big test to have five matches back-to-back-to-back. You have to stay disciplined. You have to stay on it and they did that."

In the victory over Holy Cross, Highlands had six aces, 16 kills, one block, 15 assists and 52 digs. Senior outside hitter Casey Dunn led the way with two kills, three aces and 14 digs. Senior setter Audrey Graves had 15 assists, one ace and seven digs. Sophomore middle blocker CC Shick had seven kills and assisted on a block.

Highlands junior Laura Winkler and sophomore Lauren Buemi had three kills each. Buemi also had two assisted blocks. Senior Ava Hockney had the team's lone solo block to go with an ace.

The senior defensive specialists also came up big. Senior Rylee Kirschenbaum had 12 digs and an ace with Brooke Biltz adding nine digs.

Against South Laurel, Dunn had seven kills, one assisted block and 10 digs. Graves had 18 assists, three digs, three kills and two aces and Hockney had three kills and two assisted blocks. Shick recorded four kills, one solo and one assisted block.

Winkler played some setter and had six assists and two digs. She also had two kills. Kirschenbaum had a team-high 11 digs. Buemi, Hockney and sophomore Nicole Ossege added three kills each.

"In a game of three, I feel like, 'Let's just get this over. Let's do what we can do," Ossege said. "We have to play to our level and not down to anyone else's level. We always focus on team and then we're very fast with whatever we do so I always feel that we need to maintain that speed and just try to run more things when we have the opportunity with the less-advanced teams."

Highlands continues pool play Saturday morning at Scott. The Bluebirds take on Calvary Christian (6-6) at 9 a.m. on court one and Conner (2-6) on court two at 10 a.m.

Soccer, Girls:
Highlands 1, Evansville (Indiana) Reitz Memorial 1:

Highlands (4-0-3 overall) tied the Tigers in the annual Zionsville (Indiana) Invitational on Friday. Zionsville is located northwest of Indianapolis.

Reitz Memorial (4-0-1) came into the game as the 16th-ranked team in the country in the Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50 poll. Reitz owns four state championships in school history.

"I felt that we played one of the best teams that we'll see this regular season. Going into the game, we kind of looked at what they've done so far this year," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "We knew it was going to be tough. We wanted to make sure that we played well. If we could get a win, great. A tie is great. A one-goal loss where we're playing hard is a win for us. We were fighting hard. We gave up a goal pretty early. We made sure we didn't give up another one. Then, we had an outside back step up and hit one from about 18 (feet) out to tie the game then we kind of made sure we didn't lose the game after that. After the game. we were pretty excited. The other team was kind of upset. That was a good feeling even though it was just a tie."

Highlands senior midfielder Kelsey Mathis tied the game in the second half. That marked her first goal of the season.

"I think this team is really strong all-around and I think everyone contributes what they can," Mathis said. "I'm glad I could help the team. I think we played well considering we left school early, had to ride up a few hours and shortly warm up."

Both teams had 18 shots. Reitz had 14 on goal and Highlands had nine. Highlands junior goalkeeper Jasmine Rehberger had 13 saves.

Highlands plays Carmel (Indiana) at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to conclude the tournament.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

 Highlands Volleyball Records Huge Win; Boys Soccer Defeats Holy Cross

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Student Section known as the O-Zone is shown here at a soccer game. The O-Zone helped the Highlands volleyball team to a victory Thursday over Dixie Heights.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team had this game marked on the schedule for a big reason.

The Dixie Heights Lady Colonels (4-2 overall) beat the Bluebirds (5-1) three out of four meetings last year including the 9th Region Quarterfinals, 3-0. But Highlands won the battle of top-five 9th Region teams, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) in Fort Thomas to move to 2-0 in region play.

Highlands Girls Soccer Dominates NewCath

Bluebirds Have Won Seven Straight vs. NCC

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team led by this score at halftime in the showdown with Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (4-0-2 overall) picked a great time to play its greatest game of the season.

Highlands ventured to Silver Grove and dominated the host 3-3 Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds, 8-0 in a 36th District showdown. Highlands has won the last seven meetings against NewCath.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Volleyball, Boys Soccer Teams Record Victories

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Audrey Graves sets up on a serve in the game at Walton-Verona on Tuesday. Graves had 53 assists and an ace in the victory.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (4-1 overall) may have received the tough game needed before a huge game Thursday.

Highlands held off the Walton-Verona Bearcats (5-3) by a 3-2 count (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-7) for a third straight win. But Highlands missed the opportunity to end it in four games and wants to do better finishing those opportunities.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Weekend Highlands Results/Football Sidebar

Huddleston Receives Post-Game Recognition

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior linebacker Brycen Huddleston earned the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic Defensive MVP honors.
Highlands senior linebacker Brycen Huddleston earned the Defensive Most Valuable Player honors after the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic loss to Knoxville Catholic, 31-28 on Saturday.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Thursday Highlands Results

Highlands, Conner Soccer Tie

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Ford Orem gets in position in the tie against Conner.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team has hit a rough patch.

But the good news is Highlands (4-2-1 overall) did salvage a scoreless tie against the improved Conner Cougars on Thursday at Tower Park. Conner is 5-1-1.

Conner made waves in the 33rd District Tournament last year with a 2-1 win over the Ryle Raiders in the semifinals. The Cougars finished 13-7 losing 2-1 in double overtime to Dixie Heights in the 9th Region quarterfinals.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tuesday Highlands Results

Highlands Volleyball Pushes Way to Win at Scott

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Laura Winkler (right) follows through on a hit in a recent game while sophomore Maria Little (34) gets in position.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (3-1 overall) headed to Taylor Mill taking on a Scott program looking to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Lady Eagles made the Bluebirds earn it. But Highlands came through with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-19) victory. Highlands has only lost at Kings (Ohio), which also beat Scott over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Highlands Girls Soccer Wins Again

Third Straight for Bluebirds

PHOTO: Kevin Nieporte, Highlands Director of Athletics. From left, Highlands sophomore Chloe Bramble, senior Maria Broering and sophomore Macy Hedenberg had goals in the win over Ryle on Monday. Junior goalkeeper Jasmine Rehberger  (dark uniform) had five assists.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (3-0-1 overall) won its third straight contest with a 3-0 win over the Ryle Lady Raiders (1-4) on a rainy Monday at Tower Park.

This marked the first shutout on the season for Highlands. The Bluebirds moved to 2-0-1 in 9th Region play.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Saturday Highlands Results

Girls Soccer Takes Down Defending Ohio State Champion

Twitter Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds soccer team knocked off Cincinnati (Ohio) Indian Hill on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (2-0-1 overall) knocked off an Ohio defending state champion Saturday at Tower Park.

The Cincinnati Indian Hill Braves had won the last two Division II state championships. But the Bluebirds beat the Braves, 3-1.

Anna Podojil led the Braves to those two state championships. The 5-foot-5-inch forward won the 2018-19 Gatorade Player of the Year award for Ohio last year and is now playing at the University of Arkansas. Her sister Ellie Podojil, a midfielder, is a senior and has also committed to Arkansas.

"(Ellie Podojil) is the real deal," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "So we changed up our formation (Saturday). We had kind of an irregular formation. We took one of our outside wings and we turned it into a man-to-man (defense). We had two of our defenders switch off and we had one of our defenders stay with her the entire game. She did not get a lot of chances. That was one of the things we wanted to work on because in the future, we're going to face some teams that have that stellar player. Our defense did a good job of helping if the defender did get beat."

Sophomore Chloe Bramble scored the first goal for Highlands with around 35 minutes left in the first half. She also had an assist and leads the Bluebirds with two goals and two assists for six points on the season. The Bluebirds led 1-0 at halftime.

The second goal came from senior Maria Broering with 39 minutes left in the game. Sophomore sister Faith Broering scored with three minutes left in the game for the final score. Faith Broering and junior Greta Noble also had assists.

Highlands has yet to allow more than one goal in a game this year. Highlands had 14 shots with 11 on goal to eight shots for Indian Hill. Bluebirds junior goalkeeper Jasmine Rehberger had seven saves.

"I felt our defense held a very tight line and worked well together," said Parker Price, Highlands senior midfielder. "Our passing was extremely good. Our midfield held back a little to help the defense. Our offense was making fantastic runs and our balls were great over top."

Highlands plays host to Ryle (1-3) on Monday. Game time is 8 p.m.

Soccer, Boys:
Highlands 5, Trinity 3:

Highlands (4-1) lost for the first time this season.

Highlands had 15 shots with 11 on goal. Trinity had 10 shots with nine on goal. Highlands senior goalkeeper Nick Fischer saved four.

Senior Caymon Stevie, junior Max Farris and sophomore Cole Lorenzen had the goals for the Bluebirds. Junior Hank Cook had the assist. Farris has six goals and two assists on the season for a team-high 14 points.

Highlands takes on North Oldham on Tuesday. Game time is 7 p.m.

Golf, Boys:
Highlands plays in Mason County Invitational:

The Bluebirds tied for seventh with Pikeville with 322 in the event at Laurel Oaks Golf Course. Lexington Sayre won it with 310.

Junior Luke Muller led Highlands shooting a 74 with sophomore Justin Gabbard shooting a 75. Freshman Joel Craft shot a 79 with eighth grader Ryan Toole finishing out the scoring with a 94. Junior Mac Valentine also golfed shooting a 95.

Highlands plays Campbell County on Tuesday at Highland Country Club. Tee time is 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Highlands-Scott Sidebar

Bluebirds Show Two Lefties at Quarterback

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands defenders converge on a Scott ball-carrier on Friday.
The Highlands Bluebirds saw two quarterbacks in action in the win at Scott on Friday.

Junior Jake Fahlbusch started the game and senior Collin Hollingsworth finished it. Fahlbusch completed 7-of-11 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown with Hollingsworth completing 12-of-22 for 137 yards, an interception and touchdown. Both are left-handed quarterbacks.

"I thought they both actually played pretty well," said Sam Umberg, Highlands Offensive Coordinator. "The big thing on film (Saturday) is each one is going to learn from the other. A lot of teams don't have the luxury of having two lefties. They can learn from each other as well as learn from their own reps."

Hollingsworth rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter on a quarterback sweep. That put Highlands up 35-13 with 1:47 left.

Highlands had not started a southpaw at quarterback since 2012 when Donovan McCoy started. McCoy gave the Bluebirds a dual threat running and passing the ball.

Series Against Scott:

Highlands moved to 31-0 all-time against Scott. This marked the first time the two teams met since 2010 when they were in the same Class 5A District 5.

Around District 5:

The district finished 4-0 on the first night of action. Covington Catholic won its 30th game in 31 tries with a convincing 37-0 win over Ryle at home.

Cooper and Boone County also posted victories to open the season. Cooper edged Dixie Heights, 7-0 and the Rebels beat Covington Holmes, 20-6.

Up Next:

Highlands plays Knoxville Catholic (1-0) in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic on Saturday. Game time is 5:30 p.m. The Fighting Irish opened the season with a convincing 48-0 win over Chuckey-Doak out of Afton (Tennessee).

Cross Country:

The Highlands Cross Country teams ran in the Moeller Primetime Invitational at Christ's Church at Mason to open the season. Both teams ran in the varsity blue race.

The Highlands girls placed eighth out of 18 teams with 216 points. Highlands junior Maggie Schroeder led the way placing 13th with a time of 20 minutes, 20.5 seconds.

The Highlands boys placed 14th out of 17 teams. Junior Will Griffith led the Bluebirds finishing 45th in 17:53.3.

Highlands next runs in the Mason Invitational on Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. The race takes place at Corwin M. Nixon Pine Hills Lake Park in Mason (Ohio).

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Highlands Thursday Results

Bluebirds Volleyball, Boys Soccer Record Wins

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. From left, Highlands players Madison Clore, Brooke Biltz, Rylee Kirschenbaum and Casey Dunn get in position in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team (2-1 overall) recorded a big rivalry win over a state semifinalist from last year.

Highlands ventured to Alexandria and took down the 0-2 Campbell County Lady Camels, 3-0. Highlands has won three straight in the series.

Highlands Wednesday Results

Bluebirds Girls Soccer Handles St. Henry

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Lauren Deckert had an assist when the Bluebirds beat the St. Henry Lady Crusaders, 4-1 on Wednesday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (1-0-1) received the strong start and drove to its first victory with a 4-1 road 9th Region win over the St. Henry Lady Crusaders (1-1).

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Highlands Tuesday Results

Bluebirds Volleyball Takes Down Beechwood

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands volleyball team huddles before the game against Beechwood on Tuesday.
They came out in a rhythm and kept up the intensity the entire way to open the season at home.

The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team returns 10 players with varsity experience from last year's 25-11 team and it showed in a big way in a 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-12) win over the Beechwood Lady Tigers. The Bluebirds made just 17 errors in the victory with 10 coming on hitting errors.

Highlands Monday Results

Bluebirds Tie Pandas

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands Girls Soccer Head Coach Alex Dean goes over strategy during halftime of the game against Notre Dame. The teams tied 1-1.
The lightning on the field came to full force as the arch-rivals met in the season-opener for the hosts at Tower Park.

But the lightning on the field forced the game to end early. That meant the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team and the Notre Dame Pandas (1-0-1) had to settle for a 1-1 tie.

"It's really hard playing your rival the very first game of the year, but I think it's kind of a good thing," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "Leaving a big gap for if we do see them in the post-season, it's not, 'Oh, wait. We just saw them.' We have to adjust throughout the season. Things happen. We weren't worried about the score. Winning is always great. (But) it's making sure we're playing hard and we're out there trying to get a little more fit. We're a little slim on numbers. But we have faith in our girls. They all can play 80 minutes. Games like that will help us get to that."