Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

Monday, August 23, 2021

Highlands-Bowling Green Notebook

Simon Kenton Next for Highlands

PHOTO: Lou Class. Highlands junior wide receiver Brennan Kelsay (17) hauls in a touchdown pass against Bowling Green on Saturday.

Bob Sphire joined a long list of head football coaches that won their debuts with the Highlands Bluebirds.

Highlands ventured down to Bowling Green and knocked off the defending Class 5A state champions, 21-18 on Saturday. The game took place at Western Kentucky University.

Sphire is the 20th head coach in the 107th season of Highlands Bluebirds football. The last six head coaches in Brian Weinrich, Dale Mueller, Tom Duffy, Bill Herrmann and Roger Walz and seven others of the 20 have won their head coaching debuts. Highlands knocked off Campbell County, 23-16 in Weinrich's debut in 2014 and Highlands beat Paducah Tilghman, 26-6 in Mueller's debut in 1994.

Weinrich took over the Newport Wildcats program in the off-season. Newport lost 16-7 against Mason County at home on Friday to open the season.

Four have lost their head coaching debuts and two tied in their coaching debuts. The last head coach to lose his debut was Mike Murphy. Dayton beat Highlands, 13-6 to open the 1967 season.

New Rule:

Highlands senior linebacker Jackson Higgason drew a 15-yard blindside block personal foul penalty against Bowling Green.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee established the definition of a blindside block as "a block against an opponent other than the runner, who does not see the blocker approaching" at a meeting that took place January 20 through 22, 2018 in Indianapolis. The hope is to reduce injuries. The National Football League outlawed blindside blocks in 2019.

"You can lead with your hands and you can kind of absorb the guy," Sphire said. "But you can't launch. You can't lead with your shoulders, your helmet or any of that and that (foul) was pretty blatant. It's a good rule because that takes concussions and stuff out of the game a whole lot more. Nobody likes it because everyone always wants to see that big hit from the stands. But it's not good for the health of the kids."

Rest of Schedule:

This marks the longest road trip of the year for the Bluebirds. They had just two opponents on the schedule from outside the Kentucky's northern three Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties.

The other game against an opponent outside the northern three Kentucky counties is Sept. 10 at Cincinnati (Ohio) McNicholas at 7 p.m. That trip is just above 10 miles from Highlands.

Class 5A, District 5 results:

The district finished 2-2 on Friday and 3-2 overall for the first week of the season. Cooper won 30-3 at George Rogers Clark and Conner knocked off Lexington Lafayette, 35-12. Covington Catholic lost 28-6 at Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder and Boone County lost 19-6 at home against Russell.

Series Against Bowling Green:

Highlands moved to 4-1 all-time against the Purples. The two programs had not met in the regular season since 1961 when Homer Rice was the head coach of the Bluebirds. Highlands beat Bowling Green, 26-13 in 1960 then 49-46 in 1961.

The two split in state championship games in Dale Mueller's 20 years as head coach. Highlands beat Bowling Green, 28-7 in the Class 5A title game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Highlands assistant coach Matt Reed played on that team.

Bowling Green's lone win in the series came in the 1995 Class 3A title game. The Purples beat the Bluebirds, 28-12 in Mueller's second season. Kevin Wallace was the head coach of Bowling Green in both title games.

Scouting Simon Kenton:

The Pioneers lost 35-29 to the Oldham County Colonels on Friday in Independence. Simon Kenton allowed 410 yards defensively in the loss with 145 on the ground and 265 in the air.

Junior quarterback Chase Crone is in his third season starting for the Pioneers in their Spread offense. Crone completed 10-of-21 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Pioneers with 105 yards rushing on 17 carries and a touchdown for an average of just more than six yards per carry.

Highlands is 27-5 all-time against Simon Kenton. But the Pioneers are 4-2 against the Bluebirds since resuming play in 2015. The two had not met since 1998 before resuming the series.

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