Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Highlands-Campbell County Notebook

Highlands Volleyball Wins Twice

PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands senior Jake Welch returned a punt for a touchdown in the win Friday.

The first home football game saw a filled student section for the first time since 2019.

The Highland O-Zone typically does theme days for football games. They dressed in country themes.

"I think it's amazing to see the student body. I think that goes a couple ways," said John Darnell, Highlands Principal. "It's not just necessarily at ballgames. But we're seeing it throughout the school day as well. We have students that are excited on game days that aren't athletes. But to have a student section out there that's supporting our team and our entire community, that's what you hope for."

Senior Benjamin Vaught attended the game sitting close to the front as seniors typically do. Vaught swims the 200 intermediate.

"It's a great environment out here in the O-Zone," Vaught said. "We're here in full force and we're here to have some fun. It's great to see everyone win. It makes the experience a whole lot better."

Captains for Game:

Four seniors took the field with Head Coach Bob Sphire for the coin toss. They were wide receiver Aiden Halpin, defensive lineman Henry King, linebacker Isaac Surrey and wide receiver Jake Welch.

Pre-Game Introductions:

The Bluebirds still introduce players on the scoreboard. Players state their names then say the Elementary School the came from.

State Championship Basketball Team Honored:

Members of the state championship basketball team were honored at halftime. Head Coach Kevin Listerman and the Bluebirds received their rings earlier in the week.

The Bluebirds earned the first state championship in school history in April. Led by seniors Sam Vinson and Luke Muller, Highlands defeated Elizabethtown, 79-60 at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Vinson is playing college basketball at Northern Kentucky University and Muller is golfing at NKU.

Series Against Campbell County:

The Bluebirds won their fifth straight against Campbell County and eight of the nine meetings since the series resumed in 2013. The only loss during that time came 24-21 on a last-second field goal in Alexandria on Aug. 26, 2016.

Highlands is 58-10 all-time against Campbell County. The teams did not play between 2005 and 2012.

All Four Class 5A, District 5 Opponents Lose on Friday:

The district finished 1-4 Friday as all four district opponents for the Bluebirds lost. Lexington Catholic came to Park Hills and knocked off Covington Catholic, 34-27. The blue Colonels are 1-2 on the season.

The Cooper Jaguars (2-1) lost 14-7 for the first time this season at home against Ryle. Conner and Boone County are 1-2 on the season. Conner lost 42-26 at Dixie Heights and Boone County lost 28-14 to Covington Holmes in Florence.

Scouting Cincinnati (Ohio) McNicholas:

Highlands travels across the river to face the Rockets (3-0) in the first meeting in school history Friday at 7 p.m. It is the annual Skyline Crosstown Showdown game.

The Rockets knocked off Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, 41-0 on Friday. McNicholas opened the season with a 28-13 win over Cincinnati Indian Hill before beating New Richmond, 34-14.

Scheduling Guidelines:

A lot has come out about the online charter school in Columbus (Ohio) known as Bishop Sycamore, which lost 58-0 to Florida powerhouse IMG Academy in Canton on Sunday two days after playing a team from Pennsylvania. Bishop Sycamore had a game scheduled at Johnson Central forfeited on Friday.

Highlands Director of Athletics Wes Caldwell said it is up to the coaches to check openings and make schedules. But he said he personally would not schedule a game against a team he has never heard of.

Highlands Volleyball in September Slam:

The Bluebirds (12-2 overall) won both games in the September Slam soundly Friday.

Highlands recorded a big win over Dixie Heights on Thursday. The Bluebirds hoped to carry it into the tournament.

"It was really intense. We had a big O-Zone and we were being really loud on the bench," said Josie Steppe, Highlands senior. "That was a very happy moment. We took our energy and our attitude from that (game) and we brought it to Scott (Friday). We started slow. But I think eventually we picked it up and we got the job done."

Highlands took care of Boone County, 2-0 (25-15, 25-16) for its first win in three tries against a team from the 33rd District. Highlands had five aces, 19 kills and assists, two solo blocks and 50 digs.

Junior setter Kenzi Vennefron had 17 assists and nine digs for the Bluebirds. Senior setter Madison Opitz had two aces.

Senior CC Shick led Highlands with 10 kills and four digs. Senior Avery Cavacini had four kills and four digs with senior Sophia Sarakatsannis making eight digs and one kill.

Senior defensive specialist Madison Clore had 10 digs and two assists. Senior Honor Valentine recorded seven digs.

The Bluebirds then defeated Campbell County for the second time this season 2-0 (25-19, 25-14). Highlands had 27 kills and assists, one ace and 34 digs.

The Bluebirds used two setters in the game. Opitz had 13 digs and Vennefron had 12.

Sarakatsannis had seven kills and seven digs. Senior Lauren Buemi had six kills and two digs. Shick had five kills and three digs. Clore again led Highlands with 13 digs.

Highlands faces Dixie Heights for the second time in three days at 9 a.m. before completing pool play against Covington Holy Cross at 11 a.m.

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