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2022 Prep Football Previews: After playing multiple positions, Ludlow senior moving to quarterback

The NKyTribune is featuring players on each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2022 season on Aug. 19. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Sarah Mae Wilson
NKyTribune sports reporter

Jaxson Rice will be taking on yet another role for Ludlow’s football team during his senior season. He’ll be the Panthers’ starting quarterback after putting up good numbers as a wide receiver, defensive back and place kicker last year.

“I’m excited about moving to quarterback this year,” Rice said. “I feel like I play a much bigger role for my team this year, which is something I am looking forward to.”

Ludlow senior Jaxson Rice is moving from wide receiver to quarterback in the Panthers’ offense. (Photo provided)

Last season, Ludlow lost to Dayton in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs and finished with a 3-8 record. Rice was the Panthers’ leading pass receiver with 580 yards and six touchdowns. He was also converted 18 point-after kicks for a total of 54 points.

On the defensive side of the ball, Rice recorded 65 tackles (32 solo, 33 assisted) with one pass interception as a free safety. In the final three regular season games, he made 34 tackles, including a season-high 13 against Bellevue.

There will be some major changes in Ludlow’s offensive unit because quarterback Brogan O’Brien and running back Braxton Newborn both graduated. O’Brien had 1,304 yards passing and Newborn had 1,226 yards rushing last season.

Rice had played quarterback on the Ludlow junior varsity team as a sophomore and he expected to be returning to that position as a senior on the varsity team.

“I think the key to making the transition for me would be to stay confident, stay comfortable back there and to make the right reads,” he said.

One of the running back positions will be filled by senior Jaylen Bridges, who played in only two games last year due to a shoulder injury. As a sophomore, he rushed for 80 yards in eight games and scored one touchdown.

Jaxson Rice

“The offense is getting better and better everyday.” Rice said. “The team has really stepped up this year and put in a lot of work over the summer and they are improving and ready to take on the season.”

Tommy King is another senior veteran in the Ludlow lineup. As a wide receiver and defensive back last year, he caught 14 passes for 169 yards, made 38 tackles and had a team-high four fumble recoveries, including one he returned for a touchdown.

The Panthers are also expecting big things out of junior Ethan Powell, who played wide receiver and defensive back last season. He had an interception and a fumble recovery.

The Panthers got off to 1-5 start in non-district games last season and the only team they beat is not on this year’s schedule. Rice said they’re looking forward to that challenge and being able to prove themselves.

2021 SEASON: 
 3-8 record, lost in first round of Class 1A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 1A, District 4 with Bellevue, Dayton, Newport Catholic.
HEAD COACH:  Greg Taphouse (31-25 in five seasons at Ludlow).

Aug. 19 – at Gallatin County, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 – LOCKLAND (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – at Paris, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 – CARROLL COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 – BROSSART, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 – at Mason County, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 – at Bellevue, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 – DAYTON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 – vs. Holy Cross at Thomas More, 7 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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