A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

High school football teams in region finals rolled to victories in first two rounds of post-season playoffs

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The three Northern Kentucky high school football teams that remain in the state playoffs won their first two post-season games by huge margins. The two-game point spreads were 117-14 for Beechwood, 102-13 for Newport Central Catholic and 83-7 for Lloyd.

Beechwood and Lloyd get to host Class 2A region finals at 7:30 p.m. Friday because they ranked higher than their opponents — Shelby County and Breathitt County — in the Ratings Point Index used to determine playoff pairings. The RPI also decided that NewCath will visit Kentucky Country Day in a Class 1A region final at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Beechwood quarterback Clay Hayden (Photo from BeechwoodPhotos.com)

Beechwood (11-1) is the top-ranked team in the Class 2A bracket going into its home game against Shelby County (10-2). The Tigers have now won 11 consecutive playoff  games, including the 2021 and 2020 state championships.

Sophomore quarterback Clay Hayden completed 19 of 25 passes for 510 yards and seven touchdowns in Beechwood’s last two playoff victories. The Tigers also rushed for 479 total yards behind two dominating performances by its offensive line.

Lloyd (9-3) will be playing in its first region final since 2015 in Friday’s home game against Breathitt County (9-2). If the Juggernauts come out on top, they’ll reach the Class 2A state semifinals for the first time ever.

In last week’s 41-0 win over Walton-Verona, Lloyd senior tailback Kaiden Zulager rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns.  On defense, sophomore defensive back Isiah Sebastian intercepted four passes and returned one for a touchdown.

NewCath (10-2) has lost in the Class 1A region finals the last three years and hopes to snap that streak at Kentucky Country Day (9-2) on Friday. Both teams are averaging 34 points and a little over 300 yards per game so it looks like a good matchup.

The Thoroughbreds have a balanced offense led by junior quarterback Kolton Smith, who’s averaging 114.5 passing yards per game, and junior running back Demetrick Welch, who’s averaging 114.1 rushing yards per game. One of NewCath’s senior team leaders is two-way starter Luke Runyon. He has scored 14 touchdowns on offense, two on kickoff returns and leads the defense in tackles with 90.

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One Comment

  1. Jeremy Hayden says:

    Thanks for the great coverage

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