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On a break-the-scoreboard night, Beechwood and Simon Kenton combine for 112 points in regulation

By Dan Weber
NKyTribune sports reporter

George Washington made the line famous before it became a part of our sporting lexicon.

“The best defense is a good offense,” the Father of Our Country once said. But then, he wasn’t here Friday in Fort Mitchell. George might have reconsidered.

Beechwood 58, Simon Kenton 54.

And in regulation.

It was standing room only in Fort Mitchell for Beechwood-Simon Kenton. (Photo by Dan Weber/NKyTribune)

“That’s the effort we needed,” said Simon Kenton’s Aba Selm, the 290-pound UK-bound top two-way lineman in the state of the way his Pioneer team bounced back from last week’s trouncing by Covington Catholic.

Beechwood? Well, for the 4-0 Tigers, it was just another night at the old ballyard.

They nipped Dixie Heights 49-48 in overtime last week and amped it up, as they had to, thanks to the speed and skill of wide receivers Tyler Fryman and Luke Erdman and the accurate arm of quarterback Clay Hayden, whose five TD passes alone totaled 247 yards.

All setting up a battle of the unbeaten Dixie Highway neighbors as the 4-0 Colonels come out from Park Hills to Edgar McNabb Stadium. Although it’s hard to imagine another overflow crowd more captivated by a game that came down to back-to-back onside kicks from Simon Kenton – one not quite 10 yards leading to a Beechwood TD and the second, perfection at just past the required 10 yards, allowing the Pioneers two final shots at the win that wasn’t to be.

First-year Beechwood Coach Jay Volker took the realistic approach before telling his players to celebrate the hard-earned victory: “We have to get better . . . we cannot ask our offense to score 50 points every game . . . and without 55 (Xavier Campbell) we’ll have to step it up.”

Simon Kenton Coach Roy Lucas leads out his captains — Aba Selm, Mark Ober, and Luke Schieber. (Photo by Dan Weber/NKyTribune)

Campbell, the fifth-year two-way varsity veteran and leader of the Tiger defense as a 235-pound middle linebacker/left offensive tackle, was hurt on the first play of the second half and immediately attended to by medical and training personnel for neck pain after a crunching physical tackle.

After being taken to the hospital by a Ft. Mitchell EMS team, there was optimism that with feeling in his extremities, this was all out of an abundance of caution and what he suffered was “an extreme stinger.”

The next time Beechwood touched the ball, Hayden hit freshman Fryman on an 81-yard crossing route that saw him run away from the Simon Kenton secondary to make it 34-14, Beechwood.

Which is when Simon Kenton could have packed it in. But they didn’t. Behind the scrambling of quarterback Brady Lee and the running of Durell Turner, both juniors, Simon Kenton just kept coming back, getting it to 44-40 and 51-48. Turner alone totaled 97 yards on just his four TD runs alone.

“The way they were running the ball, I could tell they weren’t going to quit,” said Fryman, whose four touchdowns didn’t allow the Pioneers to ever quite catch up.

“It was a battle out there,” Selm said, “this is the effort we need. This is the team we need to be.”

And this is the team Beechwood has, with the swift Erdman not only coming off the edge to block two PAT’s but also lining up at the Wildcat for a 49-yard TD keep after the failed onside kick with the score 51-48 with 1:28 left.

Beechwood players head. to the field only after touching the marble sculpture memorializing their 17 state football championships. (Photo by Dan Weber/NKyTribune)

“The kids played really hard,” Simon Kenton Coach Roy Lucas said of his “young team . . . we kept saying we’re right there, well, we finally figured it out.” A fourth-quarter 26-point outburst made that clear.

On offense. But that’s not actually a good enough defense against this Beechwood team, especially with senior linebacker Kaleb Bleier out injured.

“Everybody knows what Beechwood is,” Lucas said, “they’re hard to beat.”

What did he think of the freshman Fryman’s four-TD day (also 47-yard and 22-yard TD catches and then a Wildcat run when he extended the ball through a pile into the end zone. “I don’t know which one he is, they’re all good.”

He did know Erdman, the 4.5 speedster in the 40, who ran one in and caught another for a total of 104 yards on just those two TD plays.

“I like our Wildcat,” he said of the formation that produced two TDs for two wide receivers on the snap from center, “it catches teams off guard.”

Fryman said the offensive outburst wasn’t unfamiliar to him. “When I was in Little League, I had games like that,” he said after his starring season last spring as an eighth-grade centerfielder and No. 3 hitter and one of the best high school baseball players in Northern Kentucky for the regional champion Tigers – even though he wasn’t in high school yet.

Medical personnel take Beechwood’s Xavier Campbell to the ambulance. (Photo by Dan Weber/NKyTribune)

And now he’s doing the same in football, a sport he likes better than baseball. “I just think it’s more fun, every play matters. It’s more of a team game.”

It was Friday. And it was fun. There was an extra point off the uprights, a field goal that bounced back after hitting the crossbar. And a 42-yard Colson Lair field goal, that combined with the two blocked PAT’s by Erdman, made the difference in this one.

And now comes 4-0 CovCath, off a 31-24 win over a Dixie Heights team Beechwood beat by a point in overtime last week.

“That’s really big,” Fryman said of “my first CovCath game, “the boys down the street.”

Simon Kenton (1-2) moves on to Hebron and a Conner team that dispatched Newport Central Catholic Friday, 38-17.

BEECHWOOD 7 20 10 21–58
SIMON KENTON 7 7 14 26—54

BEECHWOOD: Cusick 40 pass from Hayden (Lair PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Weaver 27 pass from Lee (Garnett PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Fryman 22 pass from Hayden (kick missed)
SIMON KENTON: Lee 3 run (Garnett PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Erdman 55 pass from Hayden (Lair PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Hayden 1 run (Lair PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Fryman 81 pass from Hayden (Lair PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Turner 35 run (Garnett PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Brown 4 run (Garnett PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Lair 42 field goal
SIMON KENTON: Turner 6 run (Erdman blocked PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Fryman 47 pass from Hayden (Lair PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Turner 10 run (Erdman blocked PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Fryman 4 run (Lair PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Turner 46 run (Turner run for 2-pt. PAT)
BEECHWOOD: Erdman 49 run (Lair PAT)
SIMON KENTON: Blades 7 pass from Lee (PAT run failed)

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