A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Prep Sports Report: Quarterbacks hope impressive senior seasons entice college recruiting offers

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Logan Verax set Ryle single-season and career passing records.

Logan Verax and Brody Benke, two Northern Kentucky high school quarterbacks who had exceptional senior seasons, are waiting to see what attention they get from college football recruiters. 

Benke had a combined total of 3,233 passing, rushing and receiving yards for the Highlands Bluebirds, who reached the semifinals of the Class 5A state playoffs and finished with a 12-2 record. He’s the only local quarterback to surpass 1,000 yards in the air and on the ground this season. 

Verax set single-season team records in both passing yards (3,279) and touchdowns (29) for the Ryle Raiders, who made it to the Class 6A region finals. His career total of 7,979 passing yards ranks second all-time among Northern Kentucky quarterbacks.

Highlands quarterback Brody Benke surpassed 1,000 yards in rushing and passing this season. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Benke has received scholarship offers from Wofford, Thomas More, Findlay and Kentucky State, according to posts on his Twitter account. The versatile 6-foot-5, 230-pound athlete decided not to play basketball this season, but he is expected to be a starting pitcher on the Highlands baseball team once again.

There’s not much information on Verax’s college recruiting status, but that could change after the impressive numbers the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior put up this season. He’s turning his attention to basketball now and is one of the team’s top returning scorers for Ryle.

Local wrestlers enter season among top contenders for state titles

Wrestlers from three local high schools who were state tournament finalists last February are returning to make another run at titles this season.

Braydan Blevins

Simon Kenton sophomore Braydan Blevins and Ryle junior Landon Evans opened the 2023 state championship round with victories in the 106-pound and 113-pound weight classes. Walton-Verona junior TJ Meyer was state runner-up in the 120 weight class for the second consecutive year.

This will be the first season that girls wrestling is a state sanctioned sport. But several local girls competed in a state tournament organized by coaches last February and two of them made it to the finals.

The returning wrestlers who earned girls state runner-up medals are Walton-Verona junior Sophie Anderson in the 126-pound weight class and Simon Kenton senior Gabriella Ocasio at 145.  

Last Saturday, Anderson and Ocasio opened this season by winning gold medals at the Centre Parkway Classic in Lexington. Anderson took the 132-pound title. Ocasio topped the 152-pound bracket and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in the upper weight classes. 

St. Henry graduate playing on volleyball team in NCAA tournament

Abby Schaefer

St. Henry graduate Abby Schaefer is a sophomore defensive specialist on the Western Kentucky University volleyball team that won the Conference USA championship to earn a berth in the NCAA Division I tournament.

Schaefer has a team-high 364 digs for the Hilltoppers (29-4), who have won 24 consecutive matches going into the 64-team national tournament. Their first-round opponent will be Sun Belt Conference champion Coastal Carolina (22-9) at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Knoxville, Tenn. 

In high school, Schaefer was a starting libero on St. Henry’s 2021 state championship team and was named to the all-tournament team after getting 44 digs in 10 sets over three matches. She finished her high school career with more than 1,500 digs for the Crusaders.  

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