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Prep Sports Report: Two double-threat quarterbacks among finalists for “That’s My Boy” football award

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Highlands quarterback Brody Benke, who had a combined total of 3,233 passing, rushing and receiving yards this season, is one of four finalists for the Brian Williams “That’s My Boy Award” that goes to the top student-athlete in Northern Kentucky high school football.

Highlands reached the Class 5A semifinals and posted a 12-2 record with Benke as its offensive leader. In addition to passing for 1,849 yards and 26 touchdowns, he rushed for 1,176 and 23 TDs. As a pass receiver, he had 14 catches for 208 yards and six TDs. 

Brody Benke

That gave the 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior a net total of 3,233 all-purpose yards in 14 games for a 231 average. He accepted a scholarship offer to play tight end for Middle Tennessee State University.  

The other “That’s My Boy” Award finalists are Cooper linebacker Jack Lonaker, Covington Catholic quarterback Evan Pitzer and Dixie Heights defensive back Beni Mwamba.

Lonaker, a Thomas More University recruit, made a team-high 166 tackles for Cooper’s team that made it to the Class 5A state final. The senior completed his three-year varsity career with a team record 456 tackles.

Evan Pitzer

Pitzer had a combined total of 3,229 yards passing and rushing for CovCath, the Class 4A state runner-up that finished the season with a 14-1 record. The senior quarterback completed 170 of 243 passes for a team-record 69.9 percent. 

Mwamba, a University of Tennessee-Chattanooga recruit, finished his senior season with 48 tackles, four interceptions and one fumble recovery. He also scored three touchdowns on pass receptions and one on a kickoff return.

The four finalists were selected based on a rating system that assigns points for achievements in football, academics and extra-curricular activities. The winner will be announced during the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Football Foundation banquet on Feb. 29 at the original Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati

The award is named for Brian Williams, a former recipient who played football at CovCath. He was killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Swimmers post top qualifying times in 12 events for state meet

Northern Kentucky swimmers that competed in the Region 7 meet last Saturday recorded the top qualifying times in 12 events for the first round of state competition to be held Feb. 17 at Scott High School.

Under a new format, teams from the state’s nine regions will compete in three first-round meets to decide finalists for the state championship meet that’s set for Feb. 22-24 at the University of Kentucky.

The first-round meet at Scott High School will include swimmers from Regions 7-9. According to results reported from those three region meets, Northern Kentucky swimmers have the top first-round qualifying times in six boys events and six girls events.

The top seeded boys include Ryle sophomore Chase Knopf in the 200-yard freestyle (1:39.88) and 100 backstroke (51.43), Villa Madonna junior Ty Dropic in the 200 individual medley (1:54.06), Highlands junior Griffin Barlow in the 100 butterfly (52.22), Ryle junior Andy  Pleiman in the 100 freestyle (47.42) and the Highlands 400 freestyle relay team (3:15.52).

The top qualifiers in girls events include Notre Dame junior Sadie Hartig in the 200 freestyle (1:51.98) and 500 freestyle (5:00.62), Ryle junior Reese Yauger in the 200 individual medley (2:07.15) and 100 butterfly (56.69), the Ryle 200 medley relay team (1:49.89) and the Notre Dame 400 freestyle relay team (3:35.76).

The leading scorers in 1-meter springboard diving in each region go directly to the state championship meet. The top state qualifying scorers were posted by Cooper senior Peytton Moore (493.50) in girls and Covington Catholic senior Jake Larkin (607.75) in boys.

Notre Dame and Ryle tied for first place in the Region 7 girls team standings. Ryle took the boys title and had the highest boys-girls combined scoring total. Complete results for Region 7 are posted on the khsaa.org website.       

Ludlow, Bellevue will meet in both NKAC Classic basketball finals

It should come as no surprise that Ludlow will face Bellevue in the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Classic boys and girls championship games on Saturday at Ludlow.

Ludlow finished on top and Bellevue placed second in both the boys and girls Division III standings that were used to seed teams for the NKAC Classic. The girls championship game on Saturday is set for 6 p.m. followed by the boys final at 7:30 p.m.

In boys semifinal games on Friday, Ludlow defeated Heritage, 64-45, and Bellevue got past Calvary Christian, 40-38. The girls semifinal games were played on Thursday when Bellevue defeated Villa Madonna, 70-32, and Ludlow knocked off Dayton, 57-44.




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