KENTUCKY THE ENQUIRER /// SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2014 I9

For CovCath football these days,
everything comes back to one ques-
tion – can the Colonels beat district
rival Highlands? They’ve been argu-
ably the second-best program in
Northern Kentucky over the last
five-plus years, but 11 straight losses
to the Bluebirds have prohibited them
from challenging for a state title.
Heading into the 2014 season,
there’s more optimism than ever
surrounding the CovCath program
that this might be the year. The senti-
ment is based more on the improve-
ment of the Colonels’ than an erosion
of the Bluebirds’ talent, but, either
way, CovCath knows the fate of its
season depends on beating its arch-
nemesis.
“The Highlands thing is always a
theme, but on a daily basis we really
just try to focus on that day or that
practice and the skill or techniques
that we’re trying to get better at for
that specific week,” CovCath head
coach Dave Wirth said. “It’s not al-
ways at the tip of our tongues and it’s
not necessarily something that drives
us on a daily basis, but it’s obviously a
point of emphasis that we need to
beat them and need to get over the
hump. It needs to get back to being a
normal series where you’re exchang-
ing blows and not just taking them.”
One of the biggest advantages
Highlands has held over CovCath and
all of its opponents over the last sev-
eral years is depth. In addition to
having high-end talent, the Bluebirds
have been able to wear other teams
down by playing more guys on both
sides of the ball. The Colonels feel
they’re closing the gap in this regard.
They were hit hard by injuries
throughout the 2013 season, which
made things difficult at the time. But,
it also thrust underclassmen into
high-pressure situations and acceler-
ated their progress, acclimating them
to the rigors of varsity football.
Injuries last year made for an
interesting quarterback battle head-
ing into this season. After starter
Adam Wagner injured his knee in the
second game of his junior season,
sophomore Ben Dressman was
thrown into the spotlight. Dressman
ended up thriving in the role, and
proved to be a talented playmaker
with the ball in his hands, racking up
over 1,700 yards passing and 900
rushing with 29 total touchdowns.
Regardless of who starts, they are
going to have an army of skill guys
with speed at their disposal.
“We’ve got a lot of depth on the
outside,” offensive coordinator Matt
Roberts said. “We’re planning on
using a lot of different guys at receiv-
er. We have 10 or 11 guys every day in
practice that can get in there and
really do some things.“
The Colonels typically have a bal-
anced offense, which is partially re-
sponsible for their success, according
to Wirth. That should again be the
case this season. In addition to all of
the speedy receivers to throw to, they
also have junior Ben Darlington in the
backfield, who did nothing but im-
prove after starting as a sophomore
because of injuries.
CovCath optimistic about 2014
Injuries hurt Covington Catholic last season, but underclassmen gained valuable experience. THE ENQUIRER/JAMES WEBER
By Rick Broering
Enquirer contributor
See COLONELS, Page I10
Highlands will be starting its
fourth different quarterback in as
many years when the 2014 season
kicks off.
While Patrick Towles, Donovan
McCoy and Drew Houliston set a
gold standard of excellence for
Highlands quarterbacks, first-year
head coach and offensive coordina-
tor Brian Weinrich thinks that sen-
ior Beau Hoge, son of former Pitts-
burgh Steeler and current ESPN
NFL analyst Merril Hoge, is up to
the task of continuing the run of
outstanding quarterback play for
the Bluebirds.
“I don’t see why we can’t keep
doing it,” Weinrich said. “We’ve had
some really good quarterbacks.
We’re lucky. We’re in a good run
right now, and looking ahead I think
the run is going to continue, to be
honest.”
The last two Highlands quarter-
backs had very different styles.
McCoy ran for over 1,100 yards and
22 touchdowns and tossed for over
2,700 yards and another 32 scores,
while Houliston threw for over
4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Weinrich expects Hoge to be a
blend between the two.
“He’s right in between the last
two guys,” Weinrich said. “He’s
going to throw a lot, and he’s prob-
ably going to run for a lot too. There
will be plays where he’s going to
have three or four options to choose
from, and we definitely trust him to
make those reads. He’s as athletic
as anyone that’s ever played here,
so he’s going to be able to run and
throw.”
Hoge next quarterback up for Highlands
By Rick Broering
Enquirer contributor
See HOGE, Page I10
Beau Hoge will take over for Drew
Houliston at QB. THE ENQUIRER/CARA OWSLEY
When Covington Catholic junior
quarterback Adam Wagner went
down with a knee injury in the sec-
ond game of the season last year
against Dixie Heights, the Colonels
looked to be in big trouble. After
spending the entire preseason fo-
cused on preparing Wagner for his
first year under center, they had
nowhere to turn but sophomore Ben
Dressman. However, Dressman
proved to be a quick learner, and
developed rapidly over the course of
the season while leading the team to
a 10-3 record.
Now the Colonels enter the 2014
season with two legitimate playmak-
ing quarterbacks that have already
proven themselves at the varsity
level. Wagner, a senior right-hander,
racked up over 500 yards of total
offense and six touchdowns in four
games, while Dressman, a junior
lefty, threw for 1,730 yards and 19
touchdowns and rushed for 911
yards and 10 more scores last sea-
son.
“Last year game-planning was
definitely challenging with all of the
injuries,” CovCath offensive coor-
dinator Matt Roberts said. “Once we
kind of settled on Ben being the guy
and he got rep after rep after rep, he
was the reason we ended up being
successful. He did a great job filling
in for Adam Wagner. We also had
some other guys that got pressed
into service really early – like Ben
Darlington, Ryan McGinness and
Mitch Rensing – and they did a great
job of stepping in and getting better
every week. But really the key guy
was Ben Dressman and his improve-
For Colonels, two QBs are better than one
By Rick Broering
Enquirer contributor
See COVCATH QBS, Page I10
Ben Dressman accounted for 29 total
TDs last year. TONY TRIBBLE FOR THE ENQUIRER

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