|11/14/2005 - by Jake Donelan|
Fort Thomas, KY - Fort Thomas, KY – As an instinct, thousands of birds come together at roughly the same time every year to join one another to make an exhausting trip south for the winter. Dale Mueller's Highlands Bluebirds are doing much of the same.
Since their loss to Columbus-St. Francis Desales on Sept. 23, the 'Birds have rolled off six straight wins and a scoring advantage of 264-100 during that span.
In the process, they have stymied two very potent offenses guided by two very potent quarterbacks. Three weeks ago the 'Birds took down arch rival Covington Catholic and star quarterback Drew Ellison. This week in the second round of the state playoffs the 'Birds took care of the visiting Franklin County Flyers and junior quarterback Kaelin Ammons.
Ammons did find a way to amass 328 passing yards in the first half, but a key interception and the ball bouncing the home team's way a few times allowed the Flyers to reach the end zone only twice.
The Flyers started the game with a three-and-out series. After a less than mediocre punt by the Flyers' Justin Lumbard, the 'Birds started their first possession on the Flyer 35-yard line.
The first four plays from scrimmage for the 'Birds were the exact same play just in different directions. A pitch left, right, left and right again. All were to junior running back Jordan Kramer. The first three went for very good gains. But, on his fourth carry, Kramer made it past most of the Flyer defense before getting hit just short of the endzone. After the hit, Kramer fumbled the ball into the end zone and the Flyers recovered for the touchback.
The Flyers had little luck, gaining one first down then again being forced to punt.
Senior quarterback Chase Cecil took over from there.
Only a couple plays into the drive, Cecil found senior Ben Guidugli in the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown pass with 6:57 to go in the first quarter. Cecil would hook up with Guidugli again on the next drive for a 24-yard strike to put the 'Birds up 14-0.
The Flyers answered with a drive that was capped off by a 17-yard pass from Ammons to senior wide receiver Justin Riggs.
Luke Stein and Kramer scored for the 'Birds in the first half to make their total 28 points.
Ammons snuck into the end zone on a 1-yard play with 4:00 to go in the half to make the score 28-7. The 'Birds kept that same lead going into the locker room.
At halftime, Highlands fans watched a video highlight of the girls soccer team's journey to the school's first ever Kentucky girls soccer state championship.
As the teams came out the football 'Birds looked just that, state champions.
The second half was marked with a stingy 'Birds defense and a "clicking on all cylinders offense." The 'Birds rallied off 33 unanswered points in the second half on their way to a very convincing 61-14 win over the Flyers.
The 'Birds had 260 rushing yards and Cecil was 9-17 for 187 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 'Birds held the Flyers to just 47 rushing yards on the night but did allow 366 yards through the air. The good news, most of those came in the first half.
Highlands will continue to defend their Class AAA State Championship when Lexington Catholic High School visits David Cecil Memorial Stadium for the first time.
The Knights are also led by a quarterback. Senior Justin Burke, who will attend North Carolina State University on a football scholarship, heads a potent air attack that will surely test this Bluebirds defense. The last time these two teams met the 'Birds shocked the favored Knights in Lexington, 31-24.
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