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September 14, 2012The scoreless streak against Kentucky competition may have ended for the Covington Catholic Colonels Friday night in Ft Mitchell. But the Colonel defense was still plenty good enough despite being on the field for 36 minutes in a 41-6 rout of the their banged-up archrival Beechwood Tigers on a night when the Tigers honored one of their greats.
CovCath (4-1) QB Blake Bir completed 7 of 16 for 191 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Colonel attack. Evan Braun was his chief target, ending the night with four catches for 120 yards and two long first half TD receptions.
Bir started slowly, throwing an interception on his first two attempts, including one on the first play from scrimmage on a nice play by Tigers' DB Jack Talley. However, Beechwood (1-3) didn't take advantage, when running back Max Nussbaum, who is just coming off of a torn meniscus injury, fumbled on his first carry of the night.
After Bir's second interception two plays later, this one by Max Shover, the Tigers turned it over on downs in CovCath territory. Bir hit Braun for a 66-yard strike to put the Colonels up 6-0 with 5:39 left in the first quarter. After a three and out for Beechwood, Bir and Braun hooked up again, this time for 36 yards to put the Colonels up 13-0 with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
"We talked all week about how there are some goofy things that happen in this game," said Colonels' head coach Dave Wirth when talking about his team's early turnovers. "The expectations for us are high, and may not be as high for them since they're so banged up. My experience with those types of games and what we preached to this team all week is to expect the unexpected. Even banged-up, they are athletic and well-coached."
On the second play of the Tigers' ensuing drive, Matthew Way picked off a Cameron Lane pass and took it 40 yards to the house to put CovCath up 20-0 with 1:41 left in the first.
The turnover bug hit the Tigers again three plays later, this time a mishandled snap caused Lane to lose a fumble that gave CovCath the ball back at the Beechwood 34 as the first quarter ended. Ethan Egbers capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive with a 4-yard run on fourth down to give the Colonels a 27-0 lead with 10:27 left in the half.
The Beechwood offense then put together a nice drive that took nearly nine minutes, mainly behind the tough running of Nussbaum. The CovCath defense stiffened, thanks in large part by a sack by Chris Holthaus, and Beechwood turned the ball over on downs right before the half at the Colonel 29.
CovCath added to their lead when Bir found Egbers from 32 yards out to give the Colonels a 34-0 lead with 7:33 left in the third quarter. Then, Beechwood went on a 18-play, 78-yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes, and they were rewarded when Jason Suchanek , in relief of Lane who was injured earlier on the drive, found Devon Everett in the corner of the end zone to get the Tigers on the board with 9:19 left in the game.
Bobby Beatrice rounded out the scoring on the evening when he plowed in from five yards to give the Colonels a 41-6 lead with 3:50 left in the game.
CovCath outgained Beechwood 238-155, despite the Tigers' nearly 3-to-1 advantage in time of possession.
"I thought they played well," Wirth said about his defense. "This makes two weeks in a row that we've played a team that worked really, really hard to keep our offense off the field that's life when you have Blake and people want to keep him off the field."
Prior to the game, former Beechwood standout Brandon Berger was honored by having his No.36 jersey retired. Berger, who played parts of four seasons with MLB's Kansas City Royals, played on the Tigers' 1991 and 92 Class A state championship football teams.
Beechwood will attempt to get back on the winning track when they host Elizabethtown next Friday in Ft Mitchell, while CovCath will face their district rival Highlands in Ft Thomas next Friday in a showdown of the top two ranked Northern Kentucky teams.