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October 9, 2009The Simon Kenton Pioneers took a firm hold of first place in class 6A Thursday night with a convincing win over Ryle 49-29.
The Pioneers were ranked No. 2 in Northern Kentucky according to our QueenCityHigh.com rankings and Ryle was ranked No. 3. Simon Kenton also dominated the No. 4 team in our rankings the Conner Cougars 56-14 two weeks ago.
"I think we've proved a point," Simon Kenton linebacker Austin Baldwin who had 3.5 sacks said. "We proved a point against Conner and we'll keep proving points."
Simon Kenton's run to the playoffs last year may have been unexpected, but this year the Pioneers have made themselves known as the clear-cut favorites in Northern Kentucky class 6A.
"We talked all week about how we wanted to make a statement," quarterback Chad Lawrence said. "We wanted to show everyone that we're serious about getting back to state and winning it."
The Pioneers were led by standout running back Miles Simpson who ran for 275 yards and scored four touchdowns. He also eclipsed the career school rushing record of 3,637 yards set by Daniel Morrison in 2000. Simpson finished the game with 3,821 yards in his career.
Simpson might have led the Pioneers, but it was all Lawrence on the opening drive. The junior signal-caller racked up 67 of the 75 total yards on the drive and capped it off with a four yard touchdown run to give Simon Kenton the early 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game. Just a few minutes later it was Lawrence striking again, but this time it was with his arm as he hit wide receiver Matt Reilly for the 37-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
The second quarter saw Simpson score his first touchdown as he scored on a highlight reel run. He took a handoff going right, but when he saw nowhere to go he tried to switch fields and run to the left. Nothing opened up on the left side either as he was met in the backfield by a few Ryle defenders. He then proceeded to break a few would-be tacklers and reverse fields again taking it back to the right sideline and 27-yards for the touchdown.
The Pioneers tacked on a two-point conversion and those would be the last points before the half leaving the score at 22-0.
Ryle came out of the half in desperate need of something positive and got it in the form of a long kickoff return that crossed midfield and started their drive on the Simon Kenton 48-yard line. Junior quarterback, Conner Hempel, gave them their first points a few plays later when he scored on a one-yard run to make it 22-7.
However, the momentum was only in black and orange for a brief period as Simpson followed that up with another 27-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to three scores 28-7.
Before the third quarter ended, Lawrence and Simpson were able to score another touchdown apiece to make it 42-7.
Ryle senior Keifer Eubanks tried to make a late push for a comeback as he scored back-to-back touchdowns for the Raiders to make it 42-22 with less than five minutes to play in the game. However, Simpson found paydirt again on a 55-yard scamper to put out any hopes of a comeback for the Raiders.
Eubanks scored again for Ryle on a nine-yard catch to round out the scoring making the final 49-29.
Lawrence finished the game with 187 yards on 19 carries for two touchdowns and he also threw for two touchdowns. After the game, he received high praise from his running back.
"Chad's a playmaker. He never stops," Simpson said. "He's more of a key than I am because if I'm getting shutdown Chad can take it to the house just like I can."
Simon Kenton advances to 7-1 on the season and 3-0 in district play, while the Raiders fall to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the district.