Cooper Schwalbach, Class of 2019, bringing Highlands back

Photo: Allen Ramsey, NKyTribune

They were 6-6 last year, losing to South Oldham in the Class 5A playoffs, in round two, 35-34. They haven’t won a State Football Championship since 2014. The football team known throughout the Country as simply, Highlands, just isn’t the Ft. Thomas Highland High School football program we have traditionally come to expect. There are those who say the 5A classification in Kentucky won’t be truly right until the Bluebirds return. Highlands is a football program which has won 23 State Championships (1960, 1961, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1989, 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 ) with 6 of those Championships coming consecutively (2007-2012). No other high school football team in the history of the KHSAA, not Trinity, St. Xavier, Male, Covington Catholic, Boyle County, Bowling Green; no one, can make such a boast.

Photo Cincinnati Enquirer

The Bluebirds have completed an incredible 13 undefeated seasons (1930, 57, 60, 61, 64, 68, 70, 82, 96, 98, 2007, 09, 11) and have a career record of 885-237-26 making it the Kentucky high school which has won the most football games in the Commonwealth’s history and second most in the history of American high school football behind only Valdosta, Georgia. That is winning more than 77% of the program’s football games for more than a century. All of the above being said, you would have to excuse the Bluebird fans for not applauding a 6-6 finish and a second round exit from the playoffs. Simply getting to participate in the playoffs earns one no quarter around Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. If Highlands is to either comeback or be considered back, it will be on the back of players like Cooper Schwalbach.

Schwalbach, just being honest, is probably considered more of a baseball prospect than a football running back at the next level. Cooper is an outstanding high school outfielder and right-handed pitcher. However, one can’t discount what he did on the football field last season. Cooper, a 5-9 180 pound 2019 running back, carried the ball 161 times for 882 yards and 17 rushing TDs. Schwalbach also caught 12 passes from out of the backfield for 68 yards and accounted personally for 102 of the Bluebirds’ seasonal point production in 2017. While the Bluebirds finished 6-6 last season, Coach Brian Heinrich‘s district 5, Class 5A ball club had close calls to Lexington Catholic 21-18 and Simon Kenton 35-30 in addition to the nail-bitter 2nd round defeat to South Oldham we have already discussed. That amounts roughly to a TD and a filed goal away from 9-3. Still, Highlands considers Covington Catholic its biggest rival and losing to them 52-0 will tend to make enthusiasts both rowdy and restless.  Running the football keeps teams in games and the Bluebirds look to run the ball much more effectively in 2018 than the 1,717 yards from scrimmage it compiled a year ago. At KPGFootball, we believe Cooper Schwalbach will be instrumental in improving on 2017’s output.

This is Fletcher Long reporting for KPGFootball reminding all of you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1420 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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