5A title accustomed to running through Ft. Thomas, Kentucky’s Highlands High School
Highlands has one of the better group of juniors you will see dotting its two-deep from across the entire breadth of the commonwealth of Kentucky. Benke’s play at QB has been inspiring as both Class and Shelton are showing interested observers the Bluebirds are talented at positions aside from just QB. The Bluebirds are riding a five (5)-game winning streak but still have an annual tilt with Covington Catholic ahead. I suppose the outcome of that game will go a ways toward answering our own question. Enjoy the article.Fletcher W. Long, KPGFootball Senior Scout
They are 23-times the Kentucky State Champions in the sport of football. We are going to try to get it right, but by our count, the Bluebirds have won championships in football the following years: 1960, ’61, ’64, ’68, ’70, ’75, ’77, ’81, ’82, ’89, ’92, ’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’04, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, and 2014.
However, football is a “what have you done for me lately” type sport. Lately, the birds have seen better performances from its 5A football program.
Similar to the mascot to the right of this sentence. Highlands has certainly taken its lumps in the last few years.
The beginning to the ’22 season looked like much of the same might well be on the horizon. However, the Bluebirds are on a 5-game winning streak and, thanks to some outstanding QB play and development, have some around the northern end of Kentucky wondering if we are witnessing the re-emergence of a giant.
The QB of whom we are speaking is ’24’s Brody Benke (of course). Now Benke is a prospect as a drop-back passer.
We have seen him listed as 6’4,” pounds. Benke has also been listed as 6’5,” 225-pounds. Having seen him in person, he appears closer to the later than the former.
What he is definitely doing of late is playing spectacular football. This past Friday night, in a 55-0 drubbing of Connor (2-5), Benke was 15 of 21 for 214-yards passing and four (4)-TD’s.
That is a completion rate over 71% and a 4:0 TD to INT ratio. Yeah, we’ll take that from that position every night and marry it!
Classmate, Carson Class, also a ’24, was Benke’s favorite target in the Connor game. Class caught seven (7)-passes for 137-yards receiving and all four (4) of those TD-passes.
Being good in the kicking game is often the difference between championship level play and just being in the running. Well, if it is a kicker you’re needing, might we humbly suggest Davis Burleigh (’23)?
Burleigh was a perfect seven for seven (7 for 7) against Connor the other night in PATs. A 100-percent conversion rate is no laughing matter. Seven points is seven points after all!
Carson Shelton, another ’24 prospect at DE, has also steadily raised his play as the season has progressed. Shelton had two of the team’s three-TFL’s against Connor and is among the leaders in that all-important statistic on the year.
Having a DE who plays consistently in the opponent’s offensive backfield can’t be discounted. Such plays put offenses in hard to climb out of holes and lead to three and outs and more possessions and opportunities for your own offensive unit.
Now, the bluebirds were smoked coming out of the gate this season. They traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to play South Warren in the Rafferty’s Bowl to open this season. It was a long bus ride and the night was even longer, as South Warren won the game 49-14.
Highlands dropped a heart-breaker at home the following week to Simon Kenton, 42-40. Since then, they have played very well.
Sitting at 5-2 in week 8, the Bluebirds have the 9th-highest RPI in the 5A classification and are presently ranked 8th in 5A in the Associated Press, weekly, Kentucky High School top-10 poll. They are the highest ranked two-loss team in the classification.
Circling back around to the initial question, are the Bluebirds back? Is it time to once again expect the 5A title to go through Ft. Thomas?
They may not be all the way back, but they are coming on strong. Better keep an eye on these guys.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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