Not easy replacing Mr. Kentucky Football in 2019, an All-State First-Teamer on both sides of the ball, and Kentucky’s only 5-Star rated prep-player.
Covington Catholic is one of Kentucky’s premier football programs. That has always been the case for the most part. Sure, programs ebb and flow but these guys, like Kentucky’s other power programs, see much more high-tide than low-tide.
Michael Mayer is moving on to South Bend, Indiana. This isn’t the Irish’s first foray into the Bluegrass for exceptional talent as they also have Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Jacob Lacey on the roster. Many people believe the 5-Star rated, HS All-American Mayer will play immediately for Notre Dame.
How do you replace that in a HS lineup? Well, you don’t. No coach can if we are being honest. Players like him don’t come around but once a career.
However, let’s refrain from crying for poor, old Covington Catholic. They still have some mighty big bullets left in the chamber. One of them at the all-important QB position.
Caleb Jacob, pictured to the right of this paragraph, had quite the year himself in 2019. The 6-4, 210-pound, All-State QB comes back from throwing for 2,817-yards with 33-TD passes and only 9-interceptions.
He was also laser-like and surgical with his accuracy, going 166 for 259 through the air. That is a completion percentage of .64092664. He has colleges all over him. Well, what do you expect?
The Colonels lost leading rusher Daniel Felix and second leading rusher from 2019, Michael Boydston has also exhausted his eligibility. The receiving corp is somewhat depleted too.
Obviously, Mayer has moved along (50-receptions, 970-yards receiving, 15-TDs). Andrew Molique (27, 458, 5) has also departed for different, if not greener, pastures.
Ethan Reardon looks to be option one, down the field in 2020. He will be a senior, like Jacob, and in 2019 caught 45-balls, for 804-receiving yards with 9-TD receptions.
David Gronotte, who may be Kentucky’s very best and most reliable place kicker returns. He converted 9 FGs and 68 PATs in 2019 and will be the squad’s leading returning scorer in 2020.
The defensive defections, owing to the graduation dais, appear a bit more daunting. Catholic has lost its top-four tacklers, and 5 of its top-six if you throw in the departure of Noah Powers. Michael Mayer, Daniel Felix, Carter Martin and John Lawrie joined Powers on the graduation stage and all switched sides on which their tassels lay on their respective mortarboards in just the past few days.
Luke Stegman returns as 2019’s leading returning tackler. Stegman had 32 tackles with 2TFLs and 1 sack over his junior campaign.
In the defensive secondary, Covington Catholic was among Kentucky’s leaders in team interceptions. That is the good news. The bad news-20 of those 24-picks have graduated.
Ryan Schneider is the leading pick-off guy returning as he pilfered a pair last season. Other than he, only Sam France (1) and Charlie Sora (1) return.
So, does this mean that the team which has won 5A State-titles in both 2017 and 2019, while finishing runner-up to South Warren in 2018, is beatable in 2020? Is the team which has gone 44-1 over the past three seasons assailable? Will they fall off? Will the Colonels finally see experience “low-tide?”
Well, they are Covington Catholic, so if the Colonels are on your 2020 schedule I wouldn’t get too excited. However, that being said, Michael Mayer was the best high school football player I believe I have ever before seen play at the Kentucky high school level.
Old Coach Lyon has seen quite a lot of Kentucky high school football. No high school can withstand such a loss without some negative impact on its performance.
The question isn’t really whether they will be negatively impacted by the departures, especially on defense. The real question is…will they be so significantly depleted that your team can finally beat them? We shall see…
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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