The FOX19 Friday Prep Rally featured one of the night's most exciting contests as the Covington Catholic Colonels beat the Beechwood Tigers on the road, 24-21. Turnovers would haunt the Tigers, including three costly fumbles.
The Dixie Highway rivals squared off on a special night at Beechwood as the school was celebrating its 150th Anniversary on the eve of dedicating the new elementary school in Ft. Mitchell. The game delivered on providing the highlight event of the evening.
Junior running back Gabe Gray scored the first touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run, putting CovCath (3-2) out to an early 7-0 lead.
The Tigers responded on the ensuing drive as senior running back Cameron Vocke took one into the end zone from eight yards out to knot the game at 7-7.
Minutes later, after a turnover by each team, Beecwhood (1-3) quarterback Michael Colosimo connected with wide receiver Josh Smith for a 73-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 14-7 edge. Following a key stop on 4th-and-1 Colosimo would throw a second touchdown, this time to Vocke, on a 52-yard screen pass.
Down two scores, CovCath would answer right back. Gray took the first play on the next drive to the house from 80 yards out to dent Beechwood's lead to 21-14. In less than three minutes the game saw three touchdowns. However, that trend would soon change.
The Colonels got the scoring going in the second half when sophomore quarterback Blake Bir connected with Alex Connelly from 11 yards out to tie the game at 21-21.
From there the CovCath defense would take over as they pitched a second-half shutout. In total they would come up with four turnovers. Senior Alex Cosby started it off with his first-quarter pick of Colosimo. Jake Nienaber forced and recovered a Max Nussbaum fumble in the second quarter and the Colonels recovered another later in the quarter, this time as Vocke coughed it up in the red zone.
The final fumble sealed the Tigers' fate. One play after the defense came up with a huge stop, Tigers' wide receiver Nick Bruns would mishandle a screen pass and give CovCath the ball at Beechwood's 4-yard line with the Colonels up three and with under three minutes remaining in the game.
The Tigers would somehow managed to get the ball back without yielding any more points, but Colosimo missed a pair of costly passes and Beecwhood would turn it over on downs to wind out the game.
Gray finished the night with 167 yards and two scores on 18 carries. Bir completed 15 of his 32 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown while being picked off once.
Covington Catholic now must travel to face a tough NewCath team next Friday. Meanwhile, Beechwood will kick off 1A play with a match-up with winless Dayton.
Written by: Dan Clasgens, TriStateFootball.com