During their regular-season meeting versus Covington Catholic the Highlands Bluebirds had to hold on for a five-point win. It would be an entirely different story in the rematch as Highlands rolled to a 49-14 win as they advance to the Kentucky Class 4A state semi-finals.
The Bluebirds' offense was impressive as it tallied 594 total yards (352 rushing), but it was its defense that was out to make a statement.
"We knew that they thought they can compete with us and we also knew that was not true," starting defensive back Carter New, who had an interception late in the game, said of his unit.
CovCath (10-3) was held to 191 of offense on the night, including just 81 yards on the ground. Senior running back Gabe Gray, who had 167 rushing yards in the first game, finished with only 65 yards on 15 carries in this contest.
"We thought the last time was a fluke for sure we changed our game plan completely and focused on their running back first and their pass second," New claimed. "I think that made a big difference."
--Postgame: Carter New (Highlands)
--Towles Takes It The House
--Jake True 3-Yard RuTD
--Towles To Turner TD
--Bir Throws Touchdown
Highlands had no problems moving the football behind the guidance of quarterback Towles. He rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the first half as the Bluebirds took a 21-7 lead into the locker room.
The Colonels made it interesting when they put together a scoring drive to start the second half. Junior quarterback Blake Bir connected with Michael Best for 21-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to seven. However, that would be the last time CovCath would find the end zone.
The Bluebirds responded immediately with a 78-yard scoring drive that ended with Towles finding Luke Turner for a 9-yard passing touchdown.
Towles finished the night with 106 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries while completing 11 of 23 passes for 242 yards and a TD. Jake True was equally impressive on the ground, adding 106 yards and two scores on his 16 carries. Colin Seidl also got into the scoring act with a 27-yard TD scamper late in the game.
Bir had 110 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception on 9-of-22 passing in the defeat.
The win by Highlands is their 38th straight win at home with their last defeat coming to CovCath in a 2006 playoff game. It is also their 18th straight victory overall.
Up next Highlands will travel to Lexington Catholic (11-2) for a final four matchup and a right to go to Bowling Green the following weekend for the state title game. The Knights knocked off Boyle County Friday night, 10-7.
*Written by: Dan Clasgens, TriStateFootball.com