High School Teams Have Started Practice With New Districts And Coaches.

  • Posted on July 10, 2023
  • News
  • By sumon

A statewide realignment for the 2023 and 2024 seasons affects each of the 21 local teams. Six of them were moved to a new class and all of them will have at least one new district opponent.
The local teams changing classes based on new enrollment margins are Newport (2A to 1A), Holy Cross (2A to 1A), Lloyd (2A to 3A), Covington Catholic (5A to 4A), Scott (4A to 5A) and Dixie Heights (6A to 5A).

Beechwood will remain in Class 2A after winning state titles in that division the last three years. But the Tigers will have five new district opponents on their schedule — Bracken County, Carroll County, Gallatin County, Owen County, Walton-Verona.The only districts that have all Northern Kentucky teams are Class 1A, District 3 (Bellevue, Dayton, Newport, Newport Central Catholic) and Class 5A, District 6 (Boone County, Conner, Cooper, Dixie Heights, Highlands, Scott).

The realignment led to a myriad of changes in regular season schedules. Most local teams will open against an opponent that wasn’t on their schedule last year. Long-time rivals Covington Catholic and Highlands will face off in the second week since they’re no longer in the same district. Noel Rash retiring as head coach of the Beechwood football program drew statewide attention in February. During the 17 years that he was in charge, the Tigers compiled a 193-46 record and won eight state championships, including the last three Class 2A state titles.

Rash’s replacement, Jay Volker, is taking over a team that won last year’s state championship with mostly underclassmen in the offensive lineup. The top returning players include quarterback Clay Hayden, running back Chase Flaherty and linemen Xavier Campbell, Nick Alexander and Jack Meier.

The other new head coaches this season are Chad Montgomery at Bellevue, Woody McMillen at Ludlow and Jacob Owens at Scott.  Last season, Ludlow and Scott both posted a 4-7 record while Bellevue finished 0-9 after forfeiting its last two regular season games due to a limited number of players.

Montgomery said he expects to start pre-season practice on Monday with 25 to 30 players on the Bellevue roster, including 10 sophomores who got a lot of varsity playing time last season. Lloyd and Ludlow will join the list of local teams with synthetic turf playing fields this season and Newport is putting the finishing touches on a whole new stadium after playing all of its football games on the road in 2022.

Newport was unable to use its 86-year-old stadium last season after it failed a building inspection. The board of education voted in favor of demolishing the historic structure and replacing it with a new one. If everything goes according to plan, the Wildcats’ first game at the new stadium with be Sept. 22. Lloyd and Ludlow will open the season on Aug. 18 with home games on their new fields.

Instead of installing traditional green turf, Ludlow’s field is red with black in both end zones to match the school colors. Covington Catholic upgraded its existing synthetic turf field this summer with a new playing surface that includes a shock pad to enhance player safety. More Information