For the past few years, Newport Central Catholic football has started their season out slowly only to surge into the playoffs after ripping through its district game and making the Class 2A Championship the past three seasons. The Thoroughbreds have built their schedule that way in order to play the bigger schools early in the year in order to better equip themselves for their typical strong postseason push.
This year is no different as New Cath is slated to open up the year with Scott, Cooper, Campbell County, Belfry, Harrison County and Conner before entering district play against Holy Cross.
“It’s still a bunch of schools that are bigger than us that we have to play,” said NCC head coach Dan Wagner. “We’re looking at it as a challenge. Numbers is a big thing in our sport. We played all those teams last year that had 70 or 80 players. It gets a little tough, but the challenge is there and we never back down from a challenge.”
The heavy lifting on offense is expected to come from senior standout tailback Jacob Smith who had 1,477 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns last year. Smith combines strength and quickness and is expected to be even stronger this year.
“It’s not secret. He has a chance to be one of, if not the best running back up here this year,” Wagner said. “He’s a very talented kid and we’re going to have to ride him a little bit. He’s about a 185 pounds—somewhere in that area—he’s a strong kid, works hard, very receptive of whatever you tell him and is a good kid.”