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CRESTWOOD – All three local high school football teams will jump into action with the Oldham County Kickoff Classic this weekend as the South Oldham High School stadium.
The 11th year of the classic will feature Oldham County against Conner at 7:30 p.m. Friday. North Oldham faces Moore at 6 p.m. Saturday followed by South Oldham against Woodford County.
The OCHS/Conner game will feature perhaps the biggest name player in Conner quarterback Nick West.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound West has been ranked in the top 10 best players in the state by several recruiting services and has drawn interest from Cincinnati and the MAC conference schools.
“We’ve seen him on film,” OCHS coach Matt Brown said. “He is a big kid who can move out of the pocket. He is not extremely fast, but he is elusive and he just has a cannon for an arm.”
West had a big junior season throwing for 2,702 yards with 30 touchdowns on 200 of 324 passing. He had only nine interceptions. A double threat, he rushed for 622 yards on 105 attempts with 11 touchdowns.
He is not alone in the potent Cougars’ offense.
“They have a lot of experienced skill kids for him to throw to,” Brown said.
West’s top two targets are back from last season in wideouts Ryan Delph and Michael Gill. Delph caught 36 passes for 409 yards while Gill caught 36 passed for 612 yards. Tight end Anthony Boden, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior, caught nine passes for 137 yards last year and is expected to be more a threat this year.
Tailback Austin Pugh, a candiate for Mr. Baseball this coming spring, rushed for 549 yards last year and caught 15 passes for 209 yards.
They will attack an OCHS defense with four returning starters in the defensive backfield leaving a potential strength-on-strength battle.
“No matter what we have a big challenge ahead of us.” Brown said.
Defensively, Conner returns just three starters from its 4-3 base look. They are three good ones in Pugh and fellow linebacker Houston Dockery and 6-1, 185-pound safety Eric Champ who will also play receiver this season.
The Colonels prepped for the contest by beating Henry County Friday five scores to two in their preseason scrimmage.
The SOHS/Woodford match could also be a good one with the both teams looking to improve on losing records.
“They (Woodford) are kind of a mirror image to us in a lot of ways,” SOHS coach Clay Holbrook said. “They will spread the field and try to throw it when they can.”
The Yellowjackets are counting on quarterback Ryan Garrahan and tailback George Howard to lead what is a very young team.
He will have last year’s leading receiver back in tight end Bobby Neal who caught 41 passes for 640 yards last season.
Woodford also has a pair of strong linemen back in center Trey Gentry and guard Chance Wilson.
Woodford employs a 4-3 and 4-4 look on defense.
The Dragons fell to Somerset five scores to zero Friday in their preseason scrimmage, but did see their defense cause five turnovers.
NOHS will take on Moore, a team they beat 56-13 in the first round of the playoffs last year.
NOHS coach Billy Martin said Moore has most of its players back from last season and look big across the line with speed at the skill spots.
Quarterback Ray Smith and receiver DaQuan Boyd are the top offensive threats.
The Mustangs lost four scores to two to Washington County in their preseason scrimmage.
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