Highlands' pursuit of a seventh consecutive state football title is looking awfully familiar.
Last year the Bluebirds rolled by, in order, Boyd County, Ashland Blazer, Covington Catholic and Lexington Catholic to reach the Class 4A state finals, where they beat Collins.
So far this post-season, Highlands has rolled by, in order, Boyd County, Ashland Blazer and Covington Catholic. The Bluebirds visit Lexington Catholic in the semifinals Friday night. If they win, they could face Collins again in the title game.
"So far it's been just like last year. It's like groundhog day or something," Highlands Coach Dale Mueller said with a laugh. "We wouldn't mind it ending up the same way."
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Lexington Catholic, which lost to the Bluebirds in the semifinals the last two years, hopes to change things up.
Lexington Catholic Coach Bill Letton said his defense has to slow the Bluebirds' high-powered offense, which is averaging 52 points and 440 yards per game.
Drew Houliston has thrown for 3,292 yards and 44 touchdowns. Zach Harris has 1,300 yards and 27 TDs rushing and receiving. Jason Feggins and Alex Veneman have combined for 72 catches, 1,570 yards and 22 TDs.
"They put so much pressure on you, stretching the field horizontally and vertically, and they have guys at all positions that can make plays," Letton said. "That means your guys are going to be in the spotlight in one-on-one battles, and they've got to make the plays."
Mueller said Lexington Catholic will present the same kind of trouble for Highlands' defense. He singled out Knights' quarterback Reese Ryan, running back Marcelis Logan and receivers David Bouvier and Sam Letton.
Ryan, a junior who started against Highlands last year, has passed for 2,984 yards and 33 TDs.
David Bouvier, the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, has 70 catches for 988 yards and eight TDs this year. Sam Letton has 41 catches for 850 yards and 13 TDs. Marcelis Logan has 768 yards and 15 TDs rushing, and 369 yards and five TDs receiving.
In what figures to be a high-scoring game, Letton said "stops will be at a premium. We didn't get them (in a 61-28 loss) last year."
■ Scott County (13-0) at Male (12-1)
■ Butler (11-2) at Meade County (11-2)
■ Pulaski County (13-0) at Anderson County (11-2)
■ John Hardin (11-2) at Bowling Green (12-0)
■ Highlands (12-1) at Lexington Catholic (10-3)
■ Collins (11-2) at Owensboro (11-2)
■ Wayne County (13-0) at Paducah Tilghman (8-5)
■ Belfry (12-1) at Bourbon County (13-0)
■ Newport Central Catholic (9-4) at Somerset (8-4)
■ DeSales (12-1) at Murray (9-4)
■ Frankfort (11-2) at Mayfield (12-1)
■ Raceland (11-2) at Williamsburg (10-2)