Simon Kenton's emergence as a state football power can be summed up simply:
Miles for miles.
Over the past two seasons Miles Simpson has rushed for 2.5 miles (4,435 yards) and scored 82 touchdowns while leading the Pioneers to heights they never before experienced.
Simon Kenton finished strong last year, winning seven games in a row to reach the Class 6A finals before getting trounced by Trinity 48-0.
The Pioneers are 11-1 this season (the only loss was to Henry Clay) and rated fourth in the state. They visit No. 1 St. Xavier in the third round of the playoffs Friday night.
Simpson is one of the top college prospects in the state.Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, Troy and Western Kentucky have offered scholarships.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior is considered the best running back in Northern Kentucky since Shaun Alexander was starring at Boone County and winning Mr. Football honors in the mid-1990s.
Told of that comparison, Simpson deflects the praise.
"I don't like comparing myself to anybody besides my dad," he said, noting his father, David Simpson, was a "pretty good running back" at Newport.
Simon Kenton Coach Jeff Marksberry said Simpson's modesty is for real.
"Miles doesn't care if his name is in lights, or if he gets any awards," Marksberry said. "It all goes back to his unselfishness and personality, which is to put the team first and treat everybody with respect.
"On the field, he has a swagger, but off the field he's just like any 17-year-old kid who likes video games, talking to girls and having fun.
"His life isn't all about football. His life is about life."
Simpson rarely watches college or NFL football on television. He even suggests he'd rather be otherwise occupied than making college visits on football Saturdays.
"I get enough football during the week," he said. "If I have down time, I'd rather be outside doing stuff, playing other sports or just being with friends."
On Friday nights, though, Simpson is all football.
After being slowed by an injury early this season, he's been on a tear. He rushed for more than 200 yards in each of Simon Kenton's five district games, and he's almost matched last year's prodigious production.
He's run for 2,126 yards and scored 41 TDs, compared with last fall, when he rushed for 2,309 yards and had 41 scores.
Simpson's running style?
"Whatever it has to be," Marksberry said. "If he has to run over you, he'll lower his shoulder and run over you.
"If he has to give you a move, he's got a head fake, hip fake or limp leg, and he'll make you miss.
"If he has to run by you, he will. I'm not sure how fast he is — maybe 4.5 — but I do know he's never been caught."
Simpson, who has also played some safety since his sophomore season, is a threat on defense, too.
"He's a talented kid," Marksberry said. "I'm happy to see him get the ball in his hands any time, even if it's on an interception, he can take it for a TD."
High school playoffs
Friday’s third round
Crittenden Co. (10-2) at Mayfield (11-1), 7:30
Bellevue (9-3) at Beechwood (8-4), 7:30
Raceland (8-4) at Lex. Christian (11-1), 7:30
Harlan (7-5) at Hazard (8-4), 7:30
Fort Campbell (12-0) at Murray (12-0), 7:30
Monroe Co. (9-3) at Green Co. (8-3), 7
DeSales (9-3) vs. Newport Central Catholic (7-5) at Southern, 7:30
Corbin (10-2) at Prestonsburg (12-0), 7:30
Paducah Tilghman (6-6) at Russellville (7-4), 7
Henry Co. (10-2) at Central (7-5), 7:30
Breathitt Co. (7-5) at Somerset (12-0), 7:30
Sheldon Clark (8-4) at Pike Co. Central (7-5), 7:30
Allen Co.-Scottsville (11-0) at Lone Oak (11-0), 7:30
Marion Co. (10-2) at Western (7-5), 7:30
Lexington Catholic (8-4) at Boyle Co. (12-0), 7:30
Lawrence Co. (12-0) at Bell Co. (11-1), 7:30
Bowling Green (10-2) at Christian Co. (8-4), 7
Oldham Co. (8-4) at John Hardin (12-0), 7:30
Johnson Central (8-4) at Highlands (12-0), 7:30
Letcher Co. Central (10-2) at Pulaski Co. (9-3), 7:30
Greenwood (9-3) at Henderson Co. (9-3), 7:30
Simon Kenton (11-1) at St. Xavier (11-1), 7:30
Male (10-2) at Trinity (8-4), 7:30
Henry Clay (10-2) at Scott Co. (9-3), 7:30