High School Basketball

The MVP of Kentucky high school sports? He’s got a ‘perfect’ case.

Covington Catholic's A. J. Mayer reacts after his touchdown run against Madison Southern in the Class 5A Russell Athletics KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, December 2, 2017.
Covington Catholic's A. J. Mayer reacts after his touchdown run against Madison Southern in the Class 5A Russell Athletics KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, December 2, 2017.

You could say AJ Mayer has had a great senior year at Covington Catholic High School, but you’d be selling him short.

Mayer, the quarterback of the school’s football team, guided the Colonels to the Class 5A finals, in which they defeated Madison Southern, 49-13, for their seventh state title.

Then, as a post player for the school’s basketball team, Mayer started and played key minutes for the Colonels as they blasted through the Sweet Sixteen bracket for their second state title.

The common denominator between both seasons? In games Mayer played, his team was perfect. CovCath’s football team went 15-0, often putting games out of reach before halftime. The basketball Colonels went 35-4, but Mayer missed 20 games after straining his MCL in a 71-61 win over Ballard on Dec. 21. Three of CovCath’s four losses came over the next eight days and all were without Mayer available; the 101st Sweet Sixteen champion was 19-0 with him in the lineup.

“I did not lose one game my senior year that I played in,” Mayer said with a laugh.

He was MVP of the Class 5A finals and finished 40th in state history with 7,602 career passing yards. This season he averaged 8.9 points and 4.4 rebounds for the basketball team.

Mayer(2)
CovCath's A.J. Mayer scored in traffic as Covington Catholic hosted Cooper on Wednesday January 18, 2017 in Park Hills, Ky. Mark Cornelison mcornelison@herald-leader.com

Mayer got to play both sports with his brother, Michael, too. The sophomore Mayer was a reserve for the basketball team but a star on the football field; UK, Louisville, Notre Dame, LSU and Michigan are among the programs that have offered the 6-foot-5 tight end.

“He’s such a great player,” AJ said of Michael. “He’s just like me. I always joke with everybody, ‘I taught him everything I know,’ except lifting, obviously; he’s twice my size.”

AJ in the fall signed to play football at Miami (Ohio), a Football Bowl Subdivision program in Oxford that plays in the Mid-American Conference. RedHawks Coach Chuck Martin didn’t express any caution toward Mayer playing basketball.

“Coach Martin, he played basketball and football in college, so he was like, ‘Enjoy it while you can because once you get here we want to start working on football only.’’ And I’m like, ‘Hey I’m good with that,’” AJ said. “Once I got my injury he said, ‘Hey, finish it out, you’re already halfway through the season,’ so that’s what I did.”

Would he encourage his brother to continue being a dual-sport athlete?

“We’ll see,” AJ said. “He’s obviously a freak. He’s gonna be a really good player whatever he does.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

  Comments