RYLE FACES THE HENRY CLAY WALL

By: Gary Ball
By: Gary Ball

Henry Clay has put it together as a football team toward the end of regular season play which is when it counts. Coach Sam Simpson has the Blue Devil sights set on another playoff run for 2008. Ryle is their opponent on Friday and they are a good team out of the traditionally rich Northern Kentucky area. Henry Clay rides a five game winning streak into week one of the 6-A playoffs.

Henry Clay has put it together as a football team toward the end of regular season play which is when it counts. Coach Sam Simpson has the Blue Devil sights set on another playoff run for 2008. Ryle is their opponent on Friday and they are a good team out of the traditionally rich Northern Kentucky area. Henry Clay rides a five game winning streak into week one of the 6-A playoffs. They knocked off third ranked Boone County along the way with a great defensive effort.

Speaking of defense, Henry Clay is led by an individual with a a three year defensive starter name that is familiar to the U.K. football faithful. Senior Linebacker Mike Federspiel is a three year defensive starter and is the son of U.K. great, Joe Federspiel. Mike has led the defense in tackles each season, and even better he is an honor roll student in the classroom. Federspiel and the defense held a good Boone County offense scoreless through three and a half quarters, until the Rebels finally scored with two minutes left in the game. Tyrelle Johnson has moved to the D-line and is also having an impact along with Jon Baker, Ryan McCray, and Aaron Akidil. The defense is known as “The Wall” and it has not come tumbling down so to speak, in the recent winning streak for the Blue Devils.

It is also no coincidence that Tyler Hooker’s return from a hip flexor injury has impacted the success of the team. Hooker came back in the Clark County game and scored three times in the second half for a big upset over the Cardinals. Henry Clay quarterback Cole Mielcarek is a well rounded student athlete and distinguishes himself in the classroom as a National Honor Society student with a 3.9 GPA. Jason Rider and Brandon Johnson give Mielcarek some great targets to throw to, resulting in the chains moving up the field towards the Henry Clay end zone. The offensive line is anchored by an outstanding center Samuel Simpson. Samuel has recently committed to U.K. to continue his football career.

Ryle is coached by former Boone County linebacker Bryson Warner. In a recent conversation Warner told me that this season is the most fun he has had coaching due to the outstanding group of players he has this year. The Raiders are lead by Conner Hempel a sophomore quarterback, along with running back Keifer Eubank. Josh Lamping and Logan Carney anchor the Raider defense. Ryle is optimistic and expects to be in this game until the last down is played. It should be noted that they are the lone Kentucky team so far this year to have a close game with Highlands.

Henry Clay plays Ryle tonight at Henry Clay’s Jake Bell Stadium. The game time is 7:30p.m. Listen to the game on WVLK FM 101.5 with Dougie Allen and me.

And also for all of the high school sports action and highlights don’t forget to watch the SCHOLASTIC BALL REPORT on Saturday at 11:30a.m., on WKYT- CHANELL 27.
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