Aces look to build momentum in City-County tilt

Aug. 25—Owensboro Catholic High School came storming out of the gate for a season-opening City-County victory against Apollo last week, and the Aces have a chance to make another statement Friday night when they travel to face cross-town foe Daviess County at Reid Stadium.

Led by junior quarterback Brady Atwell's 328-yard, five-touchdown passing performance, in addition to a rushing score, Catholic began the campaign with a 42-6 home win over the Eagles. The Aces have an opportunity to build on that early momentum with a win Friday, which would give them a 2-0 start for the first time since 2020.

For Catholic fans, a quick start would be a welcomed sight.

In 2021, the Aces dropped their first five games — against some pretty stout opponents, mind you — but regrouped to win their next seven outings before falling to Lexington Christian in the KHSAA Class 2-A playoff quarterfinals. Catholic coach Jason Morris built a challenging early schedule that he knew would make his team better, and it paid off in the second half of the year.

Last season, Catholic opened with a win over Apollo but then surrendered successive losses to Daviess County and Union County, bounced back for a victory over Owensboro and then fell to a talented Christian Academy-Louisville squad. Similarly to the year before, the Aces then won six straight contests and reached the KHSAA Class 2-A quarterfinals before dropping a narrow 33-27 decision to Lexington Christian.

Catholic has shown a tremendous ability to not only overcome adversity in recent years but also learn from its mistakes and shortcomings — and there's no reason to think 2023 won't be a continuation of that effort.

To accomplish that task, however, the Aces have to keep their focus on Friday's matchup against DC. After all, the Panthers have won two straight and three out of the last four games in the series. And, no doubt, they have their sights set on disrupting Catholic's early-season plans.

In the weeks leading up to the start of the new year, the Aces received attention as one of the top teams in 2-A — and for good reason. With Atwell back, along with the internal development of players like Tut Carrico, Vince Carrico, Kaiser Frick, Noah Rhinerson and others, and the Aces sport enough weapons to serve as a threat to teams statewide.

Along the way, Catholic is also looking for perfection against its City-County rivals. In 2022, the Aces, Daviess County and Owensboro all finished 2-1 against their in-town opponents. DC beat Catholic, the Aces edged Owensboro, and OHS topped the Panthers — call it a City-County Carousel. This time, though, the Aces don't want to share any of the glory with their competitors.

Now looking to establish dominance in the new-look Class 2-A, District 2 against Todd County Central, Edmonson County and Fort Campbell, Catholic will play one less district contest and, instead, can schedule another high-quality out-of-ares opponent to get prepared for the postseason. If nothing else, a 2-0 start is the first step toward crossing off some of the Aces' season-long goals.

As always, though, it's much simpler said than done. DC, looking to climb into the win column after a season-opening loss at Warren East, isn't going to give up anything easy. Records, rosters, past results — it can all be thrown out the window when it comes to City-County rivalries.

For the Aces, they're hoping to keep the momentum going.