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Friday, November 12, 2010

Mace pulls out the stops

Raiders LB set to add to record tackle total

By Marc Hardin • Enquirer contributor • November 11, 2010

Senior linebacker Court Mace's career tackling record at Ryle is so nice he has enjoyed it twice.
Mace, the youngest of four football-playing brothers who have passed through Ryle, broke Mark Gray's Raiders record of 393 tackles Oct. 22 at Boone County.
"Somebody told me in the locker room after the game that I broke the record," Mace said. "But they wanted to honor me at home. So when I made my first tackle in the next game, against Highlands, they announced it. It brought a smile to my face."
Mace, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound dynamo, zoomed past the 400-tackle milestone that night and the Raiders went on to defeat the Bluebirds and snap their 37-game winning streak.
Mace, Ryle's defensive captain, has 416 career tackles and is approaching 140 this season, with 100 solo. The Raiders (10-1), ranked No. 1 in the Enquirer Northern Kentucky coaches' poll, will play ninth-ranked Campbell County (6-5) at 7:30 p.m. today in a Class 6A second-round playoff game in Union.
"He's going to be real important to us," Ryle coach Bryson Warner said of Mace. "Campbell County has a good group of receivers who can catch the football and run with it, so we have to tackle. Our game plan on defense Friday is to make tackles."
Gray is now the defensive ends coach at Ryle.
"I played with Court's older brother, Steve Mace, and I've known Court a lot of years," Gray said. "I would not want anybody other than Court to break my record because I know how hard he and his brothers work."
Sean Mace and Troy Mace also played at Ryle.
When Court reached the Ryle varsity, he had no idea how to play linebacker. In stepped Steve Mace.
"Steve taught me how to play that position," Court said. "I was a quarterback and running back before high school."
While describing his inside linebacker's key abilities, Warner likens Court Mace to a running back.
"He's so elusive and a very hard guy to block," Warner said. "His ability to evade blockers and get to the runner is a big key on our defense. Plus, he helps our offense. The best thing for our offense is going up against Court Mace in practice everyday."
Limiting the effectiveness of quarterback Michael Kremer, who has passed for 2,564 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, is a key to stopping Campbell County on offense.
The Camels nearly knocked off the Raiders before losing 35-30 in the regular season, on Oct. 1 at Ryle.
Warner said Mace's ability to get past the first line of blockers to pressure the quarterback, his ability to shed blockers and stop the run and his skills to drop back in coverage to defend against the pass make the linebacker a triple-threat against the Camels.
"He's such a great athlete with speed and quickness, with really quick feet," Warner said of Mace, who finished fifth at last season's state wrestling tournament at 160 pounds. He's expected to be a state championship contender this season in a heavier weight class.
"Wrestling is a lot of fun," Mace said. "But I don't expect to report until after we win the state championship in football


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