Bob Sphire has Highlands High School off to a 2-0 start to begin year

Highlands quarterback Charlie Noon attempts a pass during the seven-on-seven practice with Anderson, Madeira, Highlands and Trotwood high schools at Anderson High School July 27, 2021.

When Bob Sphire arrived at Highlands High School in the spring, he saw a football program that needed a boost of confidence, and a quarterback that had potential but not polish.

Two games into his tenure as head football coach in Fort Thomas, Sphire has directed the Bluebirds to a 2-0 start with wins over reigning 5A state champion Bowling Green (21-18) and Simon Kenton (53-38).

Highlands junior quarterback Charlie Noon. Sept. 1, 2021.

The upset of Bowling Green drew notice as the Purples are a perennial heavyweight. The Bluebirds won that game with clutch plays and timely defense.

The SK game was won via an offensive shootout, with both teams racking up more than 600 yards offense.

Leading the way for Highlands in that game was junior quarterback Charlie Noon, who threw for 394 yards and rushed for 194. It was his season debut after missing the Bowling Green game. Brody Benke threw for two touchdowns against BG.

Noon showed promise last season as the starting QB, throwing for 926 yards and nine scores, and rushing for 1,089 yards and 10 TDs. He completed 50 percent of his passes and threw six interceptions.

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Highlands head football coach Bob Sphire talks to his team after the game, as Highlands defeated Simon Kenton 53-38 at SK Aug. 27, 2021.

When Sphire met Noon, he could see a lot of things for him to work on.

“I saw a ton of talent,” Sphire said. “He needed a lot of polishing. He was very erratic. He really didn’t have a lot of understanding of passing game concepts. A lot of nuances he didn’t have yet and he didn’t understand coverages. We knew we had a great athlete, and he’s very coachable. He’s going to keep getting better.”

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