1A Notebook 10/4 - Districts Review
Last week's results were true to what was expected. Our top four teams won in lopsided fashion. Game of the week was Pikeville versus Hazard and that outcome was true to our rankings with Pikeville winning a hard fought battle beind an outstanding performance by their QB Wyatt Battaille. The only other game to note was outside the top 10 with Bracken County coming from behind to beat Paris 43-41.
We are into district time so let's take a look at the 1A districts across the state.
District 1 – Crittenden County, Fulton City, Fulton County, Russellville
This district features current number one ranked Russellville. The only win the Fultons have to date is Fulton City defeating Fulton County so those two are not going to threaten Russellville. That leaves 3-4 Crittenden County as the only possible threat. Even though Crittenden County has won 2 of their last 3, they do not look like they are anywhere capable of upsetting Russellville. Expected finish: 1. Russellville 2. Crittenden County 3. Fulton City 4. Fulton County
District 2 –Bethlehem, Campbellsville, Caverna, Fort Knox
Similar to district one, this looks like a two team battle Caverna and Fort Knox are both winless. Campbellsville has struggled to a 2-5 record with one win over Fort Knox and the other over 1 win Green County. Bethlehem is 3-3 but has no quality wins. Campbellsville could pull the upset and win this district. Expected finish: 1. Bethlehem 2. Campbellsville 3. Caverna 4. Fort Knox
District 3 – Eminence, Frankfort, Holy Cross (Louisville), Kentucky Country Day
Here we have one of the most competitive districts in 1A. The team expected to finish fourth, Eminence, is 4-2 so this district is solid top to bottom. Frankfort was in the top 10 at the beginning of the year and started with a win over rival Paris but then lost 4 straight games, albeit against tough competition. Ky. Country Day is ranked #10 but they lost big to the two best teams they have faced. Holy Cross has played a very tough schedule and worked their way up to #8 in 1A, but they also have lost big to their two strongest opponents. On the other hand, Holy Cross has the two best quality wins in the district. This district could go a lot of different ways and it is truly up for grabs. The big question - can Frankfort repeat last year's upset win over KCD or even do the same to Holy Cross? Expected finish: 1. Holy Cross 2. Ky. Country Day 3. Frankfort 4. Eminence
District 4 – Beechwood, Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow
This district is down a little from the past few years. Bellevue especially has lost momentum in their program and has only 1 win to date. They seem to be playing better in their last three games though. Dayton fans had high hopes at the start of the year and are disappointed to be 2-4, although a win over rival Bellevue was a highlight for the Green Devils. Can they repeat that win in the rematch game which counts in the district standings? Ludlow is once again competitive but have not been able to win the close games against their toughest opponents. Beechwood had a lot of question marks coming into the year and is very young, but they have turned into just what you would expect from Beechwood sitting 4-1 and ranked #4. No one in the district looks like a serious threat to the Tigers. Expected finish: 1. Beechwood 2. Ludlow 3. Bellevue 4. Dayton
District 5 – Berea, Bishop Brossart, Bracken County, Nicholas County, Paris
In this five team district we already have a few district games played. This is another competitive district with four solid teams capable of beating the other on a given Friday night. Undefeated 1A #6 Nicholas County is the favorite and they already have two district wins. Next up for Nicholas County is last year's district champion Paris. Paris is 4-3 and has been so close to a couple other wins. They will need their best effort of the year to hang with Nicholas County this week - a must win game if the Greyhounds want to repeat as district champions. Bracken County staked their claim as a threat to win this district by coming from behind to defeat Paris last Friday night. This week they face Brossart, who lost a tough one to Nicholas County two weeks ago but bounced back with a nice win over Ludlow. A win by Bracken County this Friday will set the stage for a district title showdown versus Nicholas County. Expected finish: 1. Nicholas County 2. Bracken County 3. Brossart 4. Paris 5. Berea
District 6 – Fairview, Paintsville, Raceland
It doesn't get any tougher than this district. All three teams have been ranked in the top 10 with #2 Paintsville and #3 Raceland both 7-0. Fairview has been a bit of a surprise this season at 3-3 with two of those losses to #5 Pikeville and #7 Hazard. That makes it look like the district comes down to a battle royale between Paintsville and Raceland on October 21 at Raceland. Based on what has happened to this date, Raceland has played a very tough schedule and still is undfeated. The Rams look well positioned to avenge last year's losses to Paintsville. Expected finish: 1. Raceland 2. Paintsville 3. Fairview
District 7 – Harlan, Lynn Camp, Pineville, Williamsburg
This may be the most balanced and competitive four team district in 1A. Don't let the records fool you. The strength of schedules has to be factored in. For example, last year Lynn Camp was 4-3 entering district play and was not competitive in any district games. Lynn Camp is 6-1 entering district play this year but their SOS is the 3rd worst in 1A. The flip side of that is 2-4 Williamsburg who has played one of the toughest schedules in 1A, and may be the district favorite. Harlan has posted a 5-1 record but they also have the shadow of a weak SOS hanging over that record. Pineville (2-4) was one of the pre-season favorites in the district but have not lived up to expectations. They are another team that has lost a couple close games which would flip their record to 4-2 and have everyone looking at them a little differently. This district looks like one where SOS is more important than records when trying to make a prediction. 1. Williamsburg 2. Harlan 3. Lynn Camp 4. Pineville
District 8 – Hazard, Jenkins, Phelps, Pikeville, South Floyd
Our final district is another five team district but it doesn't look as competitive as district 5. Here we have a case of the haves and have nots. Ironically, Phelps has chosen not to play for the district title and in the playoffs but has 2 wins, including one over winless Jenkins. South Floyd is also winless. That brings us to Pikeville and Hazard - and that game has already been played with Pikeville getting the 29-21 win. That makes our job here very easy. Expected finish: 1. Pikeville 2. Hazard 3. Jenkins 4. South Floyd
Games of the Week
#8 Holy Cross (Louisville) at #10 Kentucky Country Day - Let's try this again. Both teams had a bye last week and I erroneously had this game listed in last week's notebook. This is a critical district battle with home field in the playoffs and a district title at stake. Frankfort will likely have something to say in this district but these two teams are the favorites. Kentucky Country Day's last win over Holy Cross was in 2012 and they are the underdog in this one despite having home field advantage. KCD came close last year and is looking to get over the hump and win this game this year.
Bracken County at Brossart - Bracken County got a huge come from behind 43-41 win over Paris last week. This week looks like the same kind of battle to the wire matchup. This is a must win for Brossart. They have already lost to Nicholas County so a loss here knocks them out of contention for the district title. A win by Bracken County sets up a district title, winner take all game against Nicholas County in 2 weeks.
Harlan at Williamsburg - These two teams have a contrast in scheduling style. Harlan's record is good but the schedule is weak. Williamsburg is the opposite. Last year Harlan got the win despite a similar schedule and record for both entering the game. On paper, despite the records, Williamsburg looks like the favorite and they have home field. Can Harlan do it two years in a row? The winner in this one will be heavily favored to win the district.