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It is hard to believe but here we are at the final week of the regular season. District play wrapped up last week and the playoff matchups are set. We ended district play without one single tie for any seed. There were some key district battles last week and one big upset. In this week's 1A Notebook, we will take a look at those results in our district play epilogue. Then we will take a look ahead at how our top ten teams set their schedule and who they will be playing in their playoff prologue game.

District Epilogue

Which game should we start with? There was the District 6 face off between two top 5 ranked teams. We had last week's #2 ranked team facing a tougher than expected battle in District 3. And, there was the upset in District 1. Let's start there.

Crittenden County 22 Russellville 21 - How about those Rockets? Rockets fans had optimism when this season started. Then their team lost 2 of their first 3. That was followed by a win one, then lose one roller coaster that included a disappointing 74-70 shootout loss to 2 win Ballard Memorial. Heading into the district showdown versus Russellville, things did not look good for the 4-4 Rockets with the Panthers coming into the game at 6-2. Russellville was a 2 TD or more favorite to once again take the top seed in District 1. The Rockets jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead but Russellville responded to tie the game at 7. Crittenden County then scored again just before the first quarter ended to move ahead 14-7. Russellville came right back with a TD but they missed the extra point, leaving them trailing 14-13. Crittenden County found the end zone again just before halftime and added a 2 point conversion, making the score 22-13. From there the Rockets were able to hang on. The only second half score was a 67 yard TD run by Russellville's Javeron Robey in the 3rd quarter. The Panthers added a 2 point conversion making the score 22-21 Rockets. Neither team was able to score again and the Rockets had their upset win to get the top seed in District 1. Rockets RB Devon Nesbitt rushed 26 times for 132 yards and a TD and QB Hunter Boone threw for one TD and rushed for another. For the first time since 2008 the Rockets are the top seed from their district heading into the playoffs.

Paintsville 32 Raceland 18 - The big District 6 battle between top 5 ranked teams fizzled out a little. Paintsville came out strong and did not let up. By halftime the Tigers had a 26-0 lead and things looked bleak for the Rams. Then Paintsville added another score early in the second half to go up 32-0. What was expected to be a close battle was headed toward the Rams getting a running clock put on them. But the Rams finally found their footing and started to battle back. However, this mountain was too steep a climb and Raceland fell short, losing 32-18. The game was a little sloppy with plenty of turnovers and penalties. Neither team was able to mount much of a rushing attack. Don't be surprised if these two meet again in the playoffs regional final.

Kentucky Country Day 28 Frankfort 21 - District 3's top seed was on the line in this one. Ky. Country Day came into the game a clear favorite, ranked #2 in 1A with their only loss to one of the top teams in the state. Frankfort had some momentum of their own with a 3 game winning streak, including a big win over Louisville Holy Cross the previous week. Neither team could get on the board in the 1st quarter. That changed dramatically in the 2nd quarter with the KCD Bearcats scoring twice to go up 13-0. Frankfort finally put a crooked number on the scoreboard to get the margin down to 13-7, but KCD QB Jackson Diaz threw his 3rd TD pass of the quarter to make it 20-7 at halftime. In the 3rd quarter Frankfort again scored to make it a one score spread. Country Day responded with a TD and 2 point conversion early in the fourth quarter to get some breathing room at 28-14. Frankfort wasn't done. Da'Juan Davis returned a punt for a score late in the fourth quarter to once again get within one score at 28-21. But the Panthers last drive ended in a turnover and the Bearcats fought off the threat for the win.

Williamsburg 40 Lynn Camp 32 - Lynn Camp has quietly put together a nice season. They entered this battle for the top seed in District 7 with a 6-2 record and confident they could pull the upset over a ranked Williamsburg team. Williamsburg jumped out to a 7-0 lead but Lynn Camp wasted no time responding as Dalton Cook scored on a 72 yard TD run, making it 7-6 as they failed on the 2 point try. The Yellowjackets were not shaken by the long run and scored to take the lead up to 14-6. Lynn Camp would not be intimidated. They came back with 2 TD's to go into halftime with a 18-14 lead. Then the Wildcats added another TD in the 3rd quarter to lead 24-14 and the Yellowjackets faithful started to wonder. Their doubts were put to rest as it was all Yellowjackets from that point on, scoring 4 straight TD's and taking a commanding 40-24 lead. Lynn Camp kept fighting, scoring a late TD and 2 pointer to get us to the final score of 40-32. That was likely more of a challenge than Williamsburg expected. The Wildcats showed they are team you better come prepared for and they are in position for a win in round one of the playoffs.

The rest of the 1A top ten all cruised to easy wins:

Beechwood 63 Dayton 6
Hazard 33 2A Leslie County 0
Paris 55 2A Carroll County 21
Ludlow 42 Bellevue 12
Pikeville 41 Grundy VA 13

Playoff Prologue

There has been discussion on BGP this week in various threads about how teams approach the final week of the season. Should you play a tough opponent, a weaker opponent or just use your bye? As we look at this week's schedule for our top 10, let's consider who they play and speculate why they scheduled that opponent.

#1. Beechwood vs. 2A #10 Newport Central Catholic - Beechwood is clearly scheduling tough. This is a traditional rivalry built during the years when the Tigers and Thoroughbreds were in the same class and district battling for titles. For Beechwood, it makes sense for them to schedule tough. They have not lost a district game in the 6 class era and the first two rounds of the playoffs have not been challenging either. This game helps the Tigers stay sharp and prepare for the tough games later in the playoffs.

2. Paintsville at 3A #9 Fleming County - The new #2 Paintsville Tigers have scheduled a challenge of their own for their last game of the regular season. Unlike Beechwood, Paintsville is playing in a tough district and their early round playoff opponents are usually solid teams. That makes it interesting that Paintsville chose to schedule tough this week.

3. Kentucky Country Day vs. 3A Waggener - We have a theme. Kentucky Country Day also has scheduled a tough opponent. Don't let Waggener's record fool you. They have played one of the strongest schedules in 3A and are just as tough an opponent as Fleming County. They have some super talent on their team and will be a real challenge for the Bearcats. But, if you want to get ready for a possible playoff match against Beechwood and be prepared to win, this is how you schedule.

4. Hazard at 5A Whitley County - We are starting to repeat ourselves. Hazard coach Mark Dixon knows how to get a team ready for a state title run. He has the Bulldogs scheduling tough and facing a top 15 quality 5A team. This game will help Hazard uncover weaknesses and get them fixed before they might cost them a game in the playoffs.

5. Raceland at 3A Russell - Raceland always puts together a challenging schedule. What better way to test your team than to face not only a tough opponent, but a rival. Russell has been coming on late with a 3 game winning streak and a key district win last week over then 6-2 Bath County. This will be another test for the Rams.

6. Paris vs. #7 Ludlow
7. Ludlow at #6 Paris - This is an interesting way to finish the regular season. These two teams are on similar paths. Both have improved significantly over last season's record. Ludlow is the story of the year to date in 1A as they were the last undefeated team to lose in the class and have climbed up to #7 in the rankings. This is our 1A Game of the Week. You can read more here: 1A Game of the Week:1A #6 Paris vs. 1A #7 Ludlow

8. Pikeville at Tolsia (Fort Gay) WV - Pikeville has had an interesting and challenging season. Key players being counted on were lost for injuries and other reasons. The Panthers had a tough time getting a schedule together and even traveled across the length of the state to face Calloway County. This game is one we call scheduling light. Pikeville is a 4 TD favorite to win. With everything else Pikeville has faced this year and the tough schedule they have played, this game will be a good confidence booster for the Panthers heading into the playoffs.

9. Williamsburg at 2A Middlesboro - This one is hard to read from a scheduling point of view. Perhaps someone else can share some thoughts. Middleboro has 2 wins so they are not a tough opponent. I don't believe there is a rivalry of any sort and it is a 1 hour drive so travel convenience is not a factor. This falls into the scheduling light category. Williamsburg is a clear favorite.

10. Frankfort vs. 2A Owen County - Our final top ten team is facing a solid opponent. This game should be a challenge for Frankfort as Owen County stands at 6-3. But, it is a game that Frankfort is favored to win by a couple TD's. Put this one in the just tough enough category.

Summary

It has been a very interesting season in 1A and there are some tough games on tap for the top 10 this week. There were some surprising upside stories in Paris and Ludlow. There were some twists an turns and upsets. There may be a few more of those this week. Next week the focus will be on the playoffs.