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Last week we set the stage and had final casting calls completed. This week will be dress rehearsal as teams get ready for showtime – the playoffs. One more week of regular season action. Most of the 1A top ten will be facing larger class opponents as they prepare for the games that will end seasons. Here is how the final casting went last week.

In the role of District 6 #1 seed …

The Paintsville Tigers. Game of the week in 1A lived up to its billing. It turned into a defensive slugfest. Paintsville made a second quarter 10 yard touchdown pass from Jake Hyden to Karsten Poe stand up for a 6-0 win at Raceland. Both teams had great defensive plays in goal line defense situations to keep their opponent from scoring. Neither team’s quarterback was able to complete 50% of their passes in the game and no rusher or receiver gained 100 yards. Paintsville held Raceland to 178 total yards in the game in the shutout win. The big district win gave Paintsville the #1 seed and home field advantage in the playoffs.

In the role of District 7 #1 seed …

The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets. Williamsburg again established their position as the top team in District 7 with a resounding thumping of the previously undefeated Lynn Camp Wildcats. The Yellow Jackets offense was buzzing as they put up 72 points in the 72-44 win. QB Dalton Ponder threw for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough Ponder also rushed for 137 yards. Lynn Camp scored first and maintained a lead into the second quarter with the teams scoring at will and trading touchdowns. Lynn Camp led 20-13 early in the second quarter. That is when Williamsburg’s onside kickoff strategy turned the tide. Williamsburg scored a touchdown and then recovered an onsides kick. Williamsburg kicked onsides kicks after each of their next touchdowns and recovered three in a row. Lynn Camp coach Allen Harris had his team ready for the onsides kicks having practiced it during the week and had his hands team on the field. In spite of the preparation, execution did not happen in the game for Lynn Camp. The onsides kick recoveries built up a 40-20 lead for Williamsburg and Lynn Camp was never able to catch up. Williamsburg gets the #1 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs in two weeks.

In the role of District 3 #1 seed …

The Frankfort Panthers. Frankfort put an exclamation mark on Kentucky Country Day in taking the #1 seed by a score of 41-15. The star of the game for Frankfort was DaJuan Davis with 259 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Davis also racked up 19 tackles on defense as the Panthers held the Bearcats to less than 200 yards offense. What a night for Davis! Frankfort claims their first district title in four years and the #1 seed in the playoffs with the win.

In the role of District 1 #1 seed …

The Crittenden County Rockets. The Rockets got more of a battle than most expected in their title game showdown with Russellville. The game was played in poor conditions with heavy rain and the weather grew worse as the game went on. That limited the passing game and forced the Rockets to ground their high flying passing attack. With the bad weather turning the Rockets to their running game, the Rockets got an early Halloween scare when star Sr. RB Devon Nesbitt left the game with an ankle injury. That opened the door and gave us a glimpse of next year’s star RB for the Rockets, Sophomore Xander Tabor. Tabor took advantage of the playing time to rush for 172 yards on 26 carries and lead Crittenden County to a repeat district title over Russellville.

Playoff Cast is Set

The other four districts already had their district titles settled. However, there were a couple of other notable games that decided the #2 district seed and impacted the playoff brackets. In District 4, Ludlow made it clear they are the #2 team with a convincing 36-13 win over Bellevue. In District 5, Nicholas County squeezed by Bracken County 26-20 to earn the #2 seed.

Those games along with the title contests listed above set the playoff brackets in 1A. Next week look for the 1A Playoff Preview that will break down the bracket and matchups all the way to the title game.

Friday’s Lineup

This is where the Dress Rehearsal comes into play. It is always interesting to see how teams schedule the last regular season game prior to the playoffs. The majority of the teams in the 1A top ten have chosen to put a challenge on the schedule that will push their team to fine tune things for the must win games. Beechwood has their traditional rival Newport Central Catholic lined up. This game has not been as stiff a challenge in recent years for the Tigers but the Thoroughbreds are a quality opponent and ranked #7 in 2A. Pikeville is taking a different track and should have no problem with Tolsia WV. Paintsville will take the week off. Thus the top three all have a different path planned for their playoff dress rehearsal week. Raceland will have a tough opponent in 3A Russell and will look to bounce back and gain playoff momentum. The rest of the top ten will get ready for their playoff games by taking on larger class opponents except Frankfort, who will go against Phelps. Here is the schedule for the top ten:

1. Beechwood at 2A #7 Newport Central Catholic
2. Pikeville vs. Tolsia WV
3. Paintsville -- OPEN
4. Raceland vs. 3A Russell
5. Hazard vs. 5A Whitley County
6. Campbellsville at 3A LaRue County
7. Crittenden County vs. 4A Hopkins County Central
8. Williamsburg vs. 2A Middlesboro
9. Frankfort vs. Phelps
10. Lynn Camp at 3A McCreary Central