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The 1A rankings seem to tighten up every week. This past week was another edition. We had three big games that involved four of the top ten. The game of the week was Hazard versus Paintsville. If anyone was looking for more rankings jumbling, then it did not disappoint. The Hazard Bulldogs sprung a big surprise on the Tigers with a 23-14 win. That game was so Hazard. Just when people think they aren’t quite with the top level teams, the Bulldogs leap up and bite you. That game shook up the rankings.

There were two other big games in 1A. The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds kicked their neighborhood rival Newport down a couple notches with a 37-6 win. That score is a real fooler. We’ll talk more about that in a second. The other big game saw 2A #3 Lexington Christian Academy swooping in and blowing away Williamsburg 55-21. It has been a tough two weeks for the Yellow Jackets defense giving up almost 100 points in losses to Somerset and Lexington Christian.

The rest of the top 10 featured winners except for Crittenden County. The Rockets, like Williamsburg, took it on the chin for the second straight week. This week’s loss was a bit disappointing as 3A Union County entered the game at 2-3 and proceeded to pick up their third win of the season. Let’s see if the details shed any light on the games from last week.

Last Week

1. Pikeville – There was no lag from the euphoria of the Belfry win for the Panthers. Pikeville traveled to 3A Lawrence County and came home with a 49-26 win. So. QB Isaac McNamee had his best game as a starter going 12/14 for 197 yards and 4 touchdowns. Pikeville only needed 24 offensive plays to rack up their 49 points.

2. Paintsville – Paintsville had a great run going. They only had one loss on the year and some would say that loss was their most impressive game of the year when they almost upset #1 Pikeville, losing by a scant 9-8. With that resume, the Tigers had risen to #2 in the rankings and was a clear favorite over #7 Hazard. But the Hazard Bulldogs have been to that party before. Paintsville was missing starting QB Jake Hyden but they seemed to be just fine without him when they took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Hazard bounced right back to take the lead at 10-7. Then the play of the game happened when Hazard’s Mason Collins had a 70 yard pick six to give Hazard a 17-7 first half lead that they never relinquished. Paintsville got it to 17-14 in the third quarter but Hazard finished things off with a fourth quarter score that set the final at 23-14. Reece Fletcher was the main man for Hazard carrying the ball 24 times for 114 yards and a touchdown, plus a 33 yard touchdown reception. Fletcher also led the Bulldogs defense with 12 tackles.

3. Raceland – The Rams cruised to a 56-15 win over Portsmouth West (OH). Sr. WR Gunnur Lewis put on another show for Raceland. Lewis caught 3 passes in the game and turned all three of them into touchdowns totaling 159 receiving yards. RB Ethan Cox carried the ball one time and scored from 70 yards out.

4. Williamsburg – It is back to the drawing board for the Williamsburg defense. They followed a 41-13 loss to 2A #1 Somerset with a 55-21 runaway loss to 2A #3 Lexington Christian Academy. One of the problems in this most recent loss was 3 interceptions by LCA. The Yellow Jackets get a much needed week off here to retool the defense for district play and the playoffs.

5. Newport Central Catholic – Newport Central Catholic was battle tested already as they prepared for their crosstown rival match against Newport. The same was not true for their opponent. This would be 2A #10 Newport’s first big test of the year. A look at just the score would lead you to believe this was not much of a contest. That belief would be very wrong. Newport drove inside the 5 yard line two times in the first half but the Thoroughbreds defense got the stops on downs. That made a first half New Cath touchdown stand up for a 7-0 halftime lead. The Breds added a field goal, only to see Newport march down field again and cash in this time to make it a 10-7. New Cath responded with an early fourth quarter touchdown to again extend the lead to 10 points at 17-7. From that point on, Newport got desperate, mistakes mounted and the Thoroughbreds took advantage scoring 3 more touchdowns in the last 9 minutes. That is how a hard fought 10-7 fourth quarter score becomes a 37-6 final. A good win for Newport Catholic that makes their win streak 3 games and builds momentum into district play.

6. Campbellsville – Malachi Corley returned this week to see some action but it was still the Reggie Thomas show. Thomas had 6 carries for 137 yards to lead a slew of Campbellsville rushers. QB Arren Hash only threw 3 passes but made the most of them going 3-3 for 3 touchdowns.

7. Hazard – See above.

8. Kentucky Country Day – The quietly undefeated Bearcats were held below 41 points for the first time since week 1. 6A Southern is now 3-3 so they were capable. Southern jumped on top after a KCD fumble but it was all Bearcats after that. Final score 27-7 to keep KCD undefeated.

9. Crittenden County – The Rockets season took a step back at Union County with a 14-0 loss. QB Hunter Jones had a nightmarish night going 9/24 and throwing 4 interceptions. This loss knocked Crittenden County out of the top 10.

10. Louisville Holy Cross – The Cougars were more than happy to move up the ranks on the heels of that Crittenden County loss. The Cougars took their record to 5-1 with a 29-15 win over Providence IN.

Friday Night Lineup

The coming week is a quiet one in 1A as more than half the top 10 use their open week and start gearing up for district play. Despite that light calendar there are two top games to be played.
Raceland has overcome quarterback injury problems to work their way to the #2 spot in 1A. The challenge this week though looms large. Not only is it rival Ashland, it is an Ashland team that is also ranked high in their class, sitting at #3 in 3A. This game will be a tall order for the Rams.
An even taller order awaits #3 Hazard. 2A #1 Somerset has not slowed down since opening night and is putting together one of the most impressive seasons in the state. Could we see another Bulldog moment in this game? I doubt it, but it has happened before.

1. Pikeville --- OPEN
2. Raceland at 3A #3 Ashland
3. Hazard vs. 2A #1 Somerset
4. Newport Central Catholic --- OPEN
5. Paintsville at Union (VA)
6. Campbellsville at 2A Metcalfe County (10/3)
7. Williamsburg --- OPEN
8. Kentucky Country Day --- OPEN
9. Louisville Holy Cross --- OPEN
10. Bethlehem --- OPEN