The opening week of games in 1A laid the groundwork for the season to come. The top ranked teams successfully took on larger class opponents and set the stage for tougher games this week. There no upsets as the top 8 teams all either posted wins or had an open week. The action this week was in spots 9, 10 and 11. All three of those teams took losses but #10 Paris and #11 Louisville Holy Cross has strong showings against solid 4A opposition. On the other hand, #9 Frankfort had a serious stumble against 3A Thomas Nelson who only won 3 games in 2017. Those results shook up the lower part of the top ten. Let's take a quick look at the ranked teams and their results in week zero.
Opening Week Recap
1. Beechwood - The Tigers had an open week, but they certainly did not take the week off. They hosted the 3 time repeat 4A state finalist Johnson Central Golden Eagles in a one half scrimmage. The Tigers showed their number 1 ranking is deserved as they held their own with big powerful Johnson Central. The Tigers hope that tough opponent got them ready because this week Beechwood plays one for real when the 2A #8 ranked Lloyd Juggernauts (I love that team name) travel to Ft. Mitchell.
2. Pikeville - The Pikeville Panthers eased their way into 2018 with a cruise through 2A Covington Holy Cross. The Panthers led 28-0 after the first quarter and shortly thereafter got to 36-0 for a running clock. With their work done, Pikeville's first team turned the rest of the game over to their reserves and they continued to control the game for a 46-0 win. Like Beechwood, Pikeville hosts a ranked 2A opponent this week with #10 Lexington Christian traveling to town for the Pike County Bowl.
3. Raceland Rams - The Rams began their mission for a return trip to Lexington with a road trip to 3A Lawrence County. It wasn't easy as Raceland trudged their way to a 7-6 halftime lead. Coach Salmons came up with the right words and plan in the second half though with the Rams taking control of the game on the way to a 31-12 opening night victory. Raceland one ups Beechwood and Pikeville on the tough opponent this week. The Rams go on the road for a second straight week. This trip is to face perhaps their biggest rival Ashland who is currently the #3 team in 4A. That should be one heck of a game.
4. Hazard - The Bulldogs had an open week as well in week zero. In their “off” week all they did is scrimmage the Belfry Pirates. A scrimmage against an like that will quickly show you where your weaknesses are. I expect the Bulldogs to be fired up and ready to go for their opening game when they take the field this Friday at 5A Harlan County.
5. Paintsville – Paintsville barely broke a sweat as they downed 3A Estill County 58-0. QB Jake Hyden was an efficient 4-4, with 3 of the completions going for TD’s, and 141 yards. Josh McClurg rushed for 109 yards on 6 carries in his first game for the Tigers. On the defensive side, Paintsville only allowed 60 total yards in posting the shutout. It might be an even wider margin of victory this week when Harlan travels to Paintsville.
6. Campbellsville – The Eagles opened their 2018 season with an impressive 36-2 win over 2A Metcalfe County. QB Arren Hash went 7-9 for 197 yards and 3 TD’s. WR Malachi Corley was on the other end of 3 of those completions and 2 TD’s in his 135 receiving yards. That combo is going to be one of the top QB/WR combos in 1A this year. This is no time to get complacent though because they host 3A #7 Casey County this Friday.
7. Crittenden County – The Rockets blew up Stewart County TN 42-6 in their season opener. QB Hunter Boone had a 12-15 night going for 181 passing yards and two TD’s. RB Devon Nesbitt had 5 carries for 109 yards and 2 TD’s to go along with 2 receptions for 30 yards. The top returning WR in 1A Ethan Dossett caught 4 passes for 49 yards and 1 TD. Crittenden County can savor that opening win for an extra week as they are open this week.
8. Williamsburg – Perhaps the biggest question coming into this season for the Yellowjackets was finding a replacement at QB. Dalton Ponder is the chosen successor and he put on a show in his first game going 13-22, 255 yards and 4 TD’s. Ponder also rushed for 51 yards on 7 carries. That is a great start in game one and gives a boost to Williamsburg’s potential to go very deep in the playoffs. Ponder will need to be even sharper this week when the Yellowjackets face 2A #7 Somerset. Two great team nicknames facing each other here with the Yellowjackets facing the Briar Jumpers.
9. Frankfort – The big surprise this week in 1A was the Frankfort Panthers taking one on the chin from lightly regarded 3A Thomas Nelson. Some key turnovers A 15-13 loss dropped Frankfort out of the 1A top ten. Frankfort needs to get their running game going if they want to win their district and get deep in the playoffs. They were only able to muster 71 yards on 21 carries this past week. The Panthers will have a chance to get on track this week when they play 2A Owen County.
10. Paris – Last week’s #10 team also took a loss, but they faced a much stronger opponent in 4A Rockcastle County. The Greyhounds’ dynamic duo of RB Matthew Barber and RB Adam Renfro led a strong rushing attack but Rockcastle County pounded the ball right back at Paris to grind out a 40-30 win. The performance was strong enough for Paris to hold their slot in our rankings, and actually move up one space with Frankfort’s move down. Paris is open this week.
11. Louisville Holy Cross – There were question marks about Holy Cross but they stepped up with a near upset win over 4A Shelby County. Returning starting QB Jaren McDonald had an excellent opening game both passing and running but it wasn’t enough. Still this game showed us that Holy Cross’ upper classman dominated team has the experience and talent to compete. They should get their first win Friday at 4A Valley.
Looking Ahead to Friday
The 1A top ten will face some serious threats this week. Four of the top six face ranked teams from higher classes. Here are the top games this weekend: