1A Notebook 8/29 - Contenders?
The consensus in class 1A early from the preseason and up to last Friday was this class was all about the Beechwood Tigers. The two time defending champions are loaded and senior dominated this year. That led a clear majority, perhaps more, to think the 2018 regular season and playoffs are more a formality than a contest. That outlook changed with last week's games. The top teams immediately behind the Tigers in the rankings had performances that caused people to think twice about this 1A race. Let's take a look at last week and see who made a case for being a threat to the Tigers.
Last Week's Recap
The top ranked Beechwood Tigers showed their ranking and status as the clear favorite are well deserved. The Tigers hosted the 2A #8 Lloyd Juggernauts and took quick control of the game scoring on their first two possessions. Lloyd was able to slow the Tigers down briefly before the lead extended to 35-0 on the way to a 42-8 Tigers win. Beechwood RB Logan Castleman led the way with 170 yards rushing. New starting QB So. Cameron Hergott had a good debut with over 100 yards passing plus 104 yards rushing. Beechwood looks as good as advertised.
The big news of the week though was the #2 Pikeville Panthers. The Panthers made a statement that there will be a battle to get that state championship trophy back to Ft. Mitchell. Pikeville one upped the Beechwood performance by blasting 2A #10 Lexington Christian 50-7. Yowza! Pikeville had a running clock in this one before halftime! Pikeville QB Connor Roberts put on a display going 5-7 for 146 yards and 4 TD passes and also picking up 131 yards rushing on 12 carries. WR Jackson Hensley caught 5 passes for 146 yards and 4 TD's. I believe we have one confirmed contender.
The #3 ranked Raceland Rams also put on a strong performance against 4A #3 Ashland. The Rams took a 14-0 lead into halftime and looked to be on their way to a very impressive win. However, Ashland turned the tables outscoing Raceland 21-0 in the second half to get the 21-14 win over the Rams. Nevertheless, the Rams made their point that they are a strong contender to make a return trip to Lexington.The really good news for Rams fans is QB Jacob Heighton throwing for 200 yards and 2 TD's. Adding that passing game production to the strong rushing offense the Rams have will give them the balance they need to become and even stronger contender.
Our #4 team, the Hazard Bulldogs, also had a strong performance as they took down 5A Harlan County 43-26. Any time a 1A team puts up a win over a solid 5A opponent, it is worth taking notice. QB Blair Bailey showed he is ready to go with a 12-15, 178 yard passing game in leading the Bulldogs to the win.
Coming in at #5, the Paintsville Tigers made short work of Harlan as the Tigers cruised to a 48-6 win. That is two blowouts in a row for Paintsville. RB Josh McClurg has gone over 100 yards rushing in both games and QB Jake Hyden has not thrown an incomplete pass yet. Hyden was 4-4 in game one and 6-6 in game 2. We need to see Paintsville against some stronger competition before we know how strong they truly are. More on that in the game previews coming up below.
Another team that put up a good showing despite losing was #6 Campbellsville. The Eagles hosted 3A #7 Casey County in a shootout before falling 50-40. So. QB Arren Hash has been very good in both Campbellsville games but the story here may be WR/RB Malachi Corley. The Eagles are getting Corley touches at both RB and WR and it is paying off as he has scored 5 TD's in two games and accumulated over 300 offensive yards rushing and receiving. Corley is getting D1 looks and is a player to see.
The #7 ranked Crittenden County Rockets and the #9 ranked Paris Greyhounds both had open weeks last week so no news to report there.
Williamsburg put their #8 ranking at jeopardy by taking one on the chin from 2A #7 Somerset 34-7. It remains to be seen if this score is more a statement of how good Somerset is or, that Williamsburg has more work to do if they are to move up the 1A rankings.
Number 10 Louisville Holy Cross put up a nice 42-0 win over 4A Valley. Holy Cross is a one of the dark horse picks in 1A and they are making some noise. They are led by Sr. QB Jaren McDonald who is off to a very good start to the season.
One other game to note from last week is the Ludlow Panthers trouncing the Bracken County Polar Bears 48-0. Ludlow is another team we labeled as a dark horse to watch and this win got our attention. If any of the top 10 falter, look for Ludlow to quickly jump into the opening.
There are three big interclass games between 1A top ten teams and ranked teams from other classes. We will give a brief preview of those games here.
Beechwood vs. 2A #5 Somerset - Last year one of Beechwood's closest games of the year was a tight and intense contest versus the Somerset Briar Jumpers. Beechwood squeezed out a 7-0 win on a rainy night in Somerset. The Briar Jumpers travel to Ft. Mitchell for the return match and this one could be even more hotly contested. Both teams look as good if not better than last year. We will call this one the game of the week in 1A.
Paintsville at 6A #5 Frederick Douglass - Paintsville sits at 2-0 with blowout wins in both games, However, as mentioned above, the competition has been lacking. That certainly is not the case this week. Paintsville has their hands full and then some with new 6A power Frederick Douglass. This is a huge step up in competition and it will take everything the Tigers have to just hang in there in this game. If the Tigers can stay within a couple of TD's, it will be a good statement that Paintsville should not be overlooked in the race for the 1A title.
Louisville Holy Cross vs. 2A #1 DeSales - This is our third interclass game versus ranked opponents. As tough as Paintsville's challenge looks, this one is even tougher. All DeSales has done in their first two games is defeat two 6A top 5 teams, including iconic St. Xavier. Holy Cross has not fared well at all in this series versus DeSales and the challenge this year looks more imposing than ever.
Here is where the other top 10 teams are this Friday:
Pikeville --- OPEN
Raceland vs. 3A West Carter
Hazard at 5A Letcher County Central
Campbellsville vs. 4A Taylor County
Crittenden County at 3A Trigg County
Paris at Pineville
Williamsburg vs. 2A Leslie County
Last edited by Voice of Reason; Aug 29, 18 at 09:11 PM.