1A Notebook 8/25: Back to School
Every new school year there is a learning curve. The seniors have graduated, the freshmen move up, the sophomores and juniors work to make that jump to the next level of strength and skill. It makes each new football season a guessing game. Who will be the new stars bursting onto the scene? What teams are ready to step it up? Week one is our first chance to see what storylines might develop. Let's run down the list, using last week's rankings, and see what we learned in week one.
1. Pikeville - The Panthers are the clear cut favorite in 1A. They faced 3A Bardstown who went 6-6 in 2018 but there are expectations of a better season in 2019. Pikeville had little trouble in putting win number one on the board. The biggest question mark for Pikeville coming into the season is at QB with sophomore Isaac McNamee the new starter. McNamee showed he is up to the challenge in week one going 15 for 21, 152 yards and 2 TD's. Even more impressive was Sr. RB Cody Raines who carried the ball 28 times for 165 yards and 3 TD's. Pikeville lived up to their preseason billing. The Pikeville formula is already percolating.
2. Campbellsville - The Eagles faced a more formidable 3A opponent in their opener against Casey County, who went 8-3 in 2018. Campbellsville topped last year's victory over Casey County as they soared to a 49-13 win. Jr. QB Arren Hash matched Pikeville's McNamee by also completing 15 of 21 passes. However, Hash got much more production with 305 yards and 4 TD's. D1 prospect Malachi Corley did his thing rushing for 35 yards and 2 scores; catching 3 passes for 37 yards and another score; and adding a fumble recovery. An impressive opening win for Campbellsville.
3. Williamsburg - The tough thing in trying to measure Williamsburg each year is usually their mediocre schedule. True to form they opened against a weak Jellico TN team and eased their way to a 42-0 win. Not much to learn or see here. Next up is Middlesboro, who had one win in 2018.
4. Raceland - On the opposite end of the scheduling spectrum we have the Raceland Rams. The Rams usually have one of the tougher schedules in 1A. The Rams opened against improving 4A Greenup County. Raceland got out to a 17-0 lead and then had to hang on for a 17-14 win. That is the closest Greenup County has come to beating Raceland in recent years. Returning starting QB, Jr. Jacob Heighton had to lead Raceland to the win as the Rams could only muster 39 rushing yards in the game. Sr. WR Mark Cox caught 7 passes for 113 yards and 1 TD. Sr. WR/DB Gunnur Lewis was his usual self contributing on both sides of the ball including making a key interception. This is a bit of a shaky start for Raceland. They will need to find a running game if they want to make another deep postseason run.
5. Newport Central Catholic - The Thoroughbreds made a nice impression in their return to 1A with a 29-13 win over 6A Campbell County. Campbell County is young and rebuilding but any time a 1A team beats a 6A team it is a win to be proud of. Sr. QB Paul Kremer led the Breds to the win. NCC is another team that schedules tough and that will continue next week in their home opener against 5A Cooper. That game will give us more information about just how good this year's Thoroughbreds might be.
6. Paintsville - The trend of openers against 3A teams continued with Paintsville taking a 48-17 win over a solid Lawrence County program. The Tigers displayed a balanced attack with their returning starting QB Jr. Jake Hyden throwing for 161 yards and Sr. RB John Phelps rushing for 121 yards. This was a good start for Paintsville. Next week they travel to Georgetown College to face another group of Tigers, 3 time defending 1A champion Beechwood.
7. Hazard - The Bulldogs used week one for their open week. This week they open their season at home against 4A Harlan County
8. Crittenden County - Similar to Williamsburg, Crittenden County faced an opponent they were expected to beat, and they did, topping 2A Ft. Campbell 43-14. The Rockets lost all their offensive weapons to graduation. Apparently if your name is Hunter you have a good chance at becoming the Rockets QB. Last year's starter Hunter Boone graduated and has been replaced by Hunter Jones. The offensive leader for Crittenden County was Xander Tabor who rushed for 97 yards and 2 TD's on just 12 carries. This week should be more of the same with 2A Webster County next on the schedule.
9. Kentucky Country Day - The Bearcats are already a step ahead of last year's team with a 23-7 win over 5A Atherton, who defeated KCD in 2018. The team leaders performed as hoped for. So. QB Luke Russo, starting for his second year, threw for 103 yards on just 6 passes. Sr. RB Dorian Heard rushed for 3 TD's. Jr. Exavier Douglas racked up 13 tackles.
10. Ludlow - The only team in the BGP top 10 who took a loss on opening night was the Ludlow Panthers. They fell to 2A Carroll County by a 14-12 score. It was a disappointing beginning for Ludlow losing to a team they defeated last year. The Panthers look to get back on track next week against the Bracken County Polar Bears.
This week's number 10 ranked team is Lynn Camp. The Wildcats made an impression with a 20-18 win over the always solid Frankfort Panthers. Sophomore QB Tylen Smith threw for 72 yards and rushed for 76 yards and 2 TD"s to lead Lynn Camp into the top 10.
Other Week One Winners
Louisville Holy Cross shut out 2A Green County 37-0 with Sr. RB Luke Davis racking up 144 yards on 14 carries.
Eminence returned to KHSAA play with an impressive 51-22 win over 2A McClean County, who went 8-4 last year. Sr. QB Justin Hedges was 14 for 20, 259 yards and 5 TD's.
Paris beat a rising Ft. Knox team 22-6. Despite a roster half the size of Ft. Knox's, the Greyhounds get the win. It was nice to see Matthew Barber back for Paris after missing last season with an injury.
Fulton County continued last season's resurgence with a 42-14 win over Gleason TN. Sr. RB Caleb Kimble opened his season with an outstanding 229 yards rushing on 16 carries with 3 TD's.
Bishop Brossart posted a 24-8 win over Dayton. Sr. RB Samuel Howard had 141 yards rushing and 3 TD's. Jr. QB Trevor Schadler was 10 for 14 and 185 yards.
Pineville was yet another 1A team with a win over a 3A team, defeating McCreary Central 28-14. Devon Morris rushed for 130 yards and Colby Frazier made his Pineville debut with 110 yards rushing.
Last but certainly not least, Berea gets our attention with a 53-18 win over Jackson County, another 1A win over 3A. Talk about a turnaround, last year Berea lost to Jackson County 40-12. That is a 63 point turnaround in one season. Congratulations to the Berea Pirates! Sr. QB Jaylen Whitacre threw for 174 yards and rushed for 101 yards in the big win.
This Week's Top Games
1. Pikeville vs. Mingo Central WV (8/31)
4. Raceland at 3A Russell
5. Newport Central Catholic vs. 5A Cooper
6. Paintsville vs. 2A #2 Beechwood at Georgetown
7. Hazard vs. 4A Harlan County