The top ranked Pikeville Panthers are hoping history repeats itself. After being upset by their rival, #5 ranked Paintsville Tigers 40-28, Pikeville wants to see the results flipped in the playoffs as they have been the previous two years. In 2014, Pikeville won the regular season game but was defeated in the playoffs by Paintsville. In 2015, Paintsville won the regular season matchup but lost in the playoffs. With this regular season defeat, Pikeville would sure like to see the same pattern happen and the regular season loser get revenge in the playoffs.

In this 2016 regular season battle, Paintsville used a two pronged rushing attack to run their way over and through the defending state champions. Paintsville RB Kent Phelps rushed for 221 yards on 22 carries and QB Darren Morris had 18 carries for 112 yards. That offensive attack built a 40-14 lead for the Tigers heading into the fourth quarter. Pikeville scored twice in that final quarter to close the gap to a more respectable 2 TD margin of defeat.

The beneficiaries of that Paintsville victory were another group of Panthers, #2 ranked Russellville. Russellville had a challenge as they faced top 15 2A Butler County led by one of the state's best QB's, Rex Henderson. Henderson did his best with 3 TD runs and 3 TD passes. But the 3 back attack of Russellville - RB Johnny Drumgole 15 carries/130 yards; RB Dru West 24/149; QB Jaylyn McMurry 11/128 - was able to lead Russellville to a 50-42 victory and the number one ranking in this week's BGP 1A Rankings.

The rest of the 1A top ten, with one exception, picked up victories to hold onto their rankings. Beechwood defeated another top 15 2A school Somerset 29-7. The number 1 defense in 1A with just 7 points allowed in two games led the way to victory for the Tigers. The Raceland Rams had no trouble battering 4A East Carter by a score of 52-6. Hazard had a tough game but prevailed over 5A Letcher County Central 23-19. Nicholas County defeated Eminence 55-14. Fairview claimed a hard fought 22-14 win over 3A Lawrence County. Louisville Holy Cross defeated Provdence IN 14-7. The only other losing team in the top 10 was #10 Frankfort who hung tough before falling late to 3A Estill County. That loss opened the door for Kentucky Country Day to use their 63-28 win over 2A Washington County to step into the #10 slot in the 1A BGP rankings.

The Week Ahead

There are several games to consider for game of the week this coming Friday. Beechwood puts their #2 ranking and undefeated record on the line versus a tough 2-1 4A Franklin County team. The #5 Raceland Rams also have a 4A challenger, 2-1 Greenup County. Hazard faces 2A Somerset who Beechwood handled last week. Holy Cross takes on an opponent that shut them out last year, 2A #3 DeSales.

But none of those are the game of the week. That distinction goes to the Pikeville Panthers for the second week in a row. This week the Panthers face #8 Fairview. The Eagles feature another dynamic rushing duo in RB Jonathon Ruggles and Shane Cook. Ruggles posted nearly the same numbers last week as Kent Phelps rushed for in the Paintsville win over Pikeville. If Fairview wants to make a move up the rankings, they need to look at that Paintsville game plan and see if their own rushing duo can get them the win.

Top Players

Cory Smith, Hazard RB - Smith has gone over 200 yards rushing in each of the Bulldog's first three games. He also has 7 rushing TD's. Keep an eye on Smith as the season unfolds.

Wyatt Battaile, Pikeville QB - Battaile entered the season with expectations that he would be the top QB in 1A and he is living up to the billing. Battaile is equally adept at throwing out of the pocket and while rolling out.

Hagen Hawn, Williamsburg WR - Hawn is another player that was highly thought of entering the season. Williamsburg is off to a slow start losing three straight to ranked competition but Hawn still has 18 receptions and almost 300 yards.