1A Notebook 9/12 - Big Wins and Big Losses
It was a week of highs and lows in 1A. Almost every team in the top 10 had a challenging and significant game during last week's Showtime week. The results shook up the rankings and also had a major impact on the outlook in 1A. Let's get to it.
No win was bigger than 1A #1 Beechwood stunning many high school football watchers with an upset win over 3A #1 Corbin. The game was the 1A Game of the Week and it lived up to the billing. It was a back and forth battle until the fourth quarter. Then Beechwood came up with the big plays that secured the 36-29 win over a team that many had in the top 10-15 in the entire state. Beechwood's Daniel Mescher was named the player of the game with 3 key field goals and 110 yards receiving. This win secured Beechwood's place at the top of the 1A rankings and also made them more of a favorite in 1A than they already were.
Paintsville is our next big winner. This Tigers team had a face off with rival #10 Pikeville. This series has had more than its share of upsets in recent years but there was no upset in this edition. The Tigers methodically marched to the win, scoring a touchdown in each quarter. Paintsville's Tanner Smith led the way with 78 yards rushing, 86 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Paintsville's win was expected but with the history of upsets between these two teams, this 28-0 win makes this a big victory for Paintsville.
Our next big winner was the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets took on the resurgent Frankfort Panthers in a game that was expected to be a shootout, and it delivered with the final score favoring Williamsburg 52-32. QB Alec Poore put on quite a show for Williamsburg going 22-33 passing for 333 yards and 6 TD passes. But that wasn't all. Poore also added 121 yards rushing bringing his total yardage in the game to an eye popping 454 yards. Despite the big win, Williamsburg lost a slot in the rankings because of the result posted by our next big winner.
The Raceland Rams served notice to their 1A competitors that they are indeed back despite the losses to graduation. The Rams hosted 4A #9 Greenup County and rolled to an impressive 24-0 win. The Rams had their 24-0 lead in the third quarter and coasted to victory from there. It was a well balanced attack for the Rams with multiple players contributing key yards rushing and receiving. The Rams win impressed the BGP rankings voters enough to move the Rams up to #5 in the rankings.
No one had a bigger loss this week than the Hazard Bulldogs. Entering their game against 2A #10 Somerset, the Bulldogs wanted to not only get a win but make a statement since #1 Beechwood had only defeated Somerset 7-0 the prior week. Unfortunately, it was not a good night for the Bulldogs. Not only did they lose the game 20-9, they also may have lost their star RB Cory Smith for the season to a knee injury. Smith was on his way to writing his name in the state record books. It would be a devastating loss for the Bulldogs. Let's pray that the injury is not as severe as reported and we all get another chance to see Cory Smith on a high school football field soon.
The other big loss in 1A last week was the Russellville Panthers falling to Logan County 28-21. Last year Russellville defeated Logan County 54-14. Despite Logan County entering the game 3-0, very few thought they had a chance to turn that result around and beat the Panthers - but that's what they did. The loss dropped Russellville to 2-2 on the year and also dropped them out of the 1A top ten.
Other Key Results
Kentucky Country Day QB Jackson Diaz went 8-10 for 197 yards and 5 TD passes to lead the Bearcats to a 56-0 win over 2A Gallatin County. The win coupled with the Hazard loss moved KCD up to #2 in 1A.
Louisville Holy Cross posted a 38-7 win over Bethlehem. Senior RB Mario Convenuto rushed for 164 yards, caught 2 passes for 62 yards and scored 3 TD's to lead Holy Cross to the win.
From the Frying Pan into the Fire
It doesn't get any easier this week for many of the 1A top ten. Here are key games this coming week:
#1 Beechwood vs. 5A #1 Covington Catholic - No time for the Tigers to celebrate their big win over Corbin. They take on an even tougher opponent this week. The Covington Catholic Colonels are running roughshod over their opponents. This is a huge rivalry game between schools just 2 miles apart with many players on the teams growing up playing with each other. The Tigers will need to do everything right to have a chance against a very powerful Colonels team.
#4 Paintsville vs. #6 Williamsburg - Back to back weeks for both of these teams facing ranked 1A opponents. Last week both teams were on the winning side but that can't happen this week. If it weren't for the mega game between Beechwood and Covington Catholic, this game would surely be the 1A Game of the Week. Something will have to give as Paintsville only allows 10 points per game and the high powered Williamsburg offense is scoring 38 points per game. The winner of this one takes a big step up toward being considered the top challenger from the east to defending champion Beechwood.
#7 Louisville Holy Cross vs. #8 Paris - Here is another game featuring two teams battling within the 1A ranks to establish themselves as a title contender. This game looks like the one to watch if you like a defensive battle. Paris only allows 7 points a game an Holy Cross has done the same in their 3 winning games this year. An extra point might be the difference in an expected low scoring contest.
Other Games of Note - Road Warriors
#2 Kentucky Country Day at Bethlehem - Bearcats should cruise.
#5 Raceland at Valley OH - No contest for the Rams.
#9 Frankfort at 3A #8 Western Hills - A severe challenge for a battered Panthers team.
#10 Pikeville at 3A #1 Belfry - Pikeville will fall to an unfamiliar 1-3 with a loss to the Pirates.
The #3 ranked Hazard Bulldogs get a week off to heal and reshape their offense. For everyone else in the 1A top ten, it is another week of tough battles against strong opponents. Half of the top ten will likely take a loss this week and make for some tough decisions in our next top ten rankings.