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In this week's notebook we will not only look at last week and ahead to Friday, we also will do a halftime review of our teams that have been ranked in the top ten during the first half of the season.

Looking Back

Last week our #1 Beechwood Tigers became the latest highly regarded team to get mowed down by the Covington Catholic Colonels. Losing 45-9 might cause doubts whether Beechwood should be #1, but when you consider Covington Catholic has beaten other teams just as good as Beechwood just as bad, then you have to say Covington Catholic is just that good this year. Beechwood held on to the top spot in 1A, but this loss caused a few people to wonder about Beechwood at #1 for the first time this season.

Second ranked Kentucky Country Day had no problems as they shut out Bethlehem 47-0. The third ranked Hazard Bulldogs took the week off. It was well timed as the Bulldogs had some work to do in figuring out how to reshape things with RB Cory Smith out for the season. Jumping to #5 Raceland, the Rams had a ho hum easy trip to Valley OH for a 47-6 win.

Fourth ranked Paintsville faced off with then #6 Williamsburg in a key 1A battle. Any time the Yellow Jackets take the field, a high scoring affair should be expected and this game was no different. Tyrese Allen rushed for 151 yards and Tanner Smith added 114 yards to lead the Tigers to a clearcut 53-21 win. Williamsburg QB Alec Poore was his usual self throwing for 344 yards, but he also threw 3 interceptions which hurt the Yellow Jackets cause.

The other big 1A face off last week was #7 Louisville Holy Cross hosting #8 Paris. This game was something we don't see as much of these days - a defensive slugfest. Holy Cross could only muster 201 total yards, but their defense held Paris to less than 200 yards to get the Cougars a 16-11 victory. Mario Convenuto led the Cougars to the win rushing for 91 yards while QB Aaron Maggard led Paris in rushing and passing.

Our bottom two teams both took big losses. Frankfort fell to 3A #8 Western Hills 41-14 and Pikeville was overrun by 2A #1 Belfry 49-13. Neither of those results were surprises, but Frankfort's loss dropped them out of the 1A top ten.

Looking Ahead

Beechwood vs. 2A Covington Holy Cross - No contest in this one. Beechwood gets a break this week to recover from the big loss to Covington Catholic and prepare for next week's challenge versus 6A top ten Simon Kenton.

Kentucky Country Day vs. 2A #4 Lexington Christian Academy - Game of the week in 1A. Kentucky Country Day is the underdog and few expect a win, but this will be the Bearcats biggest test to show how strong they really are this year, and whether they have what it takes to win a title in 1A.

Hazard at 2A Prestonsburg - This is a big game for Hazard. With Cory Smith and his brother Austin, who starts on the line, both out for the year; the Bulldogs have to find a new identity. Prestonsburg is a tough opponent to face without the lineup adjustments. This is a key game in 1A this week.

Paintsville at 3A Lawrence County - Paintsville is making statements each week that they are someone to watch out for. Lawrence County lost to Raceland 35-19 in game one so the Tigers should be able to score a clear win.

Raceland vs. Portsmouth West (OH) - This game will be a tough one for the Rams. They have worked their way back into the top tier of the 1A rankings. They need to get this win to solidify themselves as being in the top tier versus a step below.

Louisville Holy Cross at Providence (IN) - Holy Cross is a 3 touchdown favorite in this game. They are coming off a hard earned win over Paris so hopefully for them there is no letdown in this game.

Williamsburg at #10 Ludlow - Big game for the Ludlow Panthers. If you like offense and QB play, get out to this game. Arguably the two best QB's in 1A will battle in this one - Ludlow's Justin Blackburn and Williamsburg's Alec Poore. This should be high scoring and action packed.

Paris vs. Berea - The Greyhounds will have no problem in this one.

Pikeville is open this week as they prepare for next week's showdown with Hazard.

Halftime Review

Here is the breakdown statistically from calpreps.com on how the 1A top teams have performed so far.

Beechwood 3-1
Rating 27.5
Strength of Schedule 31.2
Opponents Record 14-4

Kentucky Country Day 5-0
Rating 13.6
Strength of Schedule -6.9
Opponents Record 12-12

Hazard 2-1
Rating 4.5
Strength of Schedule 3.3
Opponents Record 4-11

Painstville 4-1
Rating 13.2
Strength of Schedule -2.7
Opponents Record 9-13

Raceland 4-1
Rating 7.2
Strength of Schedule -2
Opponents Record 12-11

Louisville Holy Cross 3-2
Rating -0.9
Strength of Schedule 2.8
Opponents Record 11-11

Williamsburg 3-2
Rating -5.7
Strength of Schedule -5.3
Opponents Record 13-11

Paris 3-1
Rating -9.2
Strength of Schedule -17.5
Opponents Record 6-14

Pikeville 1-3
Rating -2.2
Strength of Schedule 20
Opponents Record 12-7

Ludlow 4-0
Rating -6.6
Strength of Schedule -19.2
Opponents Record 9-9

Russellville 3-2
Rating -6.9
Strength of Schedule -4.4
Opponents Record 14-11

Frankfort 3-2
Rating -13.3
Strength of Schedule -11.4
Opponents Record 8-15

Bracken County 4-1
Rating -14
Strength of Schedule -25.1
Opponents Record 11-10

Any surprises as you look over the halftime stats? These are the teams that have been in the top ten at some point this year. If you want to see how another team not listed compares, you can see everyone at the calpreps.com site. Here are some items of interest:

Beechwood and Pikeville have played the toughest schedules by far. That tells us why Pikeville has stayed in the top 10 all year despite a 1-3 record.

Hazard's opponent's record of 4-11 is the worst of any team that has been in the top ten. That plus the loss of the Smith brothers makes us wonder what is ahead for Hazard. They have tough games the next two weeks. Are the Bulldogs in jeopardy of a big drop in the rankings?

Surprise team of the first half is the Ludlow Panthers. They are riding on the shoulders of their outstanding QB Justin Blackburn. They face a big test this week to prove they are for real.

Summary

There have been some interesting twists and turns in the first half of the year. District play is just around the corner. It is hard to believe the regular season is already halfway finished for many teams. We have some big games on this Friday's schedule that will continue to shake up and shape the our views on the hunt for the title.