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This week instead of doing a recap of last week's games, let's do an overview of what has happened early in the season. Teams have played 2 or 3 games at this point and have provided enough evidence for us to get a feel for things. Do we have any surprises so far? How are the top tier teams looking? Who looks like the true dark horse teams we need to keep a close eye on?

At the Top

Coming into the season, it was acknowledged by most that the top 5 teams in the rankings were above the rest. This is true in most classes. There are usually 3-6 teams that are just a notch or two above the rest in every class and 1A is no different. In 1A the consensus opinion was there are five leaders - Beechwood, Raceland, Pikeville, Hazard and Paintsville.

The early reviews are pushing this down to a two team race. Obviously, it is still early but what Beechwood and Pikeville have accomplished in their early games moves them ahead of the other three in our top tier. Beechwood has rolled over two top ten ranked 2A teams with little resistance. They looked even better in their second game totally dominating 2A #5 Somerset in a lightning shortened contest. The Briar Jumpers are probably thanking Mother Nature for that abbreviated ending because the game was already out of control when it was stopped with 8:25 to go in the 2nd quarter with Beechwood already up 28-0. Pikeville was just as impressive in their second game, a battle against 2A top ten Lexington Christian. The Panthers put a first half running clock on LCA in a performance that stunned many with its dominance by Pikeville. At this early point, Beechwood and Pikeville appear to be steamrolling their way to Lexington.

Raceland and Hazard are having none of that talk yet. Both have played very well and look forward to the opportunity to further prove themselves. I am sure both will take the underdog status at this point and run with it. Raceland has two wins versus solid opponents and had the #3 team in class 4A on the ropes before falling by 7 points to Ashland. They have accomplished this without their top returning running back so the Rams are confident they have even better football yet to come. Hazard has not played the schedule the other top 5 teams have faced so far but the Bulldogs have done their work with strong wins and set themselves up for a run at the top. Paintsville on the other hand, took a step back last week. Yes, they played the new dynamo in Kentucky, 6A #5 Frederick Douglass, but Douglass overwhelmed Paintsville and raised questions about how good these Tigers are. Paintsville at this point has fallen out of the top five and into the mix with our next group of teams.

Seven Up

I am going to call this group seven up - seven teams looking to move up the rankings and with enough firepower to get into our top five. This group includes Campbellsville, Crittenden County, Paris, Williamsburg, Louisville Holy Cross, Ludlow and Frankfort.

At the head of this group are Campbellsville and Crittenden County. These two teams were looked at preseason as two teams right on the cusp of breaking into the top five. Both teams have come out strong and done nothing to dispel that thought. Campbellsville sits at 2-1 with their only loss by 10 points to top ten ranked 3A Casey County. Meanwhile, Crittenden County is 2-0 with very lopsided wins against lightly regarded opponents. The Rockets look strong but they need more proof against a tough opponent for us to move them to the top tier. They get that opportunity this week against 2A rival Caldwell County.

I will put Paris, Williamsburg and Louisville Holy Cross together because their resumes look similar at this point. All three of these teams have losses but their losses have come against tough opponents. Some of those losses have actually bolstered our view of these teams because the teams were competitive against highly regarded competition.

The last two teams in our seven up group are Ludlow and Frankfort. Ludlow is at 2-0 but they have faced weak opponents to this point and need to show something against a tougher opponent for us to get more serious about them as a top team in 1A. Frankfort also has 2 wins versus lower level opponents but the big knock on them at this point is a loss to Thomas Nelson, an opponent we would have expected Frankfort to win against if they are top ten quality.

Knock, Knock

Who are the teams that have posted early season records that have our attention? I will list them here with a brief breakdown.

Lynn Camp - They are 2-0 but the schedule is always a problem in trying to assess them. With a schedule this weak, they need to keep winning and then beat Williamsburg if they want to get into the top ten.

Nicholas County - A 3-0 record, but no strong opponents. With their remaining schedule, it will be tough for them to break into the top ten unless they keep winning and teams in front of them falter.

Kentucky Country Day - This is the flip side of the above. KCD has played a more difficult schedule than others in this group and has a 1-2 record because of it. However, that one win was last week against an above average 2A team which makes us think this team may be on the rise.

Phelps, Fulton County - Both 2-0 against very weak opponents. It is great to see these programs getting wins. Keep winning and they might get to the top 15 but weak schedules will likely make that their cap.

Bishop Brossart, Bracken County, Bellevue , Russellville - "B"ware of this group if you play them. They all have shown signs of strength in getting wins, and all have losses that cast doubts. If they keep improving, they have shown the potential to move their way up the list.

Statement Week

Look at the lineup of games this week. We have some big time faceoffs happening that will make big statements about who our top 1A teams are. Our top five teams all have games that will have big implications on next week's rankings and the outlook for these teams the rest of the way.

1. Beechwood at 3A #3 Corbin
2. Pikeville vs. #5 Paintsville
3. Raceland at 4A #8 Greenup County
4. Hazard at 2A #7 Somerset
5. Paintsville at #2 Pikeville
6. Campbellsville at 2A Green County
7. Crittenden County at 3A Caldwell County
8. Paris at 4A Harrison County
9. Louisville Holy Cross at Bethlehem
10. Williamsburg vs. Frankfort