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Teams are now about one third of the way through their schedules. Almost every team has played at least one game that pushes them out of their comfort zone. If you want to make butter, you need to churn the milk. You have to churn away to get that smooth, refined butter. Teams are churning away at themselves trying to get rid of the sour parts and produce that sweet final product - the product that can get you deep in the playoffs and position you to challenge for a title.

Last week a lot of our top teams in 1A did some hard churning. Half of the top ten suffered losses as they tested themselves against tough opponents. That included the #1 ranked Beechwood Tigers. The Tigers traveled to Corbin to face the #3 team in 3A. It was a hard fought, tightly contested battle but the Redhounds hung on for a 7 point win. Despite the loss, Beechwood worked their way toward that final butter with some valuable experience for their young QB and other new starters.

The #2 ranked Pikeville Panthers invited the Paintsville Tigers to town. This has become a very nice annual matchup between two perennially top ranked programs. The team that got churned in this one was Paintsville, as the Panthers put their hands firmly on the plunger and worked the Tigers over. When all was done, Paintsville had the bitter taste of a 36-13 defeat for their bus ride home. Pikeville has been quite impressive and is in position to move to #1 if they can one up Beechwood by beating the top 5 3A opponent on their schedule this week - the Belfry Pirates.

Raceland likes that churning process as they always play a tough schedule. Last week the Rams took on 4A #8 Greenup County. This one though wasn't quite the challenge Raceland expected as they battered their way to a 25-6 win. People have become focused on Beechwood and Pikeville at the top but the Raceland Rams are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. RB Hunter Lacks continues to impress for Raceland.

Like Paintsville, #4 Hazard and #7 Crittenden County both took a defeat against higher class ranked opponents. Hazard lost to 2A #7 Somerset. After the way Beechwood handled Somerset the week before, that loss drops Hazard well behind the top 3 teams in 1A. Crittenden County suffered a defeat from 3A #8 Caldwell County. It was a competitive game that should help the Rockets in the long haul. More butter making.

Unlike the above teams who lost versus ranked opponents, #8 Paris not only lost to unranked 4A Harrison County, they got blasted by a score of 37-0. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Greyhounds lost their lightning fast RB Matthew Barber to injury, reportedly season ending. Those two losses - the game and Barber - dropped Paris out of the 1A top ten and make it very challenging for them to get back into the top 10.

Now for the more Positive Results

While some of the top teams in 1A took one on the chin last week, there were three teams in the bottom half of the top 10 who posted wins. Number 6 Campbellsville had little trouble with 2A Green County. In that game, Campbellsville's Malachi Corley carried the ball three times, scored twice and rushed for 122 yards. The problem Cambellsville is facing now is they don't have enough butter churners on their schedule. With no churners ahead, Campbellsville is not going to be tested the way other teams will be and that may come back to haunt them at playoff time.

If you read these notebooks weekly, you have heard me say more than once that Louisville Holy Cross is a dark horse everyone better keep an eye on. The Cougars made short work of Bethlehem in a 48-3 win. This week the Cougars travel to Paris with a chance to further show they should be higher up in our rankings.

Finally, #10 Williamsburg pulled victory from defeat with a nice comeback win over the always tough Frankfort Panthers. Frankfort jumped out to an early big lead and looked to be on their way to a top 10 ranking. Williamsburg turned the tables as the game moved on and took a 47-39 win. That solidified a spot in the top 10 for the Yellow Jackets. The churning doesn't stop there though for Williamsburg with Paintsville next up on their schedule.

Noteworthy

There are some undefeated teams not in the top 10 racking up wins. These teams have the wins, but they sure aren't churning butter. Their schedules leave us questioning them as much as praising them. Here is a quick look at the undefeated:

Ludlow (3-0) - By virtue of the Paris losses, Ludlow has moved into the top ten this week. In two weeks the Panthers travel to Williamsburg for a game that will finally give us an idea how good Ludlow is.

Nicholas County (4-0) - The only team with 4 wins in 1A, Nicholas County is riding dual threat QB Isaac Fryman to an impressive record. There are no ranked opponents among those 4 wins and no potential flagship wins in the schedule ahead.

Fulton County (3-0) - You have to be happy for this program with so many recent struggles. Jr. RB Caleb Kimble is racking up the yards. Alas, the schedule is one of the weakest in the state. Enjoy the wins Fulton County fans.

Phelps (3-0) - The Phelps schedule to date is better than Fulton County's - but not by much. It is fun seeing this program be brought along and competing. District play gets here soon and the competition goes up dramatically.

Lynn Camp (3-0) - Lynn Camp does have one good win - 41-26 over 3A Floyd Central, who suffered their first loss in their game last week versus Lynn Camp. That win will keep Lynn Camp on the cusp of the top 10. It won't be till the second last game of the year against Williamsburg that Lynn Camp will have the chance to get a win that could move them into the top 10.

Friday Night Lights

There are some big games, and more churning butter, in this week's schedule. The top 2 face big challenges and #5 Paintsville gets another chance to prove they should be ranked #5.

1. Beechwood at 5A #1 Covington Catholic
2. Pikeville vs. 3A #4 Belfry
3. Raceland vs. Valley OH (9/15)
4. Hazard --- OPEN
5. Paintsville at #9 Williamsburg
6. Campbellsville vs. 2A Monroe County
7. Crittenden County vs. 2A Webster County
8. Louisville Holy Cross at Paris
9. Williamsburg vs. #5 Paintsville
10. Ludlow at 2A Newport