1A Notebook - Championship Week 2018

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    by Voice of Reason is offline Premium Member
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    Here we are. Friday at 2 pm at the University of Kentucky's Kroger Field we get the game we have been anticipating since Pikeville walked over Lexington Christian in game 2. Beechwood was the pre-season #1 and they have held steadfastly to that #1 ranking all year. Pikeville has proven themselves the clear #2 team. It is just how we all hope these games play out. The top two teams in the class facing off for the title. We will load you up with all the details on the matchup below, right after we review how these teams got here.

    Semifinals Review

    Here is the link to last week's notebook which detailed the path to the title game and previewed last week's semifinal games: 1A Notebook - Playoff Review and Update Semifinal Round

    Let's recap last week's results.

    West Bracket Semifinal - Beechwood 48 Campbellsville 13

    In last week's notebook we projected this score to be 42-14 Beechwood. Despite being in range with that prediction, we were off in how we thought this game would go. This game was much more of a test for Beechwood than we expected. Campbellsville was right in this toe to toe with the Tigers. The score was 14-13 with less than two minutes to go in the first half when Beechwood added two scores to get it to 27-13 at halftime. That did not dishearten Campbellsville as they came out strong in the third quarter, keeping that same score in place till the end of the third quarter. From there, Beechwood added a late third quarter touchdown to get to 34-13 then two more fourth quarter scores to give us the final. Beechwood's defense stepped up to hold Campbellsville's outstanding JR. WR Malachi Corley to 97 yards and 1 touchdown. The story of the game though was Beechwood SR. RB Logan Castleman rushing 32 times for 251 yards and 5 TD's. Beechwood rushed for 436 yards in total as SO. QB Cameron Hergott added 101 yards on 10 carries.

    East Bracket Semifinal - Pikeville 38 Raceland 19

    The original preview projected this matchup and a semifinal score of 24-14 in favor of Pikeville. That score was looking on the money with about 8 minutes to go in the game and Pikeville leading 24-19. However, Pikeville was not about to let a repeat of last year's semifinal happen when Raceland scored on the last play of the game to get the win. The Panthers scored twice late to claw their way back to a title game after a two year absence. Pikeville blew out to a 24-0 halftime lead and it was looking like no contest. The Rams have too much pride to let that happen. The Rams Gunnur Lewis returned the second half kickoff 88 yards for a score and that lit the fuse for Raceland. They took control of the game to get it to 24-19 and had the ball with a chance to take the lead. That's when Pikeville fought back getting the much needed stop to regain possession. Then a big 59 yard run by JR. Jon Collum on his first carry of the season was followed by a Collum 7 yard touchdown run with 5 minutes to go. That gave Pikeville the cushion they needed. The Panthers added one more score to get us to the final. Pikeville SR. QB Connor Roberts was dynamic again leading the Panthers with 156 yards rushing on 27 carries, while also passing for 55 yards completing 9 of 13 passes.

    Title Game Preview

    This title game matchup almost looks scripted. It is Beechwood's last game in 1A as they move up to 2A next year. Who could be any better for Beechwood to face in the title game than Pikeville? These two programs have a great playoff history against each other going all the way back to 1972. In all, they have met 14 times in the playoffs with Beechwood holding the edge 9-5. They have met twice in the title game and it stands one win for each. That makes this year's game the title game tiebreaker.

    Wait, there is more. Beechwood's senior class has now been to the 1A title game all four years of their high school careers. They have only lost one playoff game in their four year careers. That was their freshman year in the 2015 title game against, you guessed it, Pikeville. The Beechwood seniors get a chance to avenge the only playoff loss of their careers. You have to love these storylines.

    The matchup this year looks like another good one. Beechwood has become a run dominant team as the season has marched forward. That was to be expected with one of the top seniors in the state, RB Logan Castleman, running behind an all senior line that is big and athletic. Add in a first year starting QB in sophomore Cameron Hergott and the roster leads the offense to the run. In Pikeville's two losses and their close regular season game against Hazard they were hurt by strong rushing performances by their opponents. This is going to be one of the keys to watch in the game.

    The Pikeville offense revolves around their own outstanding senior, QB Connor Roberts, who is a dual threat quarterback. Roberts is just short of 2,000 yards passing on the year but the thing that makes him so dynamic is his legs. He is very quick and elusive with 1,245 yards rushing averaging 9 yards per carry. Beechwood is well prepared for the dual threat read option quarterback. They have faced several top quarterbacks in their tough schedule including ranked teams like 3A Corbin, 2A Somerset, 2A Newport Catholic, 5A Covington Catholic and 6A Simon Kenton, who appears to run a lot of the same offense as Pikeville. Regardless, Roberts is going to be a very big challenge for Beechwood's defense. His running puts a lot of pressure on the defensive line to get pressure on passing plays but control the rush so you don't give him a running opportunity. Pikeville likes to run QB draw type plays which also requires discipline out of the defense. That controlled rush likewise puts pressure on the defensive backs to defend a little longer as the Pikeville receivers get extra time to break open. Beechwood prides themselves on the discipline of their defense and this game will be one of their biggest tests of that discipline this year.

    Both teams are scoring about 43 points a game. The Tigers defense has the slight edge allowing 13 points per game while Pikeville is allowing about 15 points. If you look at the yardage totals, Pikeville has a big edge 5,458 offensive yards to Beechwood's 4,693. Beechwood has played the tougher schedule but Pikeville is battle tested against some top tier opponents. Pikeville has played 3 larger class top ten opponents and went 1-2 against them. Beechwood has played 7 larger class opponents and went 5-2 against them. Both teams that beat Beechwood are playing in title games this weekend - Corbin and Covington Catholic.

    How is this going to shake out? There is certainly some guesswork in trying to predict a game like this between two top notch opponents. Turnovers are always the wild card that can quickly turn a prediction upside down. Beechwood's sophomore QB is going to need to be extra careful in his first title game to avoid those turnovers. Inexperience can lead to mistakes. That being said, Hergott is the wild card in this game. Pikeville fans may think they are seeing a young Connor Roberts after watching Hergott. He is a big threat running the ball and if he adds 100+ yards in this game like he did last week versus Campbellsville, that may be one weapon too many for Pikeville's defense to control.

    It will be interesting to see what these two coaching staffs come up with in this game. They both will have some different looks and key plays in the game plan to use at just the right time. These teams are well coached and will adjust to things as matchups play out on the field.

    The preview went with Beechwood winning 28-21. Calpreps.com projects Beechwood winning 31-28. We are going to stick with the playoff preview prediction and say Beechwood 28-21. Last year's final score and domination by the Tigers in the trenches makes us think the margin could be more. However, Pikeville's offense is diverse and explosive. We think Beechwood will have the speed to keep Roberts from making big plays running and passing. That will get us to the predicted final score. It should be a great game.

    We will add more to this notebook over the next couple days so stay tuned. If you want to dig into both of these teams, below are links to resources used to gather statistics and information on the teams. There is a lot more info in the links if you want to take a deep dive into this game.

    KHSAA Program

    Here is a link to the 2018 KHSAA program that has the key stats on Beechwood and Pikeville, as well as all the other championship games and more.

    KHSAA

    Beechwood's information and roster is on pages 16 and 17 followed by Pikeville's on pages 18 and 19. Also, if you go all the way to the back of the guide you will find box scores on all the title games going back into the 1970's.


    calpreps.com

    You can find strength of schedule information on both teams and their opponents.
    Last edited by Voice of Reason; Nov 28, 18 at 04:32 PM.

  2. #2

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    Great Article!!!!!!

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    Amazing @Voice of Reason

    We are all so lucky to have you.

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    @Voice of Reason

    What's the game plan for Pikeville to win this game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel-fan View Post
    @Voice of Reason

    What's the game plan for Pikeville to win this game?
    The part of the game plan that is key for Pikeville is the defensive game plan, not the offense. Offensively, they need to just do what they do and as the game goes on look for matchup opportunities. Defensively, Pikeville has to stop the run. That has hurt them in big games and Beechwood is loading up on the run game with Castleman. Pikeville has to stop the Beechwood running game. I know that is not rocket science but I think that is the key for Pikeville.

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    If Pikeville can force Beechwood to throw the ball, it becomes a much closer game. The question is, Can Pikeville stop the o-line, Castleman and Company. And I say Company because, if you get to flowing to much toward Castleman, Beechwood has a couple other runners that can hurt you, starting with the Quarterback...

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    Top players in the championship game.

    Beechwood

    RB/S Logan Castleman - 185 carries, 1593 yards, 28 TD's; 13 catches, 110 yards, 3 TD's; 4 INT's, 2 TD's

    QB Cameron Hergott - 95/156, 1597 yards, 22 TD's, 7 INT's; 69 carries, 442 yards, 6 TD's

    WR/DB John Odom - 31 catches, 617 yards, 6 TD's; 5 INT's, 1 TD; 2 punt returns for TD

    DB Mason Williams - 4 INT's

    DL Duncan Baugh - 8 sacks

    Pikeville

    QB Connor Roberts - 97/155, 1907 yards, 24 TD's, 5 INT's; 138 carries, 1245 yards, 18 TD's

    RB Zack Roberts - 109 carries, 649 yards, 10 TD's

    WR/DB Christian Billiter - 22 catches, 582 yards, 7 TD's; 7 INT's, 3 TD's

    WR/DB Jackson Hensley - 35 catches, 674 yards, 14 TD's; 15 carries, 235 yards, 2 TD's; 2 returns for TD

    WR Kyle Watkins - 29 catches, 549 yards, 5 TD's; 9 carries, 106 yards, 2 TD's

    WR/DB Seth Pugh - 15 catches, 335 yards, 4 TD's; 4 INT's, 1 TD

    DL Jesse Sparks - 5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss

    DB Jon Collum - 80 tackles; 12 tackles for loss; 2 sacks

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