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The BGP 1A predictions are clicking on all cylinders going 8 for 8 in predicting the teams left standing as we enter round 3. As we all well know now, round 3 is where the new KHSAA RPI finally kicks in. That also puts a twist in the bracketing and it had an immediate impact in year one. Instead of the brackets flowing straight out by district, the RPI has shifted opponents around on both sides of the state. Here are the RPI standings for the final eight in 1A with their overall ranking in the entire class in parenthesis at the end:

1. Kentucky Country Day ………… .81404 (1)
2. Pikeville ……………………………… .76144 (2)
3. Louisville Holy Cross …………… .69857 (3)
4. Paintsville …………………………… .69460 (4)
5. Williamsburg ………………………. .68442 (5)
6. Newport Central Catholic …… .67431 (6)
7. Crittenden County ……………… .63587 (10)
8. Nicholas County …………………. .53302 (16)

So we have the top six RPI teams in 1A still left plus the number 10 and 16 teams in the class. This final 8 is also a list of the favorites in each district. The upset machine has not made an appearance in 1A. Will it finally show up in round 3? Let’s review last week’s action and see if there are ay matchups in round 3 that might lend themselves to an upset.

West Round 3 Matchups

4 seed D1 Crittenden County at 1 seed D3 Kentucky Country Day

It was starting to look like the scheduling gauntlet Russellville ran early in the season was paying off. After an 0-6 start against an incredibly challenging, the Panthers had won 4 of their last 5 prior to taking the field. Crittenden County was not impressed. The Rockets blasted off on the Panthers in a 41-3 win. Want to know how dominant Crittenden County was in this one? They held Russellville to 50 total yards in the game. Xander Tabor rushed for 139 yards, 3 TDs and had an interception for the Rockets.

In District 3, Kentucky Country Day found themselves in an unexpectedly close game against Eminence. KCD defeated Eminence 62-13 during the regular season so naturally they were feeling good leading 27-6 just before halftime. As the game went on in the second half though, Eminence kept creeping closer. With 7:33 to go Eminence was within one score at 27-20. KCD got it back to a two score margin but Eminence came right back at KCD making it 34-26 with 4 minutes to go. Unfortunately for Eminence, that is where the game and season ended for the Warriors. KCD’s rushing attack showed its power going over 300 yards with Dorian Heard gaining 161 yards and Nick Smith gaining 103 yards.

That gets us to the 1 versus 4 RPI battle in the west. If we use RPI as a guide, Kentucky Country Day should be a strong favorite here. Crittenden County has been on a tear since inserting So. Luke Crider as the starting QB four games ago. This game features two of the top running backs in 1A. KCD’s Dorian Heard has 1,633 yards and Crittenden County’s Xander Tabor has 1,477 yards. KCD should get the win here. We will stick with the preview prediction on this game:

Prediction: Kentucky Country Day 27 Crittenden County 14

3 seed D4 Newport Central Catholic at 2 seed D2 Louisville Holy Cross

There is a district competitiveness contrast between these two. District 3 Newport Central Catholic romped through district play in their first time in this 1A district in over ten years. The Breds played 5 district games between the regular season and playoffs and posted a running clock in all 5. Sr. WR Cody Mueller has done an admirable job filling the void left by the absence of the Breds top receiver Caleb Jefferson the past 3 weeks.

In District 2 Holy Cross got a chance in the district championship game to avenge their only loss since August when Bethlehem visited. The Cougars continued to impress with a 34-13 win. Cougars QB Chaz Geraghty passed for 134 yards and rushed for 119 while RB Luke Davis added 101 yards and 3 TDs. However, the most impressive part of the win was Holy Cross holding Bethlehem’s offense to the 13 points.

Looking to the round 3 matchup, Holy Cross will need another defensive performance like last week to keep Newport Catholic QB Paul Kremer and his wide receiving corps under control. Even if Jefferson is still out with injury, Newport Catholic has weapons at WR that the Cougars will need to keep wraps on. RPI says Holy Cross is the team to beat here. This should be an outstanding game. We went with Holy Cross to win this one in the preview, and we will stick with that, with some reservations.

Prediction: Louisville Holy Cross 21 Newport Central Catholic 17

East Round 3 Matchups

4 seed D5 Nicholas County at 1 seed D7 Pikeville

The District 5 championship was quite the battle. Nicholas County had defeated Brossart 28-6 in their regular season meeting. The Mustangs learned some lessons in that game. They pushed Nicholas County to the brink of elimination leading 13-21 into the second half. Then Nicholas County was able to punch in the go ahead score on Cain Saucedo’s third TD of the game. Saucedo carried the ball 49 times for 240 yards in leading the Bluejackets to the win.

The prize for Nicholas County is a matchup with Pikeville. Pikeville again displayed their power in the District 7 title game 45-12 win over Hazard. In two meetings with rival Hazard, the Panthers never gave the Bulldogs any hope for an upset, dominating them in both games while outscoring them 87-12 in the two games.

Again looking at RPI, this is the biggest mismatch of the four round 3 games. The most interesting thing to watch in this game will be seeing how Nicholas County RB Cain Saucedo will do against the Pikeville defense. If Nicholas County can get Saucedo going and control the clock, they may be able to keep it closer than most expect. Here is the prediction from the 1A preview thread:

Prediction: Pikeville 62 Nicholas County 7

3 seed D8 Williamsburg at 2 seed D6 Paintsville

District 6 has been one of the most entertaining district title games to watch in 1A. The annual matchup between Paintsville and Raceland has produced classic after classic. This year’s playoff version looked to be headed towards classic status again. Instead of a Raceland fourth quarter comeback, it was Paintsville pulling away in the fourth quarter in this one. John Phelps overcame a fumble on the opening kickoff to lead Paintsville to the win. Phelps rushed for 102 yards and 3 TDs in the win.

In the other game in this part of the bracket, Williamsburg made easy work of upset round 1 winner Lynn Camp. Dalton Ponder did his usual thing throwing 5 TD passes in the win.

That brings us to the final round 3 matchup and it is a very interesting one. Most 1A watchers would say Paintsville QB Jake Hyden is one of the best QBs in 1A. Williamsburg’s Dalton Ponder has more than doubled Hyden’s passing yardage total, 1,561 to 3,485. In fact, Ponder has thrown for almost 1,000 more yards than the second ranked passer in 1A. One of the fun matchups to watch in this game may actually be Hyden the DB versus Ponder. Hyden is tied for #2 in the state in INTs with 5. He will get plenty of chances for another INT facing Williamsburg’s pass happy offense. Williamsburg has scored 528 points on the year to lead 1A. There is certainly potential for an upset here, but we will stick with our preview prediction.

Prediction: Paintsville 35 Williamsburg 28