2012 Kentucky High School Football Class 5A Playoff Preview
Bowling Green is simply the second best team in the state behind nationally-ranked 6A powerhouse, Trinity. No one in 5A can beat Bowling Green. You can go ahead and mail the State Championship trophy to: 1801 Rockingham Lane. Now the other 5A schools may not have gotten the memo, so we’ll pretend as if the title is still up for grabs.
Bowling Green (10-0) has racked up 409 points; pretty impressive. But, what is more impressive – and has led to their stellar record -- is that they have only allowed 82 points, with five shutouts in ten games. Aside from the Purples’ strong defense, they have a well balanced offense behind quarterback Devin Hayes, who has passed for over 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns, with a completion percentage of 65%. Bowling Green’s defense should be charged with grand theft, after recovering 17 fumbles and picking off six passes so far this season. Bowling Green is the team to beat. Love it – hate it. It doesn’t matter. They are the top dog in 5A.
Warren Central (9-1) will try to slow the Purples down. But their only hope is to use their offense as a defense. If they try to outscore Bowling Green, this game will get out of hand quick, fast and in a hurry. Warren Central has proven to be a strong rushing threat, and will have to rely on that ground attack to maintain drives that keep the Bowling Green offense off the field. This will be no small task for the Dragons. Warren Central will win two playoff games, but will have to settle for second place in Region 1.
Region 1 Championship: Bowling Green 35 Warren Central 21
Like Region 1, Region 2 is a one horse race. That horse: John Hardin. John Hardin has proven to be one of the perennial powerhouses in 5A. This year will be no different, with the Bulldogs winning their fifth straight Regional Championship. John Hardin will pass the ball on you and they will run the ball down your throat. Not many teams will be able to stop this multi-talented Bulldog offense.
Shelby County (8-2) has the best shot at stopping the two-headed Bulldog – but will not be able to do it. That said, Shelby County has proven to be a contender, and is positioned to take a shot at the Regional Championship. Will they be able to overachieve? Or will it be two and done?
Region 2 Championship: John Hardin 42 Shelby County 14
What Region 3 team is10-0…rushed for 2,400 yards…and passed for 2,300? Still don’t know? How about this: it’s the team with a player who has 1,000 yards rushing and 900 yards receiving. Still don’t know, huh? It’s also the team with a quarterback who has passed for all 2,300 of his team’s aerial yards. Any guesses?
Well, if you didn’t get it, the answer is “Franklin County.” Franklin County has Mr. Football candidate Ryan Timmons, who has accounted for a total of 230 points this season. That’s right; he has 230 points…alone. And Flyer quarterback Logan Woodside has a laser-guided arm that has thrown for 2,300 yards. The flyers have been heavily criticized for allowing a lot of points. But you don’t need to worry so much about stopping opposing offenses when there are few defenses in the state that can stop you at all. If you score 42 on Franklin County, they are going to score 62 on you. Can your team stop Timmons and Woodside? Nope…didn’t think so!
After Franklin County, Region 3 has two teams that are so similar in quality that you almost have to say their names together. Neither team is able to boast of being head and shoulders above the other. One team is going to say, “We won the regular season game,” but the other can say, “Yeah, but our record is better, and we beat the only two teams that beat you.” That’s right: it’s Conner (8-2) and Cooper (9-1). Which team is better? Well, that is a hotly debated question, with no real answer. Conner beat Cooper in the regular season, but Cooper beat the only two teams that could beat Conner - Dixie Heights and South Oldham. Who is better? The better question is, “Who will advance further?” This season, that will be Cooper; because Conner plays Franklin County first.
Region 3 Championship: Franklin County 52 Cooper 35
This is Harlan County’s Regional Championship to lose. Harlan County will rely on what has gotten them there: running the football. The Black Bears have run for 4,000 yards so far, and will continue to run the ball until someone stops them. Jake Middleton has 1,800 of those yards and has scored 166 points for Harlan County. The team that stops Middleton and the Black Bear ground game will put an end to their season. But if a team can’t stop the run, the Black Bears will be victorious.
Pulaski County (7-3), Whitley County (6-4), and Madison Southern (6-4) will be competing to see who will lose to Harlan County in the Regional Championship. All three teams have put together good seasons and have reason to be proud. But none of them will be able to stop the Back Bear attack this year.
Region 4 Championship: Harlan County 28 Pulaski County 14
Semifinals: Bowling Green 35 John Hardin 21
Semifinals: Franklin County 42 Harlan County 28
State Finals: Bowling Green 35 Franklin County 21