3A Notebook: Hilton Back to Winning Ways on Log Mountain

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    by gchs_uk9 is offline Premium Member
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    Dudley Hilton Once Again Making Bell County Winners

    After completing a 7-4 season that ended with a playoff loss to Wayne County in 2016, speculation was rife that Dudley Hilton would return to Bell County for a third stint as head coach of the Bobcats. Hilton told WYMT "they really kind of persuaded me to come back. I probably turned it down about 25 times. We've got a lot of pride. My name's out there on the field. Bell County football means a lot to the area. They've lost a lot of good coal jobs. My heart's here in Bell County." (Dudley Hilton heading back to Log Mountain). Three games into his third campaign on Log Mountain the Bobcats are undefeated and sitting on the cusp of a place they'd long since grown accustomed to: the top ten rankings.

    Antonio Zachary set the tone early with a long punt return for a touchdown and Bell County never looked back, defeating Pike County Central 47-26 on Thursday night. While victories over Middlesboro and Letcher County Central aren't as eye-catching as some others in 3A, after scoring only four wins in 2016 the Bobcats are certainly excited about any success.

    Hilton won state championships at Bell County in 1991 and 2008, sandwiched around a state title at Bourbon County in 1997. Is Hilton expecting a fourth crown now that he's back in Pineville? “I don’t know what we can do. I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win. My goal is to try and win the first game,” said Hilton. “I never dreamed I’d win one state championship, never dreamed I’d win two state championships, never dreamed I’d win three state championships. So, do you think I’m dreaming to win four? No, that’s the furthest thing from my mind. My thing is trying to get this team ready to play the next game.” (Middlesboro Daily News | Hilton returns to Bell)

    Surprise Unbeatens

    While Bell County has started 3-0, they aren't the only surprising club in Class 3A this season. Bath County, Edmonson County, Floyd Central, Larue County, and Union County are a combined 13-0 after three weeks of football. None of the five are currently ranked in the Bluegrasspreps Top Ten and all are in districts that include potential state championship contenders, but each club is striving to carve out space for themselves.

    In far western Kentucky, Coach Derek Johns' Union County Braves have romped over Marion County and Webster County by a combined 98-21. Union County (2-0) is led by running back Christopher Bledsoe who has ran for 204 yards and three scores, along with quarterback Jacob Winters who has completed only nine passes, but for 323 yards and five touchdowns.

    Moving closer to I-65, Edmonson County and Larue County are both positioning themselves to challenge Elizabethtown in District 2. Edmonson (3-0) is averaging 48 points per game while having allowed only 19 total in three games. Tucker Cole, Brayden Carey, and Kenny Logsdon are shouldering much of the offensive load for the Wildcats. Likewise, Coach Josh Jaggers and the Larue County Hawks are winning on the ground, with Bryson Cobb having already totaled 439 yards and eight touchdowns. The Hawks (3-0) can run, but they aren't letting opponents do the same - Larue is allowing only 171 yards per game on defense. Larue County hosts Edmonson County on October 20.

    Northeastern Kentucky's Bath County Wildcats have shown an ability to win close ballgames, with a 30-20 win over Rowan County and a 32-27 victory over Powell County on Thursday night. In his third season, Coach Johnny Poynter's club has positioned itself as a possible district contender and will face a stiff Class 3A challenge when they travel to ranked Western Hills this week.

    Finally, Floyd Central (3-0) continued their undefeated streak to open the school. The consolidation of Allen Central and South Floyd has generated an impressive set of Jaguars who cleared the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the season as a team in their 28-6 win over Breathitt County last week.

    Struggles at Breathitt County

    Hall of Famer Dudley Hilton started the football program at Breathitt County in 1975 and finished 2-9. The Bobcats, new to the sport entirely, had a field that was only sixty yards long and had to play all of their games on the road. (http://khsaa.org/httpdocs/hallfame/S...C%20Dudley.pdf) By 1978 they were 11-1, district champions, and making their first playoff appearance. Hilton eventually left for glory at Bell County, but Coach Mike Holcomb was able to reach heights previously unknown in Jackson, winning state championships in 1995, 1996, and again in 2002. The Bobcats claimed sixteen district crowns under Holcomb.

    When former Breathitt County quarterback Kyle Moore took over in 2013, the writing was on the wall for impending struggles. Declining enrollments have been perhaps the biggest culprit. In 1996, Breathitt County High School had 810 students. By 2003 those numbers had slipped to 614. The most recent enrollment reports show 522 students. Reduction in students often means reduction in talent, which is unfortunately evident this season as the Bobcats have started 0-3.

    Is there hope on the horizon? Perhaps. Two of the three losses for Breathitt County to start this season have come against 5A schools. When the next realignment starts in 2019 it is almost guaranteed that Breathitt County will drop to Class 2A, which could put them with more similarly sized schools like Leslie County, Prestonsburg, and Shelby Valley. The history of Breathitt County football is strong, but when they were practicing on shortened fields forty years ago nobody in Jackson expected championships. Here's hoping that the Bobcats can again rise from struggles to take their rightful place among mountain powers.

    Around the Rankings

    #1 Corbin (3-0) suffered no let down from its win over Alcoa (TN), ripping Pulaski County 36-7.

    #2 Belfry (1-1) went to Lexington and sloshed forward to over 600 rushing yards in topping Bryan Station 40-19.

    #3 Elizabethtown (2-0) thoroughly dismantled 6A North Hardin 50-14 in a game moved to Saturday night. Four Panthers scored rushing touchdowns on the evening.

    #4 Central (3-0) continued its impressive start to the season shutting out 5A power Fern Creek 29-0. Luke Bowman recorded eleven tackles for a defensive unit that is allowing only four points per game.

    #5 Boyle County (2-1) was plagued by turnovers in a 10-7 loss to cross-town rival Danville. The Rebels compiled over 300 yards of total offense but threw three interceptions and had a late fumble that led to the game-winning field goal.

    #6 Lexington Catholic (2-1) made plays on the ground instead of their customary air show in besting neighbors Lafayette 25-0. Keith Brinkman, with one carry on the season, was relied on in the rain and responded with 187 yards and two touchdowns (High school football highlights: Knights storm past Generals; ’Dores top Black Bears | Lexington Herald-Leader).

    #7 Caldwell County (2-1) had to wait an extra day, but it was worth it as they beat Hopkinsville 28-21 on the road. Joby Jaggers passed for 174 and a score in the win.

    #8 Paducah Tilghman (1-2) undid some of the early season good by losing to Mayfield for the twelfth straight time, 47-14. Tilghman trailed 20-6 at halftime and were blitzed after the break.

    #9 Russell (0-2) remained winless on the season, losing across the Ohio River to Ironton, 35-7. It gets no easier next week as the Red Devils square off with rival Ashland.

    Extra Points

    Trigg County (2-1) won for the second straight week, beating Crittenden County 29-20. It was the first win for the Wildcats at Crittenden since 1997.

    Lawrence County (2-1) squeaked out a win against rival Prestonsburg, 37-32. Quarterback (yes, quarterback!) Noah West rushed 38 times for 406 yards and four touchdowns in the win.

    Magoffin County put their first victory on the board for 2017 when they beat East Ridge, 36-24, on Thursday night. Quarterback Ryan Mullins threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns while running for another 100 yards for the Hornets (1-2).

    Three to See
    (Each week the 3A Notebook will preview the three best games featuring Class 3A teams for the coming week)

    1. Corbin at Beechwood. Class 1A and 3A's top ranked squads face off in northern Kentucky. Corbin's offense will try to dent a Beechwood defense that has allowed two touchdowns in two games.

    2. Elizabethtown at Christian Academy-Louisville. E'town travels to Louisville to face the top-ranked Centurions in what should be a classic. CAL has wins over two 6A schools and one 5A. Elizabethtown has handled to larger schools with ease themselves.

    3. Wayne County at Boyle County. Boyle gets no time to lick its wounds as 4A power Wayne County, a 12th Region rival in all sports, comes to Rebel Field this Friday. Boyle leads the all-time series 4-0, but these two haven't played since 1982.

    Just One More
    (Tired of the same teams every week? Want to go off the beaten path for a 3A game this Friday night? Each week we'll look at an under-the-radar matchup to watch in Class 3A)

    Lexington Catholic at Lexington Christian. An argument can certainly be made for putting this game in the top three, but the Knights and Eagles will have to settle for this position. Catholic makes the two mile drive to LCA to face an Eagle foe looking to move to the top of the Class 2A rankings. The Knights lead the series 3-0, but this will be the first meeting since 2010.
    Last edited by gchs_uk9; Sep 3, 17 at 02:43 PM.

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    Jun 10

    Still no mention of Fleming County? I am not saying they are a top 5 team but they did beat the same Greenup County team that beat Russell. That's Ok though. They probably like being under the radar.

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    Sep 02

    Quote Originally Posted by Pick-six View Post
    Still no mention of Fleming County? I am not saying they are a top 5 team but they did beat the same Greenup County team that beat Russell. That's Ok though. They probably like being under the radar.
    Check back in a couple days!

    (I did have a short piece on their win over Mason County last week)
    Last edited by gchs_uk9; Sep 3, 17 at 04:08 PM.

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    Sep 02