3A Notebook: Opening Weekend Serves Notice of Class 3A Caliber

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    by gchs_uk9 is offline Premium Member
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    Five Ranked Teams Beat Higher Class Opponents, Three of Which were Ranked

    With much of the preseason talk centered around the possibility of four-time defending state champion Belfry returning to the pack in Class 3A, five of the top six ranked programs served notice that they were more than ready to challenge the mighty Pirates. The most impressive victory came from #3 Elizabethtown, who won at 4A #5 Franklin-Simpson, 55-23. Jay Becherer ran for 155 yards and two scores while Joseph Becherer clipped off 104 yards and two scores himself. Not to be outdone, quarterback Tyler Durbin tossed three touchdown scores. The schedule doesn't get easier as the Panthers face North Hardin and Christian Academy-Louisville in their next two games, but this might be the best team in 3A.

    When Ty Scroggins left Central last offseason it produced questions about the future of the program. New coach Marvin Dantzler showed the strength of the squad is the same as it always is - defense. Fourth-ranked Central held Manual, ranked #8 in Class 6A, to -13 yards rushing in the contest. Takaius Linton led the Yellowjackets offense with 79 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

    After an ugly scrimmage defeat to Madison Central there were some asking questions about this version of Boyle County. Those questions can be put aside, at least for one week, as the Rebels romped to a 41-6 victory over 4A #7 John Hardin at Mercer County. Boyle rode a Reese Smith second quarter pick-six to a 27-0 halftime lead and coasted from there.

    Corbin traveled down I-75 to rival Whitley County and came away with a hard-fought 14-0 victory. #2 Corbin turned it over several times and was unable to muster much offense, but the Redhounds defense was solid against an improving Whitley County program. Corbin's next four games are a murder's row - Alcoa (TN), Pulaski County, Beechwood, and Mayfield.

    Fifth-ranked Lexington Catholic scored an impressive opening win on the road at 6A Madison Central, toppling the Indians 34-24 in the nightcap of the Roy Kidd Bowl. Quarterback Beau Allen, who assumed starting duties late last season and parlayed that success to an offer from Mark Stoops at Kentucky, passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

    Wait 'til Next Week

    The rankings staff at Bluegrasspreps.com felt there was a consensus as to the best seven preseason teams in Class 3A. Five of those got to prove it on the field in the first week. Two teams that bookend that ranking, #1 Belfry and #7 Russell, were open and won't get a chance to prove their mettle until next weekend. Belfry will host West Virginia AAA power Huntington in the annual Pike County Bowl while Russell hosts county rival Greenup County. Both clubs have several holes to fill from last season but are still expected to field strong teams.

    All Is Not Lost

    While the top seven were either winning or resting, the bottom three were showing, even in defeat, that they have the ability to make noise in Class 3A. Caldwell County, ranked eighth in the preseason, performed admirably in a home loss to 5A #2 Christian County, falling 27-10. Caldwell, somewhat unexpectedly after last season, is breaking in a new signal caller this year. Look for the Tiger offense to start clicking on all cylinders in the not-too-distant future.

    Paducah Tilghman and McCracken County have opened the season against one another in each of the last five seasons. Prior to Saturday night, both had won two games. In a fitting rubber match, McCracken bested ninth-ranked Tilghman 20-19 in overtime, spoiling the debut of Coach Steve Duncan. Tilghman's PAT in overtime was blocked, snuffing out an opportunity to move to a second extra stanza. It was the first time in five games that the home team had won.

    Wandale Robinson ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns but it wasn't enough as tenth-ranked Western Hills fell to county rival Franklin County, 24-20. Hills, who have won only one playoff game in school history, are looking to take a big step in a daunting district that includes Lexington Catholic, Boyle County, and Garrard County.

    Extra Points

    Casey County picked up where they left off in 2016, scoring a ton of points. Steve Stonebraker's Rebels waltzed to a 50-7 win over Barren County. First year starting quarterback Austin Campbell threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns to lead Casey.

    Bell County won in Dudley Hilton's third debut as Bobcats coach, knocking off rival Middlesboro, 42-21.

    Garrard County blanked Powell County in a 3A matchup, 38-0. The Golden Lions were powered by senior running back Josh Warren's 144 yards and four touchdowns. Garrard held Powell to fifty yards on the ground.

    Henry County got their first ever victory over Oldham County, beating the Colonels 20-14 in overtime. After missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years in 2016, expectations are high for a return to form in New Castle.

    Larue County gave "new" coach Josh Jaggers a 49-8 win over Marion County. Jaggers coached Larue from 2012-14 before serving as an assistant at John Hardin the last two seasons. Talent has been bubbling in Hodgenville; this Hawks club could be primed to make a move.

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

    1. Covington Catholic at Lexington Catholic. It's a Catholic Battle Royale in the annual Bluegrass Bowl. The two programs have split the last two meetings, each by one point, with Covington Catholic winning 21-20 in 2016. Both teams look capable of winning state championships.

    2. Alcoa (TN) at Corbin. Corbin, looking to win their first state title in 35 years, hosts Tennessee powerhouse Alcoa in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic. The Tornadoes, alma mater of former Kentucky great and current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb, have won fifteen Volunteer State championships, including three in the last four years.

    3. Huntington (WV) at Belfry. Belfry will meet the Highlanders for the first time in school history as they host the Pike County Bowl. The Pirates are no stranger to out-of-state competition, with Huntington serving as the ninth such opponent in the last five years.

    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)

    Garrard County at Madison Southern. Two programs separated by just twenty miles will meet for the sixteenth time. Garrard won the first fourteen games in series history before the Eagles finally broke through with a 21-18 win in Lancaster in 2016.
    Last edited by gchs_uk9; Aug 20, 17 at 03:30 PM.

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    ttt

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    3. Huntington (WV) at Belfry. Belfry will meet the Highlanders for the first time in school history as they host the Pike County Bowl. The Pirates are no stranger to out-of-state competition, with Huntington serving as the ninth such opponent in the last five years.
    I have to say, this game interests me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram View Post
    I have to say, this game interests me.
    Same here. There's at least some questions after Belfry graduated so many good players, but I don't know enough about Huntington to say whether they're good enough to come win AT Belfry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gchs_uk9 View Post
    Same here. There's at least some questions after Belfry graduated so many good players, but I don't know enough about Huntington to say whether they're good enough to come win AT Belfry.
    Huntington High is normally pretty athletic. I'm not sure about them this season. But, they are a large school that should make Belfry better win or lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gchs_uk9 View Post
    Same here. There's at least some questions after Belfry graduated so many good players, but I don't know enough about Huntington to say whether they're good enough to come win AT Belfry.
    They are. They have one of the best linemen in the country and they are big up front. They also have tons of speed and a talented backfield. It will be a tough test for the new look Pirates.

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    Impressed that Central's defense lost nothing after Scoggins' departure. 3A looks awfully talented.

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    I think 3A is going to be a lot of fun to follow in 2017. There isn't a clear favorite, and that is good for the class. There are at least 6 teams who could win the title and it wouldn't be considered an upset.

    How many different teams will we see at the top of the rankings before the season is over? I think it will be a few.

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