3A Notebook: Powell County Erases Chalk in Victory over Casey County
Powell County to Make Second Appearance in Regional Final
Chalk is a gambling term which refers to the favored team or horse. If you bet on the favorite, you are betting the chalk. It stems from the days when your neighborhood bookie would write all the betting lines on a chalkboard. Eight second round Class 3A playoff games were played on Friday night and in seven the team ranked highest by Bluegrasspreps won. The eighth game was a surprise. Because of that shock, the Powell County Pirates will host Corbin in the regional final next week.
Powell County, losers of their first four games this season, has now won eight consecutive games, although the eighth was never easy. Casey County, ranked eighth in Class 3A, led 21-10 at halftime and extended the lead in the third quarter before Powell mounted a furious rally. The lead changed hands four times in the final frame before Powell pushed the margin to 10, 44-34, with under six minutes remaining. Casey scored, then held Powell, and drove all the way to the two yard line before falling just short in their bid for a second straight trip to the regional final.
Powell County's balanced attack helped contribute to the victory. As a team, the Pirates rushed for 284 yards, with Nathan Skidmore accounting for 190 of those along with a touchdown. Quarterback John Brooks threw for 223 yards and three scores on the evening. More significantly, Powell held a previously potent Casey passing attack that averaged 206 yards per game through the air to only 84 yards.
Now the Pirates move to their regional final for only the second time in school history (they previously fell to Garrard County, 48-16, in 2011). Awaiting them is third-ranked Corbin, another herculean task for the Pirates. But it is possible that coach Brandon Brewer's club still has their eraser.
Corbin (11-1) didn't exactly dominate, but they didn't have much trouble either, advancing with a 32-6 victory over Bell County. Redhounds quarterback Cameron Sizemore hit Jordan Fox with a fourth quarter touchdown pass to seal the victory and eliminate Bell for the third year in a row.
While many expected Corbin to host Casey County in the regional final, the Powell County upset means the Redhounds must travel to Stanton for round three. And if Powell is still a newbie to regional finals, Corbin is old hat - this marks their 29th regional final appearance and the Hounds will be looking for their seventeenth victory, second only to Belfry among 3A schools.
If there was little excitement in Round Two in Region III, that is because there was so much anticipation for next Friday night. Top-ranked Belfry and fourth-ranked Central took care of business this weekend to set the stage for a classic next week. Belfry (11-1) contained Waggener superstar Jairus Brents enough early to take a 28-6 halftime lead and eventually won 63-26 (coincidentally, the exact same score they defeated Thomas Nelson by last week). Running the ball was again the name of the game for the Pirates as they rushed for 396 yards on the evening. A troubling bit of news going into this week, however, was star fullback Derek Wellman had to the leave the game with a lower leg injury and his status going forward is unknown at this time.
While Belfry was posting a second straight identical score, so too was Central. The Yellowjackets (10-2) ended Floyd Central's inaugural season with a 50-0 pasting. Mykah Williams ran for 186 and four touchdowns on only 18 carries and the Jackets only attempted five passes on the evening. Floyd Central was held to 54 total yards on the night.
Now we get a game usually reserved for championship weekend but due to cross-bracketing will be played in round three. Belfry and Central have never met outside of the state championship game, where Central won four times and Belfry has won twice. Expect a classic battle among the two bellwether programs in Class 3A.
Boyle County dominated Western Hills to the tune of 62-14 on Friday night, a blowout matched only by the 71-14 victory over the Wolverines on October 20. Boyle did most of their damage on the ground as both Tanner Crawford (177 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Landen Bartleson (115 yards, 3 touchdowns) both cleared the century mark. On defense, second-ranked Boyle was able to contain Wandale Robinson for the most part, allowing only 77 yards on the ground, although Robinson did return a kickoff seventy yards for a touchdown.
Now the Rebels (11-1) must tackle Lexington Catholic in the playoffs for the eleventh time in school history. Both squads have won five games in the postseason series, though Catholic has won the last three. Certainly Boyle knows the challenge facing them. As Chuck Smith told the Advocate-Messenger, "It’s going to be a tough game...They score so many points, that’s what will make it so difficult. We’ve got to play our best football to beat them." (Rebels pound Western Hills 62-14 | The Advocate-Messenger)
How did Lexington Catholic (7-5) get to this point? It wasn't easy but when it happened it happened quickly. Garrard County took a 16-14 lead to halftime but the sixth-ranked Knights scored five times in the third quarter and would finish with a 56-16 victory. Quarterback Beau Allen threw for 351 yards and six touchdowns while the Knights' defense allowed their fewest points since shutting out Lafayette on September 1.
Can Catholic beat Boyle? The regular season meeting went to Boyle County, 48-17, although the Knights were competitive for the entire first half. If LexCath wins, it will send them to their eighth state semifinals. But that looks to be a really big if.
Larue County compiled 261 yards of total offense in the first half while holding Caldwell County to only 109. That should mean a win, yes? Not on Friday as turnovers doomed the Hawks and Caldwell advanced to their fifth consecutive regional final game, winning 40-27.
Caldwell quarterback Joby Jaggers tossed a five yard touchdown pass to Trel Riley with thirteen seconds left before halftime, giving the #7 Tigers a 26-20 edge at the break. Jameer Riley then scored on the opening drive of the second half and intercepted a Larue pass on the ensuing drive. Jaggers tossed another score, this time to Gabe East to end the third quarter, and the game was all but on ice.
Caldwell (10-2) will now host an Elizabethtown club that has won nine straight and have only allowed 53 points during that stretch. Fifth-ranked E'town (11-1) romped over Paducah Tilghman, 41-0, with Tyler Durbin going 7-for-7 through the air, with five of those throws going for touchdowns.
The Panther victory sets up a third consecutive Elizabethtown/Caldwell County regional final. Mark Brown told the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise, "We know...it’s gonna be a tough game. They’re gonna be ready for us because we beat them the last two years and I’m sure they’re sore about that. We’re gonna have to play one of our best games if we’re gonna beat them." (PREP FOOTBALL: Panthers blow by Tilghman (11/12) | Sports | thenewsenterprise.com)
Caldwell County coach David Barnes likely spoke for all eight regional finalists when he praised his team for making it to the regional final, but then told Yoursportsedge.com he wants to "win the thing" (Caldwell County Wants to "Win the Thing" This Time | Your Sports Edge).