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Boyle County Bottles Robinson, Stakes Claim as Best Team in Class

Boyle County entered Friday's game with #9 Western Hills having won six straight, including district victories over Garrard County and Lexington Catholic. It would take a win over the Wolverines and talented running back Wandale Robinson to assure the Rebels a sixteenth district championship but first since 2013. Boyle's defense, which was allowing 88 yards per game on the ground, would be put to the test against Robinson, who averages 243 yards per game and is among the top recruits in the commonwealth. How did they fare? Like a state champion.

Boyle jumped ahead early, scoring four first quarter touchdowns and led 28-7 after one period. It was more of the same in period two as the Rebels went to half up 50-7 and with a running clock already in place. Certainly the game was out of reach, but what type of individual stats had Robinson posted? Not good. After running eight yards on the first play from scrimmage it was all downhill as Robinson went to the locker room having rushed seven times for -1 yards. Robinson would finish the night with 10 yards on 11 carries (he did have 52 yards receiving and a touchdown).

Boyle dominated on the ground, rushing for 414 yards as a team. Landen Bartleson led the winners with 117 yards and four touchdowns on the evening.

Now the questions about winning a state championship are about to become louder. Boyle has spent much of the season behind Belfry and Corbin in the Class 3A rankings but after Corbin's escape against Casey County [see below] there could be argument to move the Rebels to #2. Boyle holds impressive victories over 4A powers Wayne County and Collins, and with Belfry set to tussle with Johnson Central, who has spent the entire season top ranked in 4A, we might get a better sense of how the best of 3A compare. Boyle hasn't won a state championship since 2010 but it looks like there might be reason to clear some space in the trophy cabinet.

Corbin Finally Clicks, Puts Away Casey County

For three quarters Corbin and Casey County stood toe-to-toe in a battle for the District 8 championship. The second-ranked Redhounds and eight-ranked and undefeated Rebels were tied at 14 apiece going into the fourth frame before Corbin quarterback Cameron Sizemore hit Christian Gosselin from 13-yards out to push the Hounds ahead 21-14. Corbin would score twice more after recovering two Casey County fumbles to set the final margin at 35-14.

Corbin coach Justin Haddix told the Times-Tribune after the game, "a win is a win. We started playing better offense, and we got better field position. It clicked, and we got going." (Corbin claims fourth district title in a row with 35-14 win over Casey Co. | Sports | thetimestribune.com). The win gives Corbin a fourth consecutive district championship. However, just like 2016, when Corbin struggled to put away Casey County in the regular season and then had to beat them again in the playoffs, the Redhounds and Rebels look like solid bets to meet again in four weeks.

Clearing Up the Playoff Picture

Six of the eight 3A districts already know their first round playoff opponents. In Districts 3 and 6, however, the picture is a bit muddied. Both districts completed their circuit with three-way ties and will have to move to a tiebreaker to determine who is seeded where and in the case of District 3, who has to go home.

The KHSAA's tiebreaker procedure can be a touch complicated but in layman's terms, you get points for the number of wins teams you defeat have accumulated. Teams are allowed to count their four "best" victories. Put simply, if a team involved in the tiebreaker beat an eight-win team in the regular season, then that team gets eight points. Today we are going to look at the scenarios in each district, although final word won't be available until all games are completed next week.

District 3: Bardstown, Henry County, Thomas Nelson
Henry County holds the edge at this point with wins over Oldham County (5 wins) and Spencer County (2 wins), which account for seven points. Their win over Grant County, who is winless, doesn't help. (Henry also beat Bardstown, but you can't count wins against teams in the tiebreaker). Bardstown and Thomas Nelson have no points as every team they've defeated is currently winless. Henry looks primed for the third seed while it will take games next week to decide between Bardstown, who has a tough road trip to Warren East next week, and Thomas Nelson, which hosts Bethlehem.

District 6: Floyd Central, Lawrence County, Pike County Central
Both Floyd Central and Lawrence County have compiled 14 points while Pike County Central has only 11. Floyd Central plays winless Letcher County Central next week so a win there does little to help. Pike Central will be underdogs at Ridgeview (VA), but a win over the 7-1 Wolfpack could give the Hawks a home playoff game. Lawrence County has finished their regular season.

In conclusion, there are two things every school involved in tiebreakers is hoping for next week: (1) you need to win your own game and (2) you need every team you've beat during the course of the season to win their game. That isn't too much to ask, is it?!

Around the Rankings

#1 Belfry struggled early with turnovers before putting away Pike County Central in the second half, 53-7. The Pirate defense was strong as always, holding Pike Central to only four yards of offense in the second half.

#4 Elizabethtown had little trouble with rebuilding Bardstown, walloping the Tigers 48-0. Jay Becherer scored three times, twice on kick returns, for the Panthers.

#5 Central romped over district foe Thomas Nelson, 42-3. The Yellowjackets allowed only 17 points total in four district games.

#7 Lexington Catholic scored three early touchdowns and cruised to a 42-24 victory over Garrard County. Dameon Jones ran for 183 yards and three scores while Beau Allen passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

#10 Fleming County put the finishing touches on a perfect district season, shutting out Pendleton County 41-0. Quarterback Josh Crump threw for 312 yards and five scores in the victory.

Extra Points

Knott County Central used a balanced attack, rushing for 284 yards and passing for another 226, in a 48-34 playoff clinching win over Estill County. The win marks the third consecutive playoff appearance for the Patriots, but unfortunately means a third consecutive opening round trip to Corbin.

West Carter defeated Lewis County 49-16 on their way to clinching the four seed and a playoff berth in District 5. Peyton Brown led the winners with 184 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Hart County won for just the second time all season, but it was a big one. The 31-15 win over Adair County assures the Raiders a playoff appearance for the third straight season.

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

1. Johnson Central and Belfry. While a little of the shine came off this matchup after Ashland beat Johnson Central, any time these two mountain powers connect you can expect a war. Belfry has won the last two, but the Golden Eagles had won five of the six meetings before the recent Pirates streak.

2. Mayfield at Caldwell County. This marks the 11th consecutive season where these two western Kentucky powers will finish the regular season against each other. Mayfield has won seven of the last ten, with the last Caldwell victory coming in 2013.

3. Knox Central at Corbin. Early losses to Danville and Wayne County soured some on Knox Central, but the Panthers seem to be clicking on all cylinders as they move into the postseason. A win at Corbin, who struggled with Casey County last week but are still 8-1, would set the stage for a deep playoff run. This likely provides the last real test for Corbin until the regional championship game.

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)

Pleasure Ridge Park at Central. Just over eleven miles separates these two Jefferson County powers who will square off in the regular season finale for the ninth straight year. PRP has won five of the last eight. Both look capable of advancing deep in the playoffs.