3A Notebook: Started From the Bottom Now We're Here
Lexington Catholic and Central Starting to Look Like State Finalists
On Friday, September 23, Lexington Catholic was about to lose their fifth consecutive game and Central was wrapping up their first win after starting the season with four straight losses. Considered by many to be the two biggest favorites from the western half of Class 3A (BGP had LexCath #3 and Central #6 in the preseason), now there was speculation about what was wrong. A cursory glance at the schedules would show that of the nine losses suffered between the two teams, eight were to ranked teams and another to a team just outside the Top 10 in Class 6A. Even so, doubt was beginning to circulate among the purveyors of 3A football. That's all changed.
On Friday, October 14, Lexington Catholic polished off a 38-7 rout of Boyle County and Central held off Bardstown 21-19 and now many are pushing the Knights and Yellowjackets right back to near the top of Class 3A. Lexington Catholic (3-5) forced four second half turnovers, including two interceptions that were returned for scores, to turn a 13-7 halftime lead into a 38-7 blowout. Dameon Jones ran for 198 yards on the evening for the Knights, who have now won four straight against the Rebels dating back to 2014.
Meanwhile, in the rain in Bardstown, Central (4-4) withstood a failed two-point conversion late in the third quarter to knock off Bardstown and clinch their eleventh consecutive district title. The Yellowjackets produced a balanced attack that accounted for 159 yards on the ground and another 136 through the air. Central running back Cory Johnson, playing for the first time since injuring his ankle against Waggener on September 23, ran for 144 yards and two scores.
Region II Playoff Picture
With the wins, Lexington Catholic and Central both clinched district championships and will get at least two home playoff games. For the losers, the road gets much more challenging. Boyle County (4-4) will have to beat an improving Western Hills team this Friday to assure themselves of the #2 seed and a home date in the first round. Even with the loss, Bardstown (7-1) has locked up the #2 seed in District 3 and will host the Boyle County/Western Hills loser in the first round.
Boyle County lost their matchup with Lexington Catholic last season, the Rebels only regular season loss, and then fell to Central in the second round. Boyle coach Chuck Smith told the Danville Advocate-Messenger, “We’ll either split and pull apart, start blaming everybody and everything, or No. 2, we’ll come together like a team and a family should and rebound, get a plan together to turn this thing back around before this season is over with.” (Turnovers doom Boyle County at Lexington Catholic | The Advocate-Messenger).
Meanwhile, Central left Bardstown with a victory, but the Jackets were singing the praises of the Tigers. Coach Ty Scroggins told the Louisville Courier-Journal, “That team is pretty good and I hope they can go to Boyle County or Lexington Catholic and do a good job.” (Central claims district title with win at Bardstown | | USA Today High School Sports). Central running back Cory Johnson was already looking ahead to a potential rematch, saying “I actually think we might see them again in the playoffs. I know it would be a good game just like tonight was.”
E'town on the Ground
Elizabethtown ran past Adair County to move within grasp of their second consecutive district title while denying the Indians a chance at their first ever crown. E'town, who struggled early losing three of their first five games, ran for 321 yards to salt away Adair. The Panthers (5-3) were balanced on offense with Derek Smith rushing for 93 yards, Jay Becherer 87 yards and a score, and Kass Disney 78 yards and two touchdowns. Elizabethtown will have to beat Larue County next week to guarantee a district title, but the Panthers will be heavily favored.
Adair County lost for the second straight time and the once high-powered Indian offense, which averaged 45 points per game over their first six games, all victories, was held under 20 points for the second time in a row. Now Adair finds themselves in a win-or-go-home scenario against Hart County next week. An Adair victory could give the Indians a home playoff game (depending on the result of Elizabethtown/Larue County), while a loss would eliminate them from the postseason by virtue of their earlier loss to Edmonson County.
Around the Rankings
#1 Belfry (7-1) played without several starters due to various nagging injuries but had little trouble knocking off visiting Warrensville Heights (Ohio), 36-0. Philip Haywood's Pirates were methodical, moving the chains, punching it in, and dominant on defense.
#2 Corbin (7-1) cruised to a 50-0 win over Bell County. The Redhounds will travel to Casey County this week in a game that will decide the District 8 championship.
#5 Caldwell County (6-3) tossed a second consecutive shutout, this time a 38-0 blanking of Fort Campbell, to wrap up an undefeated district season and clinch their fifth straight district title and eighth in school history.
#8 Russell (7-1) allowed nearly as many points in one game as they had combined in their seven previous outings, but it was still more than enough as the Red Devils beat Lewis County, 62-28. Nick Conley moved into second place on the all-time rushing chart at Russell.
#10 Casey County (7-0) wasn't caught looking ahead to this week's meeting with Corbin, as they romped over Jackson County, 40-12. As always, the Rebels lit up the air behind quarterback Breece Hayes' 146 yards and three touchdowns. Backup quarterback Austin Campbell passed for another 101 yards and a score.
Estill County (6-2) secured their first district championship in school history with a 48-8 win at Morgan County. The Engineers ran for 304 yards as a team, which is just below their season average of 325 yards per game.
Western Hills beat Garrard County 28-24 to move to 6-2 on the season, the most wins for the Wolverines since going 8-4 in 2009. Sophomore running back WanDale Robinson, one week after missing nearly the entire game with Lexington Catholic due to injury, ran for 252 yards and three scores, including one from 98 yards.
Pike County Central (4-4) picked up the biggest win in first year coach Eric Ratliff's tenure with a 21-20 win at Lawrence County. The Hawks assured themselves a home playoff game for the first time since 2013.
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 Casey County. These two meet in a game that has never before had these kinds of stakes. Corbin is the favorite, ranked second in the Class, and looking to win the school's 31st district title. Home standing Casey County has never worn the district crown, but would with a win.
2. Elizabethtown at Larue County. Few would have predicted early in the season that this game would decide the District 2 champion, but both teams have shaken off slow starts and will look to continue their solid play. Elizabethtown will be looking to win their 14th district championship. Larue (4-4) is looking for their eighth title, the first since 2006, while also trying to beat E'town for the first time since 2012.
3. Boyle County at Western Hills. How will the Rebels respond after an unsettling defeat at the hands of Lexington Catholic? Boyle has dominated this series over the years, but must win to avoid a first round playoff game on the road. With a win, Western Hills would host their first playoff game since 2009.
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)
Waggener at Moore. This Jefferson County battle will pit two teams who have went in opposite directions this season. Waggener (5-3) was ranked seventh in the preseason but have struggled against good competition. Moore (6-3) was a preseason unknown, but has played well this season and is assured their first winning season since 2001. Both teams have already secured playoff berths and both will be on the road in the first round.
Last edited by gchs_uk9; Oct 16, 16 at 02:58 PM.