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REGION I

It is only fitting that when you begin to preview the teams in Class 2A moving from West to East, the top of the bracket begins with District 1 Champion Mayfield as the very first team on the bracket. The Cardinals have grown accustomed to being on top and as they begin their Class 2A Title Defense, they enter as the favorite.

Mayfield has put the finishing touches on a 10-0 season and should hold court at home the first two rounds with limited resistance. The law firm of Bright, Arnett, & Lumson has lit up scoreboards all season and will continue their path of destruction through King Rex and Butler County. Awaiting them in the Regional Finals will be their first real test as Owensboro Catholic will host a re-match of a much-anticipated playoff game from last season. The Aces have a balanced Offense and a dynamic playmaker in RB Vonn Williams, but Catholic must play their best game of the season on Defense to hang with the Cardinals.

Last year Catholic found the recipe to hinder Mayfield’s pace but could not sustain enough Offensive success to overcome the Cardinals. Neither team is quite as good on Defense as last season, but Mayfield has proven every bit as lethal on Offense and should be able to seal the game away late in one of those "Competitive but never in doubt" type of fashions.

Region I Championship: Mayfield 33 Owensboro Catholic 14


REGION II

In 2015 it was a two horse race for the Region II crown as heavy favorites Christian Academy- Louisville and DeSales went chalk with very little resistance. District 3 will put forth a little bit of a surprising delegate as Glasgow will look to close the gap on the two Louisville powers and try to run the gauntlet. Dessi Austin has been a revelation for the Scotties at Quarterback and has enough weapons around him to at the very least make DeSales a little timid in their 2nd Round meeting. The Colts have a Championship Defense, but have struggled to find their footing on Offense and could be an outside shot of an upset pick in Round 2 as they head to Southern Kentucky. Expect Glasgow to put a formidable fight up, but fate will once again align for yet another CAL vs. DeSales Regional Finals game.

Stefan LeFors' band of Centurions benefited greatly by securing the one seed with their regular season win over DeSales. Not only do they get a more favorable path to the Regional Finals, they also get the advantage of Home Field Advantage over in Eastern Jefferson County. Expect CAL to make short work of an undermanned Metcalfe County to set up their date with destiny.

We all know now that DeSales owns CAL come November. The Centurions have had teams capable of being State Champions but have yet to advance beyond the Third Round as DeSales has put a stranglehold in the re-match department. The first meeting between these two proved to be everything it was billed as, a defensive war won by a team just able to make enough big plays to win. Why will CAL finally overcome the DeSales hurdle? Milton Wright. The Standout Sophomore will be the most dynamic athlete on the field and will make enough plays for CAL to break their playoff curse and survive another “slobber knocker”.

Region II Championship: Christian Academy- Louisville 21 DeSales 13

REGION III

Welcome to the Newport Central Catholic Invitational Tournament! Make yourself at home, grab some hot chocolate, but don’t forget to take all your gear with you when you get eliminated. NewCath has made themselves accustomed to Thanksgiving football and will once again be the favorite to advance out of Region 3 once more. The Breds may not have the star player with the eye popping stats, but they make up for it with an overall efficient team with great size and grit that is hard for other 2A foes to match. NewCath got pushed a little by Lloyd Memorial toward the end of the regular season, but the Juggs look like a team with doubt and probably do not have the Offensive Firepower to get the job done in the re-match.

The District 5 teams typically have a hard time handling the schools from closer to the Ohio River. Walton-Verona continues to show signs of being a young program with staying power, but the Bearcats were outscored by District 6’s 2nd and 3rd seeded teams a combined 82-0 to open the season. Covington Holy Cross will visit Bearcat Nation in Round 2 and I expect Walton-Verona to compete much better, but Barnes and Abernathy will simply have too much skill as Holy Cross wins a game that is never in doubt but never a running clock.

Can the Indians get over the hump? Since the 6 Class System only one time has a team not named Newport Central Catholic represented the East, it was Holy Cross. The Indians learned some hard lessons in the regular season loss to the Thoroughbreds where they posted a donut in the scoring column. Expect some of those changes to help close the gap and make for a nip and tuck battle that comes down to the small details. In a game that field position is paramount and a Quarterback will be asked to make plays on 3rd and Medium, it will be the big leg of Trent Wrobleski and Patrick Henschen’s experience that prove the difference with a late drive on a short field.

Region III Championship: Newport Catholic 22 Covington Holy Cross 20


REGION IV

By now people are starting to forget that for about a 4 year stretch Lexington Christian Academy was one of Kentucky’s best small school programs. The Eagles have shown signs of flashes in recent years, but until LCA outlasted District foe Danville for a 42-40 win, LCA and their undefeated record was the Rodney Dangerfield on this season’s Class 2A season. Dillon Wheatley is getting hot at the right time after his production took a dip from 2015’s gaudy stats. LCA will need him to show up in the Second Round as the hard luck Briar Jumpers will seek revenge and a major upset. Somerset has struggled to close out the game for the big upset and expect more of the same as they will give LCA all they want before releasing the lead late.

Danville rode momentum into the 2016 season and for the First Half of the season seemed to be the favorite by many to represent the East. The Admirals pass the look test and have a trio of skill players that nearly every 2A school would envy in the triumvirate of QB Zach Dampier, RB Don Harris, and WR Dmauriae VanCleave. The Admirals must feel as if there is work to be done after a narrow Semi-Finals loss in 2015 in a game they felt they should have won. The Admirals will out-athlete Allen Central and should be able to do the same against a pretty solid Leslie County team. Danville will need to keep their focus in Hyden as it is a tough place to play and Leslie County is an under the radar type of team who might be able to surprise the Ads early on if they are not prepared for the Eagles’ intensity. Danville though should be able to rally in the Second Half to secure the win in convincing fashion.

Admiral fans had a bitter taste in their mouth following the loss to LCA in the regular season and some even chalked it up to being a fluke. What can’t be ignored though was the Eagles' balance on Offense and the success they sustained by keeping the Admiral Defense spread out and letting Wheatley pound for yards in the middle of the field. When simply squaring these teams up, it is hard to deny Danville looks the better team on paper, but there is something to be said for an undefeated team that still may not be getting the respect they deserve. Do not expect another score in the 80’s, but expect LCA to go stride for stride with the Admirals to the point that Danville fans have to wonder out loud “We should be winning this game!”. The game will be decided in the 4th Quarter by veteran leaders and this is where Danville finally gets the edge. Dampier makes the throws and the Ads survive an instant classic behind Fayette Mall.

Region IV Championship: Danville 38 Lexington Christian Academy 34


STATE SEMIFINALS:
Mayfield 28 CAL 16
Danville 26 Newport Central Catholic 10


STATE FINALS:
Mayfield 36 Danville 19