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For the past four years, 4A at the top has been extremely predictable. Johnson Central has been perpetually in the top 1-2 teams, and has made four straight 4A title games, winning once. The District 2 representative has been lined up across the field from them in each of those four games, with the last three coming against Franklin-Simpson. The two teams have their very own Clemson-Alabama type rivalry going, with Franklin-Simpson taking the last two titles. Even Wayne County has gotten in on the consistency train, with three semifinal appearances in four years. That means three teams have accounted for 10 of the 16 semifinal appearances in 4A the last four seasons. But just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about 4A, along comes realignment. The class boasts four finalists from last season’s state title games. 4A just went from one of the shallowest classes in terms of quality teams to one of the deepest. It's a new day in 4A.

1. Boyle County (2018: 13-1; 3A State Semifinalists)
Head Coach: Chuck Smith

The Rebels enter their new home in 4A still smarting from unfinished business in 3A a season ago. After winning the last 12 games of 2017, including capturing the 3A title, they kept it rolling into a 13-0 start, and what was ultimately a 25 game winning streak. But it all came crashing down in a 21-0 loss to eventual state runner-up Corbin. Boyle County entered the game averaging nearly 42 PPG – they were shutout for the first time in seven years and accounted for just 208 yards of offense.

Only ten seniors graduated from that 13-1 squad, and the Rebels return almost the entirety of their offensive and defensive production. So, as you can imagine, they’ll be out to finish the job this time. Senior QB Reed Lanter returns to build on his 2018 campaign which saw him throw for 2,949 yards, 39 TDs, and just 6 INTs. He has nearly 6,000 yards and 67 passing TDs for his career entering his third season as a starter. Four of his five linemen from last season return, and he’ll have the services of his primary receivers from a season ago. None are more crucial than Mr. Football candidate and West Virginia commit Reese Smith. Smith hauled in 53 passes for 1,173 yards a season ago, scoring 20 touchdowns on those receptions. That’s roughly two TDs for every five passes caught. He additionally had three interceptions on the defensive side of the ball, including taking one of those to the house. Senior RB Landen Bartleson will look to take over the primary ball carrier role, finishing second on the team in 2018 with 768 yards on 109 rushes, 12 of them for TDs. Defensively, the majority of starters return for a unit that forced 25 turnovers last year. That includes one man wrecking crew Wilson Kelly, pulling double duty on the offensive and defensive line. He posted 25 tackles for loss in matching returning linebacker Ezarious Roller for a team leading 72 solo tackles.

Boyle County moves into 4A District 5, which features fellow Top 10 team and traditional rival Lexington Catholic as well as a strong Anderson County team dropping down from 5A. With the new playoff format, that means those teams, along with Bourbon County, are who they will go against in the first two rounds. For the region final round, teams like Johnson Central and Corbin will be in play with the new RPI formula. Boyle County is our favorite, but it will not be an easy road.

2. Johnson Central (2018: 13-2; 4A State Runners-Up)
Head Coach: Jim Matney

The old 4A was good to Johnson Central, yielding the aforementioned four title game appearances and state title. Their title series with Franklin-Simpson ended with the Wildcats taking the rubber match as Johnson Central fell just short at 14-12. Averaging 46.4 PPG entering the title match, the Golden Eagles could manage only six points until a Joe Jackson TD run with just 57 seconds remaining. They tried a pitch to Jackson for a two point conversion and the tie, but the play never had a chance, losing two yards on the play and the championship. The singular state title is a relative bit of disappointment considering all the appearances, but still – this program has gone 51-8 in the last four seasons. They are a blueprint of success by any measure.

19 seniors depart from last year’s squad, but Johnson Central actually returns quite a bit of production. Six offensive starters and seven defensive starters return. Devin Johnson will be asked to take on a much larger share of the carries and step in for stud graduate Joe Jackson. Johnson ran for 1,218 yards and 14 TDs on just 108 carries, averaging an eye-popping 11.28 YPC. Averaging a first down every time you touch the ball is considered pretty adequate. Riley Preece returns at quarterback, and will be a fourth year starter at the position. He mostly throws to keep teams honest, with a modest 1,039 yards passing a season ago, but was the team’s third leading rusher with 852 yards and 19 scores on 89 carries – almost averaging a first down per carry himself. Bryce Tackett (68 carries, 521 yards, 6 TDs) also returns at fullback to help anchor the rushing attack that is the staple of every Johnson Central team. This is a squad that had rushing account for 84% of their over 6,000 yard output. Expect to see the ground and pound often. They do lose three of five starting linemen, but every backup from last year returned. The news is similar on the defensive side where they lose two of their three down linemen, but return the backups. Devin Johnson will be expected to continue his strong play on that side of the ball as well, notching 107 total tackles, including 21 tackles for loss a season ago from his linebacker position. Hunter McCloud (96 total tackles, 19 TFL) joins Johnson in anchoring the linebacker corps while Braiden Castle (65 total tackles, 14 TFL) is the lone returning lineman, manning the middle at nose guard.

The Golden Eagles will open the season with Lafayette, playing on the opening week for the first time in seven years, and play an out of district schedule that includes three teams out of state along with powers Simon Kenton and Belfry. Their chief rival Ashland leaves the district for 3A, leaving Johnson Central as even more of a favorite than they’ve been recently. It should be smooth sailing for them through the first two rounds before the all-important RPI re-seeding takes place. They’ll be strong favorites if they can grab the top seed, but may have to contend with Boyle County or Corbin in the region finals otherwise.

3. Corbin (2018: 13-2; 3A State Runners-Up)
Head Coach: Justin Haddix

Corbin has been achingly close to ending their now 37 year state title drought in the past two seasons. Coach Haddix guided the Redhounds to the last two 3A state title games, but came up empty in each. Last year was the more heartbreaking, as Corbin lost just 20-19 to Central a week after shutting out the class favorite Boyle County. A failed two point conversion and missed field goal proved to be the difference in that one. Corbin has made the region finals or better in each of their seasons under Haddix, and have made at least the state semifinals in the last four seasons.

The Redhounds did lose a very sizable senior class from the 2018 campaign, graduating 20 players. That included three starting offensive linemen and most crucially, QB Chase Estep and his 3,026 yards passing. Sophomore Evan Poore is the only QB on the roster that threw a pass last season, going 2/6 for 44 yards. While they develop that position, freak athlete Treyveon Longmire will be heavily leaned on. He led the team in rushing a season ago, posted 611 yards and 4 scores on just 69 attempts, good enough for 8.85 YPC. Longmire is heavily sought after, commanding offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Purdue, and Florida State. He’s a threat in the receiving game as well, scoring once out of every three receptions he had last year while posting 7 TDs and 524 yards. Top receiver Jacob Steely also returns off a season where he had nearly 1,000 yards, settling in at 960 yards on 57 receptions. Expect more of a rushing attack than last year, at least early on. Defensively, they face similar challenges with departures. Four starters return, led by DE Ethan Wine. Wine was #2 on the team last year in solo tackles, posting 36 while recovering 2 fumbles. He also turned in a staggering 21 sacks, so he knows how to get after the QB. Cole Shelton also returns at the rover position, posting 30 solo and 50 assisted tackles a season ago. He picked off four passes, returning one for a touchdown.

A great deal of this ranking is taken on faith in the consistency of the Corbin program and their recent performance. They will be extremely battle tested by the time the postseason rolls around, as they will run a veritable gauntlet. They take on Beechwood, Bowling Green, Lafayette, and Pulaski County in non-district play, and will be contending with strong programs like Knox Central and Wayne County in their district. It is fair to say that they and their district-mates may have the hardest road to Lexington, beating up on each other before likely facing either Boyle County or Johnson Central before they even reach the state semifinal round.

4. Franklin-Simpson (2018: 14-1; 4A State Champions)
Head Coach: Doug Preston

The margins were much closer in the 2018 postseason for Franklin-Simpson, but the end result was the same – a state title over Johnson Central. The numbers for Franklin last year were hugely impressive – 40.1 PPG scored, nearly 28 PPG average margin of victory, and only a loss to 5A state champion South Warren on the resume. It was their defense that ultimately secured the victory against Johnson Central, stonewalling their two point conversion attempt for a tie in the title game, earning a 14-12 victory.

A lot changes from that edition, particularly on offense. Three linemen plus the tight end depart off the line, as does a staggering 3,800 yards and 52 touchdowns in rushing production with the graduation of Tree Bass and Carlos McKinney. Tedric Partinger returns as a starter at wingback, turning in a solid 453 yards and 6 scores on just 34 carries. He’s a burner, just like Bass was. Sophomore Luke Richardson returns for another turn at quarterback. Passing has not been a major cog of the Wildcat attack, but Richardson did post 828 yards a season ago, and went 5/7 in the championship game to help keep the Johnson Central defense honest. The pass made a prominent appearance in their smashing of Apollo in their last scrimmage. If that dimension opens up for the Wildcats, there will be few defenses – if any – in 4A that can truly handle them. Malik Carter (33 rushes, 197 yards, 2 TDs) should step into McKinney’s fullback role, while Leandre Stutzman (13 rushes, 130 yards, 2 TDs) should man the other wingback position. Stutzman made an impact a season ago catching passes out of the backfield, with 253 yards on 10 receptions. Defensively, the story is a little better. AJ Burr and Dalton Hunter return on the line, while Connor Rogers returns as an anchor at linebacker. Rogers notched 30 tackles for loss a year ago and 71 solo tackles. Burr and safety Chase Gooch combined for 14 sacks. Partinger will be asked to do his part on the defensive side of the ball as well. He plays weak safety, where he had 56 solo tackles and 2 INTs last season – one returned for a score.

Unlike their counterparts on the eastern side of the bracket, the realignment has done little to rock Franklin’s world, at least not early on. Their district adds Russell County, but the Wildcats will remain an overwhelming favorite in district play and the first two rounds of the playoffs. Central is added to the mix as a challenger in the region final round, but Madisonville figures to be their biggest challenge there. Meade County and South Warren appear to be the only true challengers to Franklin in their non-district schedule. There’s every reason to believe Franklin will be no worse than 10-2 when they reach the region finals.

5. Madisonville-North Hopkins (2018: 10-3; 4A Region Runners-Up)
Head Coach: Jay Burgett

It wasn’t Johnson Central that truly pushed Franklin-Simpson most in their title run, but rather the Maroons of Madisonville-North Hopkins. The champions from District 1 took a 7-0 lead on Franklin early in the second quarter, becoming the first team to take a lead on them in 10 games. They still led 10-0 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, but fell behind by the final 12-10 margin with 5 minutes left in the game. It was a bit of a surprising result for Madisonville, which stumbled to a 2-2 start which included a blowout loss at Owensboro and a loss to lightly regarded Union County. But they found the key in winning some low scoring games, with four victories scoring 21 points or less in an eight game winning streak. And they have virtually all their production returning.

Just nine seniors graduated off of last year’s squad. Jeriah Hightower returns to again lead the Maroon offense. The senior running back averaged 136 yards per game and finished 3rd in total rushing in 4A with 1,769 yards. He is the leading returning rusher in the entire class, and he’ll be running behind an offensive line that returns four of five starters from a season ago. The Maroons don’t attempt many passes, and even fewer down field, so you can expect them to feature their usual heavy ground attack. Especially as leading passer JD Gilbert (857 yards, 10 TDs) graduates, though backup Hayden Reynolds returns with a 31/66/297 stat line a year ago. Marquise Parker is the leading returning receiver, converting his 8 receptions into 273 yards and three scores. The news is good on the defensive side of the ball as well. Krey Cunningham will be back at linebacker after leading the team in tackles a season ago with 114 (51 solos). Blake Moody (52 solos, 6 sacks), Dru Fleener (40 solos, 5 sacks), and Jared Gobin (25 solos) all return on the defensive line. Nick Grant and Gunner Dameron each had four interceptions a season ago and return in the secondary. In all, six of the top eight tacklers return from a unit that pitched two shutouts and allowed just under 15 PPG a season ago.

Realignment did not touch District 1 at all, but both Hopkinsville and Logan County remain very dangerous. Grabbing the top seed and staying away from one of those two in the first round will be crucial. That is especially true given that Madisonville’s game the last week of the regular season is against powerhouse Mayfield. The Maroons definitely don’t want to chase that game with anything less than a certain win. Their four regular season games against Hopkinsville and Logan County in the last two years have been decided by a combined total of 35 points.

6. Lexington Catholic (2018: 8-4; 3A Second Round)
Head Coach: Nigel Smith

Lexington Catholic’s time in 3A began almost perfectly in 2015 – they ran out to an 11-4 record and finished as state runners-up to Belfry. That is to date the last time they have captured a region crown, dropping from the playoffs at the hands of Central, then Boyle County, then Belfry again last year. While they step into a difficult district that they still share with Boyle County, perhaps the change of class will put them back on the track they enjoyed at the start of the 2010s, when they captured five straight region titles.

Naturally, the name to know when considering the 2019 Knights is Kentucky commit Beau Allen. Allen enters his third year as the sole starter for the Knights, and the career numbers are impressive. He has thrown for over 7,700 yards in his career while completing 63.4% of his attempts, racking up 89 TDs against just 21 INTs. It may be a stretch to see him getting the 56 TDs that he’d need to pass Elijah Sindelar for the most ever in a KHSAA career, but simply matching last year’s feat would put him in the top 5 all-time. He had the highest yardage per game average in the state a year ago, and his 3,729 yards trailed only Wiley Cain’s 3,987 yards – Allen attempted 144 fewer passes. Allen also led his team in rushing with 740 yards on 99 attempts, scoring eight times. It’s the departure of 22 seniors and most starters that keep Lexington Catholic out of the top five on our list. RB Ryan Nichols returns after a 83/425/4 line a season ago as the second leading rusher behind Allen. The top three receivers from 2018 depart, but they do have junior Jackson Corbett hauled in 27 receptions for 450 yards and 5 TDs last season. The Knights also lost their top five tacklers from a unit that allowed over 28 PPG a season ago. That sounds bad, but simply outscoring opponents has been the strategy at Lexington Catholic for quite some time. They haven’t held opponents to less than a 20 PPG average since 2007, and as recently as 2017 were actually outscored by opponents on the year despite a winning record. So expect the usual high-octane offense and back and forth scoring at LexCath this season.

The Knights play an absolutely brutal schedule, featuring non-district games against Frederick Douglass, DeSales, Covington Catholic, Pulaski County, and Indianapolis Howe. A losing record is not out of the question, but with Allen at the reins, they will never be totally out of a game.

7. Central (2018: 13-2; 3A State Champions)
Head Coach: Marvin Dantzler

Since the advent of the six class system, no program has better represented the growth that the KHSAA hoped for from moving to the format in 2007. Prior to that time, Central had won a region title just twice – in 1995 and 2006 – and had never advanced further than the state semifinals. In 12 seasons of the new 3A, Central won six state titles, finished as runner-up two more times, and won 10 region titles. The last of those came a year ago with a 20-19 win over Corbin, a game that capped a ten game winning streak to boot. The incredible Yellow Jackets defense posted seven shutouts and held five other opponents to single digits. They come to 4A with a championship pedigree and as one of the most established programs of the last decade.

It’s that pedigree and trust in the program that has earned this ranking, because there is a staggering amount of production lost from a year ago. Keileon Hathaway moves over to QB having never attempted a pass for Central – in fact, only sophomore Vernon Duncan has. His one attempt was intercepted. Deondre Howard is the only returning player who has caught a pass, with three receptions for 48 yards. Less than 70 yards of production returns from a team that put up 5,049 yards a year ago. LG Chris Pryor and C Daniel Horton return on the offensive line, along with Terrance Crawford at fullback. Still, turnover is nothing new for the program. This will be the fourth straight season that a new player assumes the primary signal caller role. The Dark Side Defense lost most of its personnel as well, but will be anchored by DE Aiden Moore and ILB Ben Bush, both starters a season ago. Moore was second on the team in 2018 with 53 tackles, adding three sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception that he took in for a score. Bush posted 50 tackles and forced four fumbles to lead the defense, adding a sack. The defense may be more likely to resemble the 2016 edition that held five opponents to single digits but gave up some big games to inflate the average, but should still be quite a force.

The Yellow Jackets move into a district with stalwarts Franklin County and Shelby County, with Franklin County in particular serving as a threat to Central in the first two rounds. For the region final round, Central would be facing the prospect of teams like Franklin-Simpson or Madisonville-North Hopkins. The non-district schedule is the typically difficult fare for a team that is always forged in the fire. St. X, South Warren, and Manual are of particular note. Early returns are promising as they won a scrimmage with 5A power Scott County by a 15-7 score.

8. Franklin County (2018: 10-3; 4A Region Runners-Up)
Head Coach: Eddie James

By a lot of metrics, 2018 was highly successful for the Flyers. They advanced past the first round for the first time since 2014, and made the region finals for the first time since 2013, posting double digit wins for the first time since that same year. Their eight game win streak included a home win over Knox Central, but the script was flipped on them in a 13-7 overtime loss on the road at Knox Central to end their season a week earlier than expected. It is tough to exit the playoffs against a team you beat by 22 points just over a month earlier, but fortunately, Franklin County has a lot coming back to get over it.

14 seniors graduated from the 2018 Flyers. QB Nick Broyles, junior to be, was not among them. Broyles had a fantastic year, completing 62% of his passes for 2,796 yards, 25 TDs, and just eight interceptions. He was also a rare 2,000+ passer combined with 1,000+ rusher, toting the ball 167 times for 1,113 yards and 13 touchdowns. It would not be an understatement to call him the most important cog in the offense a year ago, and that will certainly continue this season. Junior WR Fred Farrier returns to lead the WR corps. Farrier led the team with 868 yards and 11 TDs on 58 receptions last season, and also was the third leading rusher with 225 yards on 26 carries. Three of the top five receivers are back from last season, and three starting offensive linemen return. That’s a lot coming back from a team that averaged 30.3 PPG – they should be very sound. Defensively, Brady Holleran is the first name to know. He accounted for 13.5 sacks a season ago, notched 121 solo tackles and 48.5 tackles for loss. Just a beast to build around on the line. Andrew Maupin is a strong contributor as well, with 5.5 sacks and 47 solo tackles in 2018. The Flyers allowed over 20 PPG a season ago, holding only one opponent below 10 points. Expect that to continue to be a struggle that may limit the upside of the team, but the offense should be able to score with anyone.

Central figures to be the team most likely to fight Franklin County for district supremacy, though Shelby County remains to challenge and Waggener serves as a year to year dark horse. Scheduling was unfortunate this season for the Flyers, as they have to travel to both Shelby County and Central. Collins and Anderson County are the most notable non-district contests, and like Central, Franklin-Simpson and Madisonville-North Hopkins would be most likely teams to contend with in a potential regional final.

9. Knox Central (2018: 10-4; 4A State Semifinalists)
Head Coach: Fred Hoskins

At long last, it was Knox Central’s time in 2018. For the first time ever, they brought home a region title. In so doing, they avenged a 42-20 loss just five weeks prior, knocking off Franklin County 13-7 in overtime. Nick Martin had three interceptions in the game, including on Franklin County’s final two possessions, and Dane Imel scored the game winning touchdown on Knox’s possession in overtime. Knox fell to Johnson Central big the following week, but a legacy was already cemented.

So now it’s encore time. QB Brady Worley is back for his junior year. His sophomore campaign was a great success, completing 181 of 300 attempts for 2,921 yards and 29 touchdowns. That puts him at just over 4,600 yards for his career, and represented a big leap forward from his freshman year. He’ll be joined in the backfield by returning bell cow Ethan Mills. The junior running back had 1,448 yards on 244 attempts with 16 touchdowns a season ago, pushing him over 2,000 yards for his career. Not only are they set at those spots this year, but they’ll be looking good for that in 2020 as well. Four of five linemen return with only center Lucas Lambo departing, and three of those four are juniors, meaning even more consistency for 2020. The only offensive negative entering 2019 is the departure of the team’s top three WRs, with Kevionte Turner’s 24 receptions for 299 yards leading the returnees. Defensively, the four of the top five in tackles return, led by LB Trace Floy. Floyd record 95 solo tackles a season ago. Michael Bays had seven sacks as well from the linebacker corps. Dylan Hoskins is the lone returning player on the line, but there is a strong defensive foundation coming back for a team that had six games where opponents were held to single digits.

If not for Corbin moving into the district, Knox would probably open up as district favorites. As it stands, they are part of what is arguably the deepest district in the class, as those two are joined by Wayne County and even newcomer Lincoln County showed strength in 5A last season. Winning the district will be critical to gain home field when those teams beat up on each other in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

10. Wayne County (2018: 8-4; 4A Second Round)
Head Coach: Shawn Thompson

Wayne County experienced a bit of hard luck last season to have been as good as they were and out after two rounds. Their four losses on the year came to Frederick Douglass, Boyle County, Knox Central, and in the playoffs to Franklin County. Those teams made at least the region finals and/or were considered among the best teams in the state regardless of class. The Cardinals averaged 38 PPG, but could only manage 21 points in poor field conditions in their loss to Franklin County, failing to hold a 21-14 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Like district foe Knox Central, the major offensive components return for Wayne. QB Brody Weaver threw for 2,070 yards and completed 29 touchdowns in his sophomore season, ably taking over from the superb Lorenzo Linsey who had graduated after the 2017 season. He’ll be joined by feature back Braedon Sloan. The junior tailback averaged 9.33 YPC last season in posting 1,120 yards and 15 scores. Carson Simpson returns to the backfield as well, contributing 487 yards last season on 102 carries. Tito Ruiz is the leading returning receiver, and will be expected to step up after the departure of 1,000 yard receiver Aubrey Weaver. Two starting offensive linemen return, with junior center William King of particular note with good size at a critical position for the shotgun attack. DT Cody Roysdon anchors the defensive line, with a 2018 stat line including 32 solo tackles and a team-leading 4.5 sacks. Lee Shelton was third on the team with 46 total tackles in his freshman season, and led the team with 4 interceptions, including taking two to the house. He will provide a strong piece to build around in the linebacker corps. Still, with more than half the defense out from a 2018 edition that allowed almost 25 PPG, the pressure may be on the veteran offense to win some games on their own while they settle in.

Wayne County should be able to show right away what they’re made of, opening with always tough Shelby County before matching up against a Pulaski County team that always features a potent offense. They will host Knox Central in a crucial district game on October 18th, but will have to hit the road the following week against Corbin. It bears repeating as with those two team’s notes above – winning first and home field in this district may well be the thing that gets you past the second round.

Just Outside
11. Anderson County (2018: 10-1; 5A Second Round)
Head Coach: Mark Peach

The Bearcats had a disappointing end to an unbeaten 2018 campaign in a 14-10 loss to Highlands in the playoffs, but initially were going to return enough that they would have placed several spots higher on this list. That was before nearly 1,500 yard back C.A. Collins transferred to Breathitt County for his senior season, his third team in as many years. Transfer giveth – transfer taketh away. Zach Labhart should return to the lead back role that he vacated after an injury last season – he took three of his 10 rushes in for scores in two games last season. Returning QB Jagger Gillis threw for 1,015 yards in 2018 and had a 15:1 TD:INT ratio. Darian Dearinger is the name to know on the defensive side of the ball. The 6’3” junior defensive end holds offers from Marshall, Bowling Green, and Eastern Kentucky, and posted four sacks on 35 solo tackles last season. They’ll be looking to play spoiler in the Boyle County/Lexington Catholic district.

12. Harlan County (2018: 4-7; 5A Second Round)
Head Coach: Warren Creech

2018 was a reset type of season for the Black Bears, a season after they made a run to the 5A state semifinals with three straight road wins. In 2018 they only managed back to back wins once and started 0-4. But almost every starter returns for the squad, including four players who rushed for more than 100 yards on the season with the balanced rushing attack. That crop is led by Ben Landis (118 rushes, 642 yards, 5 TDs) and Tyler Casolari (121 rushes, 562 yards, 5 TDs). Jordan Steele is back on the defensive line after notching five sacks last season, with LB Josh Turner’s 81 tackles good enough for second on the team last season. Their potential to make noise in the playoffs would likely be seen as more promising if not for the presence of Johnson Central in their new district, likely eliminating their chances of advancing past the second round.

13. Hopkinsville (2018: 5-7; 4A Second Round)
Head Coach: Craig Clayton

The seemingly-perpetual sleeping giant of 4A, the Tigers slumbered once again in 2018, getting hammered on the way to a 1-6 start before rebounding for a second straight year for some late wins to make a second round exit against Madisonville. Health was once again a major factor for the Tigers as they lost QB Javier Bland just five games into the season. He had a tough run against their brutal schedule with just 528 yards on 31 completions, but there is no doubt that he gives the Tigers a much higher ceiling. He’s back to lead the offense while fill-in Ellis Dunn shifts back to wide receiver. Dunn had 239 yards on 12 receptions, and still finished as the team’s second leading receiver despite playing quarterback for more than half their games. Only ten seniors were lost from 2018, and if they can finally stay healthy, they will be a huge threat to Madisonville in the district. At the very least, they could push Logan County back to third in the district.

14. Moore (2018: 11-2; 4A Region Runners-Up)
Head Coach: Tombe Thomas

Thomas takes over a Moore team that was one of the great 4A success stories a season ago. The Mustangs grabbed a district title, winning every district game by 27 points or more, and made a run to the region finals. That gave them their first playoff victory in eight seasons. They experienced the heartbreak of a go-ahead touchdown scored against them with 23 seconds remaining to stop them from grabbing the region title. Twenty seniors depart from last year’s team, but QB Rae Von Vaden returns. The junior threw for 1,291 yards on 70 completions a season ago, with 21 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions. Horatio Willis (22 rushes, 320 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Kriston McMurray (16 rushes, 100 yards, 1 touchdown) return to compliment him in the backfield. Willis also is the leading returnee on the defensive side of the ball, with 62 tackles a season ago. Spencer County slides over from their former spot in district 4, but they otherwise face the same foes that they rolled up in 2018. John Hardin figures to be their primary challenger.

15. Logan County (2018: 10-2; 4A Second Round)
Head Coach: Todd Adler

The Cougars remain a great story, with the last two years yielding their all-time leading rusher in Gary Hardy before he even plays his senior year, and a sparkling 21-3 record. But they have not managed to get past the second round in their difficult region, and with the loss of 22 seniors, they face a significant challenge to break through that ceiling this season. QB Tyler Ezell is back again, with a 107/186 for 1,669 yards and 12 touchdown performance last season. Gary Hardy rushed for nearly 1,500 yards, scoring a touchdown on 1 out of every 10 attempts. Leading receiver Maurice Gordon (36/495/4) returns, as does two-sport stud Anthony Woodard. RG Logan Gibson is the only returning offensive lineman, and that will be the biggest question mark for the team entering the year. Zach Yates returns at linebacker after grabbing the second most tackles for the team last season. The Cougars added Warren East and Greenwood to slightly increase schedule difficulty, but it’s their road trip to 5A power South Warren in the last week before the playoffs that they are hoping will prepare them for the postseason the most.