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The 2017 season in 6A starts with the addition of a new school, the Douglass Stallions. They are in District 7 with Bryan Station, Henry Clay, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Scott County.
Not much else has changed in the landscape of this division. Trinity is heavily favored by Bluegrass Preps to repeat as state champions, followed by Saint Xavier and Male. This year’s playoff bracket has Saint Xavier & Male on the opposite side from Trinity and an all-Jefferson County final in Lexington appears to be highly likely on Sunday, December 3.

1. Trinity (15-0 defeated Lafayette for their 24th State Championship)
The Shamrocks, under Head Coach Bob Beatty, have won 12 KHSAA big school titles since he arrived in 2000. Trinity graduated three NCAA Division 1 signees from last season. Lineman Cole Spencer is attending Western Kentucky University. Kicker Zach Williams is attending North Texas State University. Wideout Noah Ellison signed with Purdue University.

Trinity will have Jr DE Stephen Herron, (University of Michigan commitment) and Sr. WR Rondale Moore, (University of Texas commitment) to assist in challenging their opponents. Several starters return on defense and Sr. Nick Bohn appears to be the current leader at QB. Trinity will be replacing two varsity assistants, Michael and Tom Fox, who headed off to Oldham County High School to be the head coach and offensive coordinator for the Colonels. Former Oldham County, Ballard, and Pikeville head coach Mike Jackson joined the Trinity staff.

Trinity begins the season ranked #52 in the country according to MaxPreps. They open with a home game versus #17 Carmel (IN) on 8/18. The Rocks venture to #20 Warren Central (IN) on August 25. Games with Archbishop Moeller, Male, Saint Xavier and District 5 foe Ballard will help Trinity prepare for the post season.

2. Saint Xavier (10-4 lost to Trinity in semifinals)
The Tigers open 2017 with two highly touted senior players, OG Wyatt Smock and DB Cameron Garrett, leading the charge. Saint Xavier dropped four games last season, two to Trinity, one to Ohio Division 1 State Champion Saint Xavier, and one to KHSAA 5A Champion Bowling Green. The Tigers must replace Desmond Ridder, a University of Cincinnati signee, at QB. Will Wolford returns as head coach for his fifth season with a 32-19 record. Saint Xavier seeks their first title since 2009.

The Saint Xavier schedule is the toughest in Kentucky. In addition to the annual clash with Trinity on 9/29, the Tigers will host Cathedral (IN) on 8/18. The Purples of Bowling Green host St. Xavier on 9/1 and the Bombers of Saint Xavier (OH) come to Paul M. Young Field on 10/27. Games with District 3 opponents Pleasure Ridge Park (Away) on 9/22 , Manual (Away) on 10/6, and Male (Home) on 10/13 makes the Tigers journey difficult at best.

3. Male (10-3 lost quarterfinal game to St. Xavier)
The 2015 State Champs look to rebound from last year’s three-loss campaign. The Bulldogs dropped two games to Saint Xavier and one to Trinity. Chris Wolfe, a Highlands graduate, returns to lead the Male program. Sr. RB/LB Dayveon Higgs, Sr. WR Ethan Bibb, Sr. LB/TE RaSean McCauley are among the better Male returning players. Male has 6 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters on the 2017 squad.
A new starter at the QB position is a situation Male has in common with Trinity and Saint Xavier.

The Dawgs schedule includes their annual battle with Manual (Away) on 10/20. Male visits Ballard on 8/25, hosts Trinity on 9/8, and travels to Saint Xavier for their District 3 showdown on 10/13. Male is facing their largest obstacles to the 6A title during the regular season. They will be battle tested once the playoff season arrives and this fact should serve them well.

4. Scott County (11-3 lost 48-47 to Lafayette in semifinal game)
The Cardinals hope to repeat their 2013 State Title run this season. Coach Jim McKee has put together a terrific schedule with non-district games at Lafayette on 8/25, at home versus Highlands on 9/1, hosting Archbishop Moeller (OH) on 9/8, traveling to LaSalle (OH) on 9/15, and playing at Pleasure Ridge Park on 10/20. Their toughest District 7 contest may be the home game with the first-year Frederick Douglass Stallions on 10/6.

Jr. Lineman Bryan Hudson may be the most recruited Cardinal in 2017. Sr. RB Bryce Fryman, Sr. QB Josh Davis, Jr. WR/DB Glenn Covington are expected to be heavy contributors the Scott County’s success. The Cardinals must replace fullback Jacob Burton and 22 other seniors from last season’s team.

A future issue for the Scott County football program is the proposed opening of Great Crossing High School. This has been delayed at least until 2018. There is an initial Board of Education vote coming up August 10 on a tax increase to pay for the new school. The public could submit a petition to recall the possible tax increase and vote on the topic in the November general elections. Currently, the physical plant at the high school is built to accommodate 1,095. When a separate Ninth Grade School is included, the current school’s population is over 2,000.

5. Ryle (12-1 lost to Scott County in quarterfinals)
Mike Engler returns as head coach of the Raiders. Ryle must replace 12 starters; 5 on offense and 7 on defense. The starting QB will be new as Tanner Morgan moved on to Western Michigan. Sr. RB Jake Chisolm will lead the offense. He rushed for 1681 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2016. Sr. WR Easton Pilyer, Sr. WR/LB Zach Rytlewski, So. QB Keegan Stanken, and So. DB Elijah Cusick are all expected to be huge contributors to the success of the Raiders.

The team lost one time in 2016, dropping the game to Scott County in the playoffs. They are favored to win District 5 in 2017. Their regular season kicks off with a visit to Covington Catholic on 8/18. Cathedral (IN) visits Union on 9/29. District matches with Conner at home on 10/6 and at Cooper 10/14 will decide their playoff seeding.

6. Lafayette (13-2 lost in state final to Trinity)
Head Coach Eric Shaw will lead the Generals into 2017. Sr. Ean Shaw, the coach’s son, will return at LB/RB. Sr. RB Cameron Morgan accumulated 1629 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns and will be relied on to carry the offensive load. Jr. WR TeAndrea Newcomb, who caught 23 passes for 419 yards and 4 TDs, is expected to be another mainstay on this team.

Lafayette, having lost only twice (both to Trinity) in 2016, is expected to rule District 8. The Generals must find a new starting QB as the highly touted Walker Wood has taken his talents to the University of Kentucky. Lafayette does return 7 starters on offense and 6 starters on defense. The Generals play some interesting non-district games during the regular season. These include contests hosting Scott County 8/25, hosting the Douglass Stallions on 9/8, and traveling to Cincinnati to play Archbishop Moeller on 9/15.

7. Simon Kenton (11-2 lost to Lafayette in quarterfinals)
Jeffrey Marksberry again coaches the Pioneers. Simon Kenton is in the three-team District 6. Games with Boone County (away) 10/6 and Campbell County (home) on 10/13 will decide their seeding for the post season. The Green Wave of Meade County hosts the Pioneers to open the season on 8/18. Fellow 6A northern Kentucky schools Conner (away) 9/1 and Cooper (home) 9/15 remain on the slate. The Ryle Raiders visit Independence on 10/20 to conclude the Simon Kenton regular season.

Noah Turner, a Sr. offensive lineman, is expected to be the stalwart in the trenches. Jr. RB Jon Sergeant ran for 741 yards and 9 touchdowns last season will be a key weapon out of the backfield. Sr. WR Sam Murray will be a main target for Sr. QB Matt Shearer, who will be expected to lead the offense in 2017.

8. Manual (9-3 lost to Saint Xavier in the second round)
Scott Carmony takes over at the helm for the Crimsons for the departed Dr. Oliver Lucas. Sr. Marcis Floyd is the top returning rusher. He gained 741 yards and scored 8 touchdowns on the ground in 2016. Sr. kicker Nicholas Kopp returns as does talented Junior Alex Conlin. Conlin played QB and LB for the Crimsons last season as is expected to a leader on the field.

Manual’s District 3 is considered to be the most talented in the state. The Crimsons tasted defeat three times this past season, with all losses at the hands of district opponents. Male defeated the Crimsons in their annual clash and Tigers of Saint Xavier defeated Manual in the regular season and playoff games. In addition to the district games with Saint Xavier (home) on 10/6, Pleasure Ridge Park (away) 10/13, Male (home) on 10/20, the Crimsons play at Fern Creek 8/25 and host the Ballard Bruins on 9/15.

9. Pleasure Ridge Park (7-5 lost to Male in the second round)
Tommy Williams is the head coach of the Panthers in 2017. They are the fourth team from District 3 to be voted into the BluegrassPreps pre-season Top Ten.
The district schedule includes Saint Xavier on 9/22 (home) , Male on 9/29 (away), and Manual on 10/13 (home). The non-district schedule includes a home game versus 5A favorite Bowling Green on 8/25 and a home game with Scott County on 10/20. The Panthers five losses in 2016 came to Trinity, Saint Xavier, Manual and Male twice. These are four of the eight 6A teams currently ranked ahead of Pleasure Ridge Park.

Sr. Bryant Robinson returns at quarterback having thrown for 1749 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Sr. Dewayne Hall is the top rusher returning with 571 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2016. Fellow Sr. Bryson Washington joins Hall in the backfield. Each of these players is expected to see action in the defensive backfield for the Panthers.

10. Ballard (9-4 lost to Trinity in the quarterfinals)
Adrian Morton is the new head coach for the Bruins. Sr. Terrance May is the returning starter at quarterback. He passed for 3075 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2016. Marshon Ford is a Sr. WR/DB tallied 254 receiving yards with 6 touchdowns. Christian Horton is a Sr CB/WR will be a large contributor to the Bruins success. Newcomer Jr. Jared Casey, a transfer from Trinity, will be a significant addition to the Ballard defense.

The four losses suffered by Ballard last season came to Male, Manual, and twice to Trinity. This season’s schedule includes the season opener at 2A power DeSales on 8/18. The Bruins host Male on 8/25, travel to Manual Stadium on 9/15, and host District 4 foe Trinity on 10/20.

Others of note in 6A:

11. McCracken County (7-4 lost to Pleasure Ridge Park in first round)
The Mustangs are coached by Marc Clark. The District One favorites open the season with Tilghman 8/19 (home). Their schedule includes two Tennessee schools: Northeast Clarksville 8/25 (home) and Dyer County 10/13 (home) and one Illinois team: Glenbard North (home) on 9/16. The annual clash with 2A power Mayfield is an away game on 9/8.

12. Cooper (7-5 lost to Ryle in the second round)
The Jaguars head coach is Randy Borchers. The season opens for Cooper with a home game versus Highlands on 8/18. The Union school has 51 players on their current roster. They compete in District 5. Cooper faces Newport Central Catholic (away) on 8/25, Covington Catholic (away) on 9/1, Simon Kenton (away) on 9/15, Ryle (home) on 10/6, Conner (away) 10/20 and close the regular season at Henry Clay on 10/27.

13. Henry Clay (3-7-1 lost to Ryle in first round)
The Blue Devils are led by Head Coach Sam Simpson. Their schedule includes games versus three BluegrassPreps pre-season Top Ten teams: at Ryle on 8/25, Lafayette (home) on 9/22, and Scott County (home) on 9/29. Henry Clay is in District 7.

14. Conner (9-3 lost to Scott County in second round)
The Cougars head coach is James Trosper. They compete in District 5. The schedule includes Simon Kenton (home) 9/1, Newport Central Catholic (home) 9/22, Ryle (away) 10/14 and Cooper (home) on 10/20.

15. Tates Creek (6-6 lost to Lafayette in second round)
The Commodores are coached by Antoine Sims. Games with Henry Clay (home) on 8/18 and Lafayette (home) on 10/20 highlight the regular season. Tates Creek is a member of District 8.