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2019 6A Preview:
This year, the 6A landscape has changed due to the KHSAA re-alignment. 6A loses Boone County, Conner, Cooper, Frederick Douglass, Jeffersontown, Muhlenberg County, Ohio County, Scott County, and Seneca. 6A gains Apollo, Barren County, Bullitt East, Dixie Heights, Fern Creek, Marshall County, Oldham County, and Southern. As we end the decade, it is clear Trinity and Male have dominated 6A, with Trinity having six championships and Male winning two of the last four, and one of these two looks to have a good chance to win another championship. St. Xavier is looking to capture a championship to avoid a rare decade long drought. Will a team outside of Louisville have a shot? The only outside of Louisville team to win 6A was Scott County in 2013, but they are now in 5A. Some contenders from outside of Louisville are North Hardin, Simon Kenton, Oldham County, McCracken County, and Henry Clay. A few other Louisville teams would love to knock off one of the powers and get a first 6A championship. These contenders are Manual, Fern Creek, Ballard, and Butler. Regardless who wins, it will be fun to get the Friday night lights fired up. Let us take a more in depth look at the top contenders.

#1 Trinity: The Shamrocks are looking to get back to their winning ways after an atypical 7-7 season and 27-20 loss to Male. Trinity returns much talent from their 6A state semi-final team. Look for the defense that returns several starters to improve on the stingy 15ppg it gave up last season. The defense will be led by Junior LB Charlie Ely. Some other defensive impact players are Senior DL Tyler Roberson, Junior DB Roman White, and Junior LB Brandon Stearman. The offense looks to maintain or improve its 35ppg average from last season. The offense will be led by Junior QB Nathan McElroy who beat out returning QB Seth Jutz. Other impact players are Junior WR Wynton Johnson, Sophomore RB Armon Tucker (10.8 100m), Senior WR Ryan Miller, and Senior TE Kaelan Racculia. Trinity has a loaded junior class who went undefeated as freshman and sophomores. Trinity also returns Senior K Sebastian Mata and should be strong in the kicking game. Trinity always plays a tough out of state schedule and opens at home with Indianapolis, IN power Carmel, on August 23rd. Trinity will be a strong contender for the 6A Championship.

#2 Male: The Bulldogs will be looking to try to repeat last year’s 6A championship. Male returns seven starters from an offensive unit that averaged 37ppg. The offense will be led by University of Kentucky commit Senior WR Izayah Cummings (597 yards, 11 touchdowns). Other impact players will be Senior TE/WR Briceson Rogers (209 yards, 2 touchdowns), Senior RB Quantrell Wright (590 yards, 6 touchdowns), and Junior RB Jaylin Bross (320 yards, 3 touchdowns). QB is a competition between Senior Elijah Parish and Sophomore Nic Schutte, as Garrett Dennis (2,491 yards, 34 touchdowns) graduated, but the new QB will have some very good skill people to operate the offense. The defense will be reloading with only two starters returning, but do return the top tackler and leader Senior LB Joe Kuerzi (117 tackles). Other impact players are Senior DL Chaz Webster (33 tackles), Sophomore DE Selah Brown, and Senior DB Judah Ford (23 tackles). Junior K Micah Lackey (85.7% PAT) will take over as kicker. Male will open at home with Floyd Central, IN, on August 23rd. Male will be another strong contender behind a strong offense.

#3 Saint Xavier: The Tigers lost 20-10 to eventual 6A champion Male and want to end the championship drought. St. Xavier returns five starters on offense and look to improve on their 28ppg avg from last year. The offense will be led by Senior QB Doug Bodhaine (917 yards, 5 touchdowns). Other impact players will be Sophomore WR Mekhi Smith, Senior RB Logan Davis (349 yards, 5 touchdowns), and Junior WR Grant Goodman (208 yards, 1 touchdown). The defense will be reloading around a good linebacker corps but must replace the entire secondary. The defense will be led by Senior LB Kenneth “Hale” Bohler (52 tackles). Other impact players are Senior LB Kenneth Shaffner (11 tackles), Senior DE Robert Andriole (13 tackles), and Senior DE Murad “Mick” Walsh (12 tackles). St. Xavier returns Senior K Jeffrey Sexton (94.6% PAT) and field goal range to 50 yards and should be strong on special teams. St. Xavier opens at home against 3A DeSales, on August 23rd. St. Xavier looks to be a strong contender to Male and Trinity.

#4 Simon Kenton: The Pioneers look to build off a 56-28 loss to 6A state runner-up Scott County. The Simon Kenton offense averaged 32ppg last season and returns some key players to maintain or improve that number. They must replace graduated QB Caleb Farfsing who accounted for over 2,000 yards. The new QB will have some good skill players to operate the offense with. The offense will be led by Senior RB Austin Hammack (667 yards, 4 touchdowns). Other impact players will be Senior QB/WR Eric Brown (401 rec yards, 4 touchdowns) and Senior WR Evan Mulberry (318 yards, 2 touchdowns). The defense returns eight starters but did lose the top three tacklers. The defense gave up 20ppg last season and I think they can improve this number. The defense will be led by Senior DL Vuk Sajlovic (81 tackles). Other impact players will be Senior LB Aric Hoffman (44 tackles), Senior DL Jack Milton (42 tackles), and Senior DB Tyler Parks (38 tackles). Junior K Nick Seger (85% PAT) looks to take over the kicking duties. Simon Kenton opens with Henry Clay, at Lafayette, on August 23rd. Simon Kenton looks like one of the top contenders outside of Louisville.

#5 North Hardin: The Trojans return several starters from team that lost 40-16 to eventual 6A champion Male in the playoffs. The offense averaged 27ppg last year and looks to improve on this number. They will be replacing graduated QB Eric Moore (2,395 yards, 26 touchdowns), but the new QB will be surrounded by a stable of skill players. The offense will be led by Junior RB Lavell Wright (1,316 yards, 17 touchdowns). Other impact players will be Senior WR Josh Moore (1,224 yards, 15 touchdowns), Junior WR Ramaj Adams (320 yards, 4 touchdowns), and Junior WR Marcus Harris (330 yards, 4 touchdowns). The defense gave up a stingy 14ppg last season and looks to improve on this number after returning four of the top five tacklers. The defense will be led by Mr. Football contender Senior DL Octavious Oxendine (86 tackles). Other impact players are returning in #2 tackler Sophomore LB Michael Lunz (101 tackles), Junior LB Darren Green (85 tackles), and Junior DE Jerrell Campbell (71 tackles). Junior LB/K Darren Green returns as kicker. North Hardin opens on August 24th against 4A Waggener, at Fairdale, in the King of the Bluegrass Bowl. North Hardin will be a strong contender from outside Louisville, but their schedule may not prepare them for the big three in the class.

#6 Manual: The Crimsons look to improve with several young talented players returning after 14-0 first round loss to North Hardin in 6A playoffs. Manual’s offense will improve on the 16ppg average from last year. Most notably, the return of Senior QB Zach Recktenwald (In 2017, 854 yards, 4 touchdowns), who started as a sophomore, but missed last year because of injury and returns to lead the offense. Other impact players on offense will be Junior WR Eli Blakey (122 yards, 1 touchdown), Junior RB Ramont Townsend (425 yards, 6 touchdowns), and Senior RB DeAaron Robinson (416 yards, 2 touchdowns). The defense returns eight starters and will maintain or improve the stingy 15ppg given up last year. The defense will be led by Sophomore LB/RB JuWuan Northington. Other impact players will be Junior LB Darren Miller, Junior DB Bryce Yates, and Sophomore DL Jason Burley. Manual returns Junior K Patrick Holdener (87% PAT). Manual opens the season at home with 4A Central, on August 23rd. Manual will be improved and a contender but are also in a tough district with Butler and St. Xavier.

#7 Ballard: The Bruins look to improve after losing to Trinity 50-0 in the 6A playoffs last year. Ballard’s offense averaged 25ppg last season, and look to maintain or improve that number due to returning Junior QB Larry Cummings (883 yards, 12 touchdowns). Other contributors will be Senior RB Jayden Farmer (838 yards, 11 touchdowns), Senior RB Telly Bird (240 yards, 2 touchdowns), and University of Louisville commit Senior WR/DB Josh Minkins (259 yards, 4 touchdowns). Power 5 D-1 recruit Sophomore OL Kiyaunta Goodwin has transferred to Ballard from Louisville Holy Cross, but has not had ruling from KHSAA on eligibility yet. The defense gave up 19ppg last season and should improve this number and returns five of the top 10 tacklers including leading tackler Junior Justice Thompson (121 tackles). Other contributors will be Senior DL/LB Terran Hearn (55 tackles), Senior DL Phillip Cox (38 tackles), Junior LB/DB Brendan Mullaney (35 tackles), and WR/DB Josh Minkins (15 tackles). Ballard opens the season at Doss, on August 23rd. Ballard will be a contender but must get through a very good Trinity team in district play.

#8 Butler: The Bears are looking to improve after losing to St. Xavier 35-20 in the 6A playoffs. Butler lost some key players from offense but return Senior QB Chaz Burks (2,144 yards, 31 touchdowns) who will lead the offense. Other contributors on offense will be Senior WR Jordan Watkins (74 yards, 1 touchdowns). Burks and Watkins are a good combo to build an offense around, as WR Jordan Watkins is also a University of Kentucky commit. They should be able to at least maintain their 35ppg average from last year. The defense gave up 14ppg last season and returns the top two tacklers. They should be able to maintain this average. The defense will be led by Senior LB Samuel Porter (61 tackles) who was top tackler on the team. Another key contributor is Senior DE Hosea Knifeley (55 tackles) who was second leading tackler. Senior CB Greg Jackson (43 tackles) will also be a top contributor. Senior K Esmatullah Jamshed who had 7 PAT conversions looks to be the kicker. Butler opens the season against South Warren, at Western Kentucky University, in the Rafferty’s Bowl, on August 24th. The Bears are a contender but in a tough district with Manual and St. Xavier.

#9 Fern Creek: The Tigers look to improve on their 35-12 third round loss to South Oldham in the 5A playoffs. They return several starters as they jump up to 6A. The offense averaged 28ppg last year, and with the graduation of the QB and a tougher 6A schedule, so it may be hard to match or improve that number. The offense will be led by Junior RB Terrance Mitchell (985 yards, 7 touchdowns). Other contributors will be Senior RB Donte Cambron (348 yards, 4 touchdowns), and Senior WR Dmauri Owens (420 yards, 6 touchdowns). The defense averaged 19ppg last season and return seven of top 10 tacklers including leading tackler Senior LB Jayden Mefford (78 tackles). I think they can improve on that number despite the tougher schedule. Other contributors are Senior DL Cidney Mills (60 tackles), Senior DL Brajaun Fields (57 tackles), and Junior LB BJ Pepper (52 tackles). Senior K LeSean Gray (56% PAT) returns to bolster the kicking game. Fern Creek opens the season away at Jeffersonville, IN, on August 23rd. Fern Creek will be a contender but must get through Male in district play.


#10 McCracken County: The Mustangs are looking to improve after losing 34-18 to Ballard in the 6A playoffs. The offense averaged 32ppg last season and return most of the offense to possibly improve on this number. The offense will be led by returning Senior QB Elijah Wheat (1,822 yards, 18 touchdowns). Other contributors will be Junior RB/WR Hunter Bradley (744 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Senior WR Franklin Hayes (623 yards, 6 touchdowns). The defense gave up 24ppg last season and will be tough to maintain this number due to graduating the top seven tacklers. The defense will be led by Sophomore DE LeAndre Bolen (36 tackles). Other contributors will be Senior DB Kolton Reeves (32 tackles) and Senior CB/FS Trusdin Hildreth (26 tackles). McCracken County opens with 3A Paducah Tilghman at home, on August 24th. McCracken County will be a contender and the offense should carry them to a district championship.

Other notable teams:

Henry Clay: The Blue Devils lost to Simon Kenton 25-7 in 6A playoffs last year. On offense, they return Senior QB DJ VanHorn (1,063 yards, 11 touchdowns), Senior RB TreQuan Green (271 yards), and Senior WR Jacobi Godfrey (162 yards). The defense returns two of the top five tacklers with Senior LB Chris Dabney (53 tackles) and Junior LB William Webb (48 tackles). They will battle district foe Tates Creek for the district championship. Henry Clay will open with Simon Kenton, at Lafayette, on August 23rd.

Oldham County: The Colonels lost 24-8 to Fern Creek in the 5A playoffs last season and now move up to 6A. On offense they return Senior QB Parker Caudill (660 yards, 8 touchdowns), but he is being moved to RB/WR. Sophomore QB Sam Young (218 yards, 4 touchdowns) will assume QB duties. Senior RB Juan Tapia (701 yards) takes over at RB. Senior WR Tyler Holvey (107 yards) should be a contributor. The defense returns the top two tacklers with Senior LB Bryce Rochet (78 tackles) and Senior LB Preston Dykes (71 tackles). Oldham County will battle George Rogers Clark for the district championship. Oldham County opens at home against Eastern, on August 23rd.

Central Hardin: The Bruins lost 33-8 to Butler in the 6A playoffs. On offense, they return Senior QB Chase Elmore (315 yards, 1 touchdown) after missing most of last season due to injury. Other contributors on offense is Senior RB Deonco Wilkerson (296 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Senior RB Gavin George (404 yards rec, 3 touchdowns). The defense returns two of their top five tacklers and will be led by Senior LB Kyler Lee (74 tackles) and Junior DB Trenton Ferguson (61 tackles). They will battle North Hardin for the district championship. Central Hardin opens against Daviess County at home, on August 23rd.

Tates Creek: The Commodores lost 13-10 to Madison Central in the 6A playoffs last year. Tates Creek returns Senior QB Luke Duby (1,934 yards, 21 touchdowns), Senior RB/LB Marcus Bosley (613 yards, 6 touchdowns), Senior RB Willie McGhee (251 yards, 2 touchdowns), Senior WR Miles Thomas (802 yards, 11 touchdowns), and Junior WR Mikaleb Coffey (448 yards, 3 touchdowns). The defense will be led by number two tackler RB/LB Marcus Bosley (64 tackles) and Senior DB Delarisco Jones (31 tackles). They will battle Henry Clay for the district championship. Tates Creek opens with 5A Madison Southern, at Madison Central, in Roy Kidd Bowl, on August 24th.

George Rogers Clark: The Cardinals lost to Cooper 48-21 in the 6A playoffs. George Rogers Clark on offense returns Junior RB Azariah Israel (825 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Junior WR Dawson Gay (213 yards, 3 touchdowns). On defense they return top tackler Senior LB Aquevion Lewis (113 tackles) and Junior DL Trace Mitchell (43 tackles). They will battle Oldham County for the district championship. George Rogers Clark opens at Dixie Heights, on August 30th.

Ryle: The Raiders lost 43-20 to Tates Creek in the 6A playoffs last year. Ryle returns on offense Senior QB Keegan Stanken (652 yards, 4 touchdowns), Senior RB Kyle England (638 yards, 3 touchdowns), and Junior RB/DB Elijah Cusic (229 yards, 3 touchdowns). On defense, they return three of top four tacklers. Number two tackler Senior LB Luke Bradshaw (69 tackles), Junior RB/DB Elijah Cusick (55 tackles), and Senior DE Cooper White (54 tackles). Ryle will battle Simon Kenton for the district championship. Ryle opens at 5A Covington Catholic, on August 23rd.

Madison Central: Madison Central lost 40-6 to Scott County in the 6A playoffs last year. The Indians return Junior QB Canon Scenters (103 yards, 2 touchdowns), Junior RB Joseph Burton (157 yards, 1 touchdown), and Senior WR Jarrett Mullins (206 yards, 2 touchdowns). The defense returns Senior Sawyer Cruse (46 tackles) and Senior Daeshon Gowdey (35 tackles). Madison Central will battle George Rogers Clark and Oldham County for the district championship. Madison Central opens at home with 5A Conner, on August 24th.

Henderson County: The Colonels lost 48-7 to Trinity in the 6A playoffs last year. Henderson County returns on offense Senior RB Logan Green (1,004 yards, 5 touchdowns), Senior RB Isaiah Easley (664 yards, 11 touchdowns), and Senior WR Daymian Dixon (589 yards, 4 touchdowns). On defense, Henderson County returns the top 3 tacklers. Junior Jack McLevain (56 tackles), Senior LB Isaiah Fallen (52 tackles), and Senior S Isaiah Easley (46 tackles). Henderson County will have to get through McCracken County for the district championship. Henderson County opens at home with Evansville, IN Reitz, on August 23rd.

Campbell County: The Camels lost 36-13 to Scott County in the 6A playoffs. On offense Campbell County returns Junior RB Crosley Gray (63 yards), Senior WR Nick Cartwright (168 yards, 2 touchdowns). On defense, they return top tackler Senior LB Casey Rauch (27 tackles). Campbell County will have to get through Simon Kenton and Ryle for the district championship. Campbell County opens at home against 1A Newport Central Catholic, on August 23rd.

Apollo: The Eagles lost 48-0 to South Warren in the 5A playoffs last year and move up to 6A this year. On offense, they return Senior WR Geoffrey Johnson (507 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Senior WR Daylin Crabtree (253 yards, 2 touchdowns). On defense they return Senior LB Nate Stewart (68 tackles), Junior LB Cameron Baker (68 tackles), and Junior DE Logan Weedman (48 tackles). Apollo will have to go through Henderson County and McCracken County for the district championship. Apollo opens with 4A Warren Central at home, on August 23rd.


CLASS 6A DISTRICTS:

District 1 - Apollo, Daviess County, Henderson County, Marshall County, McCracken County

District 2 - Barren County, Central Hardin, Meade County, North Hardin

District 3 - Butler, DuPont Manual, Pleasure Ridge Park, St. Xavier

District 4 - Bullitt East, Fern Creek, Male, Southern

District 5 - Ballard, Eastern, Trinity (Louisville)

District 6 - Campbell County, Dixie Heights, Ryle, Simon Kenton

District 7 - Henry Clay, Lafayette, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Tates Creek

District 8 - Bryan Station, George Rogers Clark, Madison Central, Oldham County

*For playoff bracketing only, the 5th place team in District 1 would become the 4th place team in District 5.