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Class 1A

No matter the year, no matter the roster, Beechwood will be a pre-season title contender in Class 1A. The Tigers took home the 2017 trophy and will be the team everyone is chasing once more. Class 1A will be absolutely stacked in the Eastern Semi-State with four of the Top Five teams all hailing from the Mountain Region. A pair of teams expecting to take huge steps forward will highlight the remaining spots in the Top 7. Campbellsville and Crittenden County seem to enter on an almost even keel and, starting with their opening week games, will be two teams to monitor in the rankings.

1. Beechwood -- OPEN
2. Pikeville at 2A Covington Holy Cross
3. Raceland at 3A Lawrence County
4. Hazard -- OPEN
5. Paintsville vs. 3A Estill County
6. Campbellsville vs. 2A Metcalfe County at Campbellsville University (8/18)
7. Crittenden County vs. Stewart County (TN)
8. Williamsburg at Jellico (TN)
9. Frankfort at 3A Thomas Nelson
10. Paris at 4A Rockcastle County

Class 2A

Many coaches subscribe to the theory of opening the season with a winnable game. Get your feet under you and then focus on bigger and badder foes once you find your rhythm. That obviously is not the approach of the Pre-Season Top 3 teams in Class 2A as Mayfield, Christian Academy- Louisville, and DeSales all open with headliner games against teams who will enter Top 5 in their respective classes. Newport Central Catholic will also follow suit with a tough opener in their new Head Coach's debut. Owensboro Catholic is perhaps the Top 10 2A team with the most questions, a very underrated 6A Daviess County will be the ideal opponent to act as a measuring stick out of the gates.

1. Mayfield vs. Union City (TN)
2. Christian Academy of Louisville at 5A #4 South Oldham
3. DeSales vs. 6A #2 St. Xavier
4. Danville vs. 5A Woodford County (8/18)
5. Glasgow vs. 1A Russellville
6. Newport Central Catholic vs. 4A #10 Scott
7. Owensboro Catholic at 6A Daviess County
8. Lloyd vs. 4A East Jessamine at West Jessamine
9. Somerset at 5A Lincoln County
10. Monroe County vs. 3A Trigg County at Glasgow

Class 3A

Expectations have not been this high for a Chuck Smith team since those legendary squads of the early 2000's. The Rebels appear the clear front runner in 3A and will open with a chance to make a statement against a quality 6A Ballard squad. Central is flying under the radar a bit despite returning a ton of talent from an excellent team and will have their own Top 10 6A clash. Elizabethtown and Lexington Catholic each have interesting openers. Lexington Catholic will tackle 5A Runner-Up Madison Southern while Elizabethtown must turn over their roster against 4A Champion Franklin-Simpson.

1. Boyle County vs. 6A #10 Ballard at Mercer County (8/18)
2. Central vs. 6A #6 Manual
3. Belfry -- OPEN
4. Corbin vs. 5A Whitley County (8/18)
5. Lexington Catholic vs. 5A Madison Southern at Madison Central (8/18)
6. Elizabethtown vs. 4A #2 Franklin-Simpson
7. Caldwell County at 5A Christian County
8. Casey County at 5A Barren County
9. Larue County vs. 4A Marion County
10. Western Hills vs. 4A Franklin County

Class 4A

Johnson Central was humbled in a re-match with Franklin-Simpson and has had all off-season to flashback visions of the Wildcats' speed and big play ability. Franklin-Simpson will get straight to work on their repeat bid against the always well coached Elizabethtown Panthers while Matney's Golden Eagles bide their time. Three different teams in the back half of the Top 10 all open with tough draws, most notably Hopkinsville testing their high expectations against a stout South Warren team. Though Ashland does not see a number next to Harlan County's name, this could be a game to watch as the Black Bears were a 5A Semi-Finalist and handed the Tomcats a big loss in last year's opener.

1. Johnson Central -- OPEN
2. Franklin-Simpson at 3A #6 Elizabethtown
3. Ashland vs. 5A Harlan County (8/18)
4. Knox Central vs. 5A Letcher County Central
5. Hopkinsville vs. 5A #3 South Warren
6. Wayne County vs. 6A #7 Frederick Douglass at Danville (8/18)
7. Logan County vs. 2A Butler County
8. Madisonville North-Hopkins at 5A #8 Owensboro
9. Greenup County at 3A Lewis County
10. Scott at 2A #6 Newport Central Catholic

Class 5A

Covington Catholic was miles ahead of the rest of Class 5A in 2017 going a perfect 15-0 and never really breaking a sweat. A dominant Senior Class is gone, so expect the field to make serious headway tracking in on the Colonels. A win against 6A Ryle could make a nice statement that the Colonels are still the team to beat. The three primary teams expected to challenge each have their own quality competition to sharpen their blades against. South Oldham is poised for a breakthrough year, but may have the stiffest opener against a loaded Christian Academy- Louisville team who also happened to be their lone regular season loss a year ago. The most intriguing mystery? Will Highlands' down year a season ago serve as a bridge year or a disturbing trend?

1. Covington Catholic at 6A Ryle
2. Bowling Green vs. 6A #9 Central Hardin at WKU (8/18)
3. South Warren at 4A #5 Hopkinsville
4. South Oldham vs. 2A #2 Christian Academy of Louisville
5. Highlands vs. 6A Cooper
6. Southwestern vs. Jeffersonville (IN) at Pulaski County
7. Anderson County vs. 6A George Rogers Clark
8. Owensboro vs. 4A #8 Madisonville North-Hopkins
9. Montgomery County vs. 3A Breathitt County (8/18)
10. Apollo at 6A Muhlenberg County

Class 6A

St. Xavier and Trinity at the top? Yeah, no shock there! Trinity has ruled 6A with an iron fist but the Tigers will look to turn the tide with former Bowling Green Head Coach Kevin Wallace taking over. St. Xavier will get the small school Catholic power DeSales in Wallace's 6A debut. Trinity will take on perennial Indiana powerhouse Carmel in the Indianapolis suburbs. Some newer faces start the season in the Top 10 such as Butler and Frederick Douglass. Butler added some new additions to a talented roster and will look to live up to the newfound hype against 5A Bullitt East.

1. Trinity at Carmel (IN)
2. St. Xavier at 2A #3 DeSales
3. Scott County vs. 5A North Bullitt
4. Male at Floyd Central (IN)
5. Butler vs. 5A Bullitt East
6. Manual at 3A #2 Central
7. Frederick Douglass vs. 4A #6 Wayne County at Danville (8/18)
8. Simon Kenton vs. Meade County
9. Central Hardin vs. 5A #2 Bowling Green at WKU (8/18)
10. Ballard vs. 3A #1 Boyle County at Mercer County (8/18)