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BluegrassPreps 2017 Western Kentucky Power Rankings – Week 0 Edition

Well I hope you had a great opening weekend to the 2017 Kentucky High School football season and hope you got to go see some of your favorite team’s lace ‘em up one more time! We’ve gone from I think this and that to I saw this and that from THIS year’s squads.

The top story line this week is anticipation. It is a fickle thing. Even if you say you don’t know what to expect from your team, subconsciously you do and likely it is a continuation, to some degree, of last season. Well the great (and leveling) thing about August is that it brings a completely NEW season and circumstances to ALL teams. And as we saw this weekend, ALL our teams have changed, but the anticipation for next week remains, whether you are looking to make big time adjustments and get your first win or to build on your Week 0 success! The season is Officially Underway! Get out to a game this week sports fans!

AROUND THE STATE: On this opening weekend, Kentucky teams played 13 teams from Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio. Well the Commonwealth is smokin early this year as we went 5 and 1 vs the Hoosiers; 7 and 2 vs the Volunteers and 1 and 0 vs the Buckeyes. How bout that to kick off the year!!! Way to represent!!!

Week 0 Game of the Week: #5 Hopkinsville 14 at #10 South Warren 35: This game was really close early on I am told with the halftime score at 7-0 South Warren. Think South may have worn them down a bit late, but to Hoptown’s credit, they didn’t quit and scored on 2 long pass plays late. Many variables here, but IMO, the loss of the caliber of players that Jalen Johnson and Shorty Cager represented to the Tigers football team can not be overstated. Hoptown will continue to get better, but are they a top 4A squad? Not today, but I think they can get there. It’s a long season – hang in Tigers. IMO this will help you more knowing this now than the 2nd or 3rd week of the playoffs. But you have to hang in mentally to get there. That’s job 1 for Coach Clayton.
For South, they just kept finding answers when they needed them (see below). Very impressed with their effort and how their coaches continue to put their players in great situations to make plays and win games. Solid…

Week 1 Western Kentucky Game of the Week: Mayfield (2A) (1-0) at Hopkinsville (4A) (0-1) next Friday Night August 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Stadium of Champions). The Mayfield Cardinals didn’t disappoint last Friday night when they put a 41 Bagel on the formerly #1 Ranked 2A TN Team in the Union City Golden Tornados! Not much wrong in Cardinal Country. The Tigers tasted the other end of the pill with a tough hard fought game at gritty South Warren. That game allowed the realization that Jalen Johnson ain’t come out that field house this season. So others will need to improve to help the Tigers. I think that’s doable as long as the team continues to work hard and stay bought in. The Tigers light switch schedule from poor (2016) to very strong (2017) will be on full display Friday night. Not many teams will test you the way Mayfield will. But IMO this will help Hoptown down the road. I don’t look for a Tigers victory, but I do look for them to play very strong and stay in the game! If I was close to the Stadium of Champions, I’d buy a season pass – Great games here folks! Go support your teams! (After a fine meal at the Woodshed, of course!)

Honorable Mention: Owensboro Catholic vs Evansville Reitz, Indiana – Owensboro vs Evansville Mater Dei – Bowling Green vs Pleasure Ridge Park – Northeast Clarksville, TN at McCracken County – Great games here folks!

Week 0 Top 10:
10) Hopkinsville (4A) – Preseason Rank: 8 - 2016 Record 0-1; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Loss: 35-14 to 5A South Warren (1-0). Tigers find the early road to be a tough one when taking a young team with a new QB and WRs and relatively young lines into hostile territory against a well-coached, solid opponent. The 2016 personnel loses are very significant, but don’t go to Eeyore Camp on me Tiger’s Fans as you have very talented players and an excellent coach. It is just going to take some time. But the road with the 2017 schedule is daunting… Week 1: GAME OF THE WEEK Vs 2A Mayfield (1-0) at the Stadium of Champions at 7:30 pm. This will be the nightcap of the Toyota of Hopkinsville Jerry Claiborne Bowl. The Cardinals will be the second very tough matchup in 2 weeks! A running attack that can take “some” pressure off the young QB would help A LOT!

9) McCracken County (6A) – Preseason Rank: 9 - 2016 Record 1-0; [District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 20 to 19 in OT vs. 3A Paducah Tilghman (0-1). How sweet must this one be for Coach Clark and the Mustangs? This IS a big rivalry in Western Kentucky – make no mistake about it. Both teams desperately want to win and both played pretty well. Also really impressed with the job new Tilghman Coach Duncan has done; as the Blue Tornado’s were ready! Tilghman QB Malichi Kirby and RB Michael Barns were the stars for Tilghman. While steady SR RB TaeShawn Allen had a great game for the Mustangs! Tied at 13 at the end of regulation, the Mustangs struck first in OT with a pass from QB Max Howard to WR Skyler Mayes. Tilghman answered but a botched extra point snap ended the game. Devasting way to lose, my heart goes out to those kids on the botched play! But Great Win for the Mustangs and Big momentum! Practice is always good after a win! And thanks to our good friend Eric Chumbler at the West Kentucky Star for info here! Week 1: Vs Northeast High School in Clarksville, TN (0-1). The Eagles are ranked 5,603 on the MaxPreps National Ranking list and 131st in the State of Tennessee. Whereas, the Mustangs are ranked 3,180 nationally and 41st in our state. I got to watch them play Central Hardin in the Rafferty’s Bowl on Saturday. NE brings very good athletes to the table. #38 is a HOSS and very difficult to bring down. Make them pass Mustangs and I like your chances! Good Luck - Beat Tennessee!

8) South Warren (5A) – Preseason Rank: 10 - 2016 Record 1-0; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 35-14 over 4A Hopkinsville (0-1). As our good friend @jcarter said he’s not really sure what to expect from the Spartans, well we can count on effort, good conditioning, good coaching and versatile players. Also timely transfer JR QB Gavin Spurrier made a big impact on Friday night with his big arm. Spurrier is the son of a WKU Assistant Coach and the grandson of the Ole’ Ball Coach himself – Heisman Trophy Winner – Steve Spurrier! I think this addition alone has the Spartan faithful upbeat after outlasting a tough but young Hoptown squad. Christian Winn appears ready to carry the rock for Spartan Nation with Clayton Bush showing great promise at the WR spot. I would say great effort and outcome for the Spartans in Game #1! Week 1: Play the Opening Act at the Inaugural Citizens First Bowl at WKU vs 4A Warren Central (0-1). This game is Saturday August 26 at 5 pm.

7) Greenwood (5A) – Preseason Rank: 7 - 2017 Record 1-0; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 37-12 at 4A Warren Central (0-1). Greenwood High School was carved out of the old Warren Central vast fertile player incubating grounds! So I anticipate Coach Seabolt did not want to “pour it on” the Dragons in this one. I don’t have stats for this one, but anticipate Jackson Adams had a good game. I think the Dragons will be improved from the 2016 campaign and that’s good for our good friend @DragonFire! Week 1: Play the Nightcap of the Citizens First Bowl at WKU vs 4A Warren East (1-0). The Raiders got a big victory on the Smurf Turf on Friday night shutting out the Portland, TN Panthers 21-0. I’m glad the local teams get to show out at WKU! Good luck to all!

6) Franklin Simpson (4A) – Preseason Rank: 4 - 2016 Record 0-1; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Loss: 55-23 vs 3A Elizabethtown (1-0). On the whole, I haven’t given Elizabethtown enough credit in the past and likely coming into this season as well, but they are obviously very talented and very well coached. I’ll say it again; I fully recognized Etown could win this game, I just didn’t think the FS D would surrender double nickels! WOW! Last time the Wildcats surrendered that many at Shadetree was 69 points to Bowling Green in 2007. According to our good friend @macdon, the Wildcats had 4 turnovers. We all know you can’t do that and expect to beat a good team. Etown with almost 500 yards of total offense (WOW!) to FS’s 350 and Etowns scoring plays (all 7 of them) ranged from 25 yards to 70 yards. So they were getting huge chunks of yards. Pitch in the tents and call it a day? Not by a long shot! I still think the Wildcats will make a deep playoff run, but glimpses of the eclipse will be more realistic than a back to back undefeated regular season. No shame in that. Put your head down and get back to work! Week 1: At 2A Monroe County (1-0) at 7pm. The Falcons got a solid win in Glasgow Friday night against the Trigg County Wildcats. Can Coach Billy Joe Murphy’s squad take down 2 sets of Wildcats in 2 weeks? Come to Tompkinsville and find out!

5) Owensboro Catholic (2A) – Preseason Rank: 5 - 2016 Record 1-0; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 33-31 vs County Rival 6A Daviess County (0-1). Well Aces fans, you got the W, but likely not in the fashion you were hoping for. There still remains concerns for the OLine and possibly your DBs, although I would say everyone will have DB problems guarding Marquel Tinsley, who will only continue to get better. QB Will Warren had a standout game making plays all night. Star RB Vonn Williams however didn’t seem to get going on Friday. Is this carryover from the line issues, I think it likely is. But this will be valuable game film that the coaches can help the younger line guys to improve and I think they will. On a Daviess County note, they came into this game with as many unknowns besides Tinsley as you can imagine. Based on reports from this game, there is reason for much optimism on South 231! Keep an eye on the Panthers! Week 1: vs Evansville Reitz, IN (1-0). Reitz blew the doors off Henderson County Friday night and likely have a really strong team. With the line troubles, I just don’t have a great feel for the Aces in this one, but am pulling for them none-the-less. Go Aces – Beat the Hoosiers!

4) Owensboro (5A) – Preseason Rank: 6 - 2016 Record 1-0; [District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 41-19 over 4A Madison-North Hopkins (0-1). As you recall, I called Madisonville an “old rival”. Well here’s some fun tid-bits for you. The first game between these 2 was in 1911. 100 years ago on 10/9/1917 Owensboro beat Madisonville 116 to 0, I hope there weren’t any fist fights in the parking lot! This game was tied at 19 at the half. Then I’m assuming Coach Fallin, “turned up the heat” in the locker room and got the full attention of his young devils. The second half was a different story with the Red & Black running off 22 unanswered points with no points yielded by the defense. Week 1: At Rash Stadium Vs Evansville Mater Dei (0-1) on Saturday August 26 at 6:30pm. Mater Dei lost at home last Friday to Lutheran North out of St Louis 38-18. Lutheran North is ranked 3,110 nationally by MaxPreps while Mater Dei is ranked 5,203 nationally. Owensboro comes in 2,779 nationally, so I feel really good about this one for the Red Devils! I hope to sneak over to Rash and take this one in on Saturday. Come out and support your team Red Devil Fans! You should also know that stud WR Marquel Tinsley and Daviess County takes on Evansville Memorial at 4 also at Rash on Saturday. Come watch the daily double on Saturday Sports Fans!

3) Mayfield (2A) – Preseason Rank: 3 - 2016 Record 1-0; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 41-0 over Union City, TN (0-1). Hopefully TN authorities aren’t thinking of “Building a Wall” at the State Line over the Shellacking Mayfield gave the former #1 2A team in TN. Even so, I’d say the Cardinal faithful could bust through it! Mayfield appeared in near mid-season form right out of the gate with both new QBs being very effective for Big Red. However, our good friend @rookie57 reports he was UNDERWHELMED by UC and @snakesnot_2000 reported UC to be poorly coached. I think a lot of times good teams can make other teams seem that way. But I happen to think Mayfield is just that good year in and year out. Also our good friend @MHSCardinal reported “the DLine is a little bigger and stronger” than last year. Scary words indeed! Week 1: GAME OF THE WEEK! At The Stadium of Champions vs. 4A Hopkinsville (0-1). Mayfield takes their show on the road this week into Hopkinsville, a 4A squad full of athletes, but coming off a stinging loss and dare I say little shot of reality (losing 2 studs they hoped would be back). Try the Woodshed’s Barbeque Cardinal Fans and head to the Jerry Claiborne Bowl to support your team!

2) Christian County (5A) – Preseason Rank: 2 - 2016 Record 1-0; [District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 27-10 at 3A Caldwell County (0-1). Was I expecting too much out of Christian County in this one? Likely. Am I underestimating Caldwell County? Maybe. Do the Tigers miss former QB Shane Burns? No doubt about it. County got a kick 6 from Star Corey Trice and a defensive TD to get to a more comfortable final score. First game out of the gate after a long winters nap; but County is a veteran team this year. I guess that’s why I expected more. No stats available to me on this one, so add if you have them! Thanks! Week 1: Play the Opening Act of the Toyota of Hopkinsville Jerry Claiborne Bowl (at the Stadium of Champions) vs Rossview High School from Clarksville, TN at 5:30pm. According to MaxPreps, the Rossview Hawks finished the 2016 season with a 5 and 6 record losing in the first round of the TN playoffs to Memphis Central. Rossview is a 5A TN school who is ranked 4,510 nationally and 107 in TN. Christian County on the other hand has MaxPrep rankings (just to give you something to compare to as I really don’t know the Hawks from a bird in the bush) of 701 nationally and 11th in KY. Scheduling is a fickle beast, but County should be the FAR superior team in this matchup!

1) Bowling Green (5A) – Preseason Rank: 1 - 2016 Record 1-0; District Record 0-0] Week 0 Results: Win: 42-7 over 6A North Hardin (0-1). I thought early on in the first Quarter BG seemed a little loose on assignments as North was going no huddle and moving the ball a bit, but the defense stiffened and the Trojans rarely played on the BG side of the field until late in the second half. On offense, not sure how you could draw up a better opening game performance for JR QB Beau Buchanon (16 for 24 for 226 yards and 2 TDs). While the offense played well, the defense was outstanding limiting the Trojans to no real scoring opportunities while the starters and 2-deep players were on the field. Star Justice Dingle and Devan Jackson make KEY plays to put the Purples offense in good spots on the field. Stand out starting LB J’son Beason left the game late in the 2nd Quarter and did not return. Something to keep an eye on going into the teeth of the schedule. Week 1: At 6A Pleasure Ridge Park (1-0). This is be a terrific test for the young Purples on the road in a hostile environment against a team that likely has speed to match BGs at most positions. This one will be one of the toughest regular season games for sure for the Purple & Gold. Fill up your gas tank Purples fans and drive up I-65 to the Ville and meet me at Mike Linnig’s for a pre-game meal prior to heading over to PRP stadium!
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Week 0 Players of the Week: *I don’t have many stats available, so please add as you see fit!
1) Fulton County Pilots – ALL 26 of them!!! (See Below!)
2) Gary Hardy – RB – Logan County – 16 carries for 272 yards and 3 TDs vs Butler County!
3) Justice Dingle – LB – Bowling Green – 8 tackles; 1 sack; 1 forced fumble leading to a scoop 6 TD vs North Hardin.

Week 0 “Big Droppers”
Franklin Simpson (4A) – Down – Probably as big of wake up call as you will find for the Wildcats. They may not see the kind of speed Etown has the rest of the season! No reason to panic! You have a good coach who will steady the ship, but now is the time to get down to business. I believe the Monroe County game is just what the doctor ordered. But don’t expect a lot of hugs and kisses from the South Warren Spartans when you travel there on September 1. Tough game!
Hopkinsville (4A) – Down – It is probably unfair of me to expect Hoptown to travel to gritty South Warren and come away with a win with 2 of their best athletes not participating that just months ago likely were playing. But with all the commotion along Koffman Drive, it seems a façade was created not necessarily of their own making dictating the Tigers would be JUST AS GOOD WITHOUT THEM. This is folly. And now it is out in the open. What next Tigers? I don’t expect a win vs Mayfield, but I do expect effort and hustle and keeping it close. Am I off base here? I don’t think so…

Pre-Season “Big Risers”
Fulton County Pilots (1A) – Up – Our good friend @gchs_uk9, beat me to the punch of congratulating the Fulton County Pilots, who broke a 27-game losing streak, toppling their Volunteer State neighbors in the season opener. Fulton County's last win had come on September 5, 2014, when they beat Fulton City 20-18. The last Fulton County win over a team other than Fulton City was a 38-21 victory over now-defunct Reidland on September 2, 2011. That’s not a misprint! Congratulations to Coach Gallagher and all 26 of his players! I hope you win out!
Logan County (4A) – Up – How bout the Logan County Cougars! Topple the Butler County Bears 42-24! SO RB Gary Hardy was BIG with over 200 yards on the ground and SR LB Curtis Shelton with 10 tackles to lead the defense. Look out - the Cougars are gaining momentum! What’s the odds they stay with 6A Muhlenberg County next week at home? Muhlenberg just lost at 5A Owensboro Apollo 50-22. Go Cougars!