BluegrassPreps Western Kentucky Power Rankings - Preseason Edition - 8/21/19

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    BluegrassPreps 2019 Western Kentucky Power Rankings

    Preseason Edition
    In 2019, we head into our Fifth Season of BluegrassPreps weekly high school football Power Rankings for each of the regions around the state. With each week's Power Rankings, we will be looking to rank (at least) the top ten teams in each region - regardless of class - against the other teams in their region. Throughout the season, we will be accounting for the results of all the games throughout the region, including the strength of each opponent played, points scored, points allowed, along with several other statistics on each side of the ball.

    Additionally, we will be highlighting a "Game(s) of the Week", and moving forward, will be re-capping the previous game(s) of the week, as well as highlighting regional "Teams Trending Up" and "Teams Trending Down" as various teams improve their performance and other teams fall back. Also look for a featured "Player(s) Of The Week". In the Preseason, I'm pretty amped up SO: Are you ready for some football? Put your cowboy hat on and head out WEST:

    Long-time Caldwell County Coach David Barnes Passes Away: It is with great sadness that I begin this 2019 Preseason Article with the news that stalwart Coach David Barnes from Caldwell County passed away on Saturday August 18th. The Sporting Times produced the following linked article and I could not do better than that with his many accolades and admirable deeds. Western Kentucky has lost a Great Coach, but an even better person and community advocate. Rest in Peace Coach Barnes. You will be missed!
    Caldwell County Football Coach David Barnes Dies | Your Sports Edge

    Western Kentucky 2018 Spotlight:
    Franklin Simpson -
    The 2018 Wildcats brought the Big Hardware back to Franklin again in back to back years with a low scoring 14-12 affair against three consecutive title game rival Johnson Central. This is Franklin's 4th State Championship and creates 2 perfect bookend championships (1979 and 1980 with 2017 and 2018). 8 of 55 sports writers picked Franklin to win this game. Just goes to show you that anyone can win especially when you have good coaching and good players that are instilled in a culture to believe they can win regardless of the noise outside the locker room! BIG Congratulations to Coach Preston, the Franklin Simpson Wildcats and their fans!

    South Warren - The 2018 Spartans didn't garner the top spot in 5A at the beginning of the season, but on the strength of an awesome Senior Class and calm, steady coaching found themselves on top for the second time in program history and the first time in 5A. This was a special class that willed themselves to go undefeated and beat some very good teams in the playoffs along the way, most notably a very talented Covington Catholic squad in the Championship Game. Years from now we will be comparing defensive linemen to Jacob Lacy and VERY few will measure up to that mountain. Congratulations to Coach Smith, the South Warren Spartans and their fans!!!

    2019 Preseason Top 10:
    10) Logan County (4A) - Snapshot:
    The Cougars are still in good hands with Coach Adler and staff. Last year was another tremendous run for a school that just got out of the shadows of a 42 game losing streak!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 10-2) The Cougars continued their remarkable turnaround thanks to Coach Adler and a tremendous group of players and coaches. They are now 21 and 3 in the past 2 seasons on the heels of having the longest losing streak in the state. Wow! They came up second in their tough district after a tight battle with Madisonville ultimately losing 21-17. But the Cougars continued to battle into the second round of the playoffs where they met their fate in Franklin to the eventual 4A State Champions. No shame there! Still a very successful season!
    2019 Outlook: The Cougars still have a lot to like on offense where star SR QB Tyler Ezell returns to improve on nearly 1,700 pass yards in 2018 and ultra-talented SR RB Gary Hardy (nearly 1,500 yards and 18TDs) will lead Logan County in 2019. On the defensive side of the ball, all 3 levels were effected by graduation, none-more-so than star DL Cade McKinnis who was the heart and soul of that fine defense. JR Zach Yates returns to make his mark for the Cougars and try to earn a District Championship in one of the most difficult Districts in 4A Top to Bottom.
    Schedule Highlight: Looking at the schedule; there's not a lot of meat on the bone when you look at the non-district group of 2A Butler County, 5A Muhlenberg County, 5A Breckinridge County, 2A McLean County, and 2A Todd County Central. But your district is so tough and having just come off a 42 game losing streak, I understand having some less challenging games. I would strive to add another challenging game or 2 in the future if you want to be a consistent 4A threat though. I didn't put the Backyard Brawl with Russellville in that group due to the fact Russellville is typically very good and always a tough game. I look for the Cougars to have the upper hand again this season vs Russellville. Week 1 vs 2A Butler County - August 23, 2018 at 7PM. Can you say 1 and 0 boys and girls!

    9) McCracken County (6A) - Snapshot: Coach Marc Clark needs to let his best two Mustangs run - SR WR Franklin Hayes and SR QB Elijah Wheat!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 8-4) The Mustangs came out of the gate last year like a 1974 Ford Pinto on 3 cylinders - going 2 and 3 in the first 5 games of the season (1 of those wins was a Forfeit win vs Northeast Clarksville, TN who used an ineligible player where the scoreboard said 40-10 Clarksville at the end of the game). But to the players and Coach Clark's credit, they didn't quit, circled the wagons and pulled off 6 straight wins and yet another District Championship, which has to be a good accomplishment after such a turbulent start to the year! They hosted a stout Ballard team in Week 2 of the playoffs and just didn't have enough in a 34-18 loss to end the season. But I saw that Ballard team play last year and they were pretty darn solid. Likely 3 tiers right now in 6A football. McCracken is at the top of the 3rd tier. Nothing wrong with that, but just shows there is still a long way to the top.
    2019 Outlook: On offense, the heart and soul of the team is led by SRs QB Elijah Wheat (126 of 205 attempts for 1,822 yards with 18 TDs and 8 INTs), RB Hunter Bradley (143 carries for 744 yards and 10 TDs), and Stud WR Franklin Hayes (32 receptions for 623 yards and 6 TDs). On defense though, all 5 of the 2018 50+ tacklers graduated. So there will be some young guys on the field for the Mustang defense this fall. But can anybody in 6A District 1 beat McCracken? They are going to have to prove it, as the Mustangs have owned that district ever since they consolidated.
    Schedule Highlight: Right out of the gate is a great game against local rival Paducah Tilghman. Tilghman won comfortably last year 35-6 rushing for almost 350 yards. Can the Mustangs stop the run better this year with younger guys on defense? You tell me... Outside of district play, my Purples travel to Paducah Week 2 in what should be an interesting game considering some of BGs injuries. I'll be pulling for the Mustangs Week 8 when Dyer County, TN comes calling. Good luck Mustangs! Week 1 RIVALRY GAME vs 3A Paducah Tilghman - August 24, 2019 at 7PM. HUGE Local Bragging Rights Game Mustang Nation - Get out and support your team!!!

    8) Owensboro (5A) - Snapshot: If Imonte Owsley doesn't tear his ACL, Owensboro is way up this list. Now star LB Austin Gough and a starting OLineman may be injured long term as well. Owensboro is blessed with many athletes, but the 3 above make a BIG difference!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 10-3) Terrific bounce back year after a 4 and 7 2017 campaign was highlighted by ending a long losing streak and beating rival Bowling Green 28-21 in the playoffs along with earning a terrific win at Evansville Reitz as well. Several key losses to graduation include super-tough DT Diamond Glover, undervalued RB Trevon Green, spark plug Aireon Phillips and transfer QB Will Warren.
    2019 Outlook: Had it not been for the injury report from our good friend @Irish Cat, I would have given Owensboro a chance to go to Lexington. But that isn't the case now when you lose a guy who can take it to the house every time he touches the ball and the guy that was the leader of the defense, less is expected now. Also whoever the QB will be (likely SO Gavin Wimsatt or Taquan Robinson) he will be talented, but very inexperienced at the varsity level. Good for him to have stud WR Tyren Hayden to throw to!
    Schedule Highlights: As long as I can ever recall, Owensboro played a stiff schedule; that cannot be said this season. A piece of that has to do to the reshuffling of District opponents where they lose Christian County and pick up Ohio County, Muhlenberg County and Grayson County - 3 very easy wins for the Red Devils. Throw in sacrificial lamb Breckinridge County in the opener and it's hard to see where anyone could characterize this schedule as challenging. So the toughest games are 2A Evansville Central (Indiana) and 5A Graves County. They should still walk to Week 3 of the playoffs and face a serious challenge from either Bowling Green or South Warren. Week 1 at Washington Generals - wanna be 5A Breckinridge County at 7PM.

    7) Paducah Tilghman (3A) - Snapshot: It seems measured progress is being made in Paducah. Look for the Blue Tornados to continue that measured march upward in 2019!
    2018 Recap: [2018 Record 9-3] The Blue Tornados made positive strides last year as Coach Johnathon Smith took the reins for Coach Stephen Duncan for health reasons and according to our good friend @TilghmanPride has continued to instill significant continuity to a program that before Coach Duncan arrived has basically been on a washing machine spin cycle for maybe a decade of coaching stints comprised of poor fits to poor leadership. Tilghman won 4 more games than they did in 2017, with their schedule that is significant!
    2019 Outlook: Tilghman always has athletes! 6'2" JR Camden Marshall will get his shot at QB but also is a standout secondary player. Other skill players of note include speedster and track star Jayden Freemen, who also lines up on the outside at WR allowing both Damien Ford and Jarmorie Sabbs to provide more RB talent on the field. Both lines are solid with SR OL Tim Watkins being the anchor. For the defense, transfer Jonathan George leads the linebackers with Sabbs forming a formidable LB corps. Tilghman will have big play potential all over the field! If they can get timely QB play, the sky's the limit!
    Schedule Highlight: Tilghman always plays a solid schedule and 2019 is no different. With Caldwell County dropping down to 2A, Tilghman looks like the leader in their district, although Union County & Trigg County will be better than you think this year and could challenge. The game I love most on the Blue Tornados schedule, aside from their normal rivalry games over in the Purchase Area, is their tilt with new 3A Class Mate Desales! Outstanding work by both schools to make this happen. This October 4th game in Paducah should be one of the best games in the entire State that week! Week 1 RIVALRY GAME August 24 at 6A McCracken County at 7pm. This is typically a good game to open the season for both squads, although it puts a lot of pressure on both being the opening game, but that is great for the community IMO. Good luck Tilghman!

    6) Hopkinsville (4A) - Snapshot: With QB Jay Bland back from injury and a plethora of talented skill guys around, look for Hoptown to light up the scoreboard this year!
    2018 Recap: [2018 Record 5-7] The Tigers battled so much adversity in 2018 with another extremely difficult schedule, but more so with the loss of ultra-talented QB Jay Bland during the 5th game of the 2018 campaign. Stud Ellis Dunn stepped in admirably, but that clearly diminished the fire power of the Tigers offense. Still they battled on and picked up momentum in the back half of the 2018 schedule before bowing out at gritty Madisonville. But the Tigers were pretty young in 2018 and graduation losses appear minimal while Coach Clayton's system continues to take hold.
    2019 Outlook: The Tigers looked super in finishing runner up in the Inaugural Best of The West 7v7 Tournament. (Great Summer tournament by the way!) QB Jay Bland returns for his SR season. WR Reece Jesse, who is a Missouri recruit was the leading receiver during the 2018 season and looks to improve. SO Jayden Dillard looks to take over for his graduated brother to lead the Tiger rushing game. The Tiger D will be anchored by a trio of really strong players including LB Eric Grubb, DL Denarius Barns and DB Jaxon Davis.
    Schedule Highlight: Hopkinsville has had a brutal schedule the past 2 seasons. They take a step back off that this season losing South Warren and adding Henderson County. That said, I look for Hoptown to be 6 and 1 before the difficult District Play begins with a home game vs resilient Logan County followed by a trip to rugged Madisonville. I look for these district bouts to be epic just like the 34 - 32 7v7 battle Hoptown and Logan County had in July! Week 1: at Kenwood (Clarksville) TN at 7:00PM. Kenwood in 2018 graded similar to where Madison Southern (KY) at 2-8 ranked last year. So I look for Hoptown to start strong this year! Get out and support your team Tiger Fans!

    5) Madisonville-North Hopkins (4A) - Snapshot: The Maroons enter 2019 hungry to go a couple steps further than 2018. With some of the best offensive and defensive lines in the West, maybe they can!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 10-3) Terrific season for the Maroons that brought home a district championship! They fought hard the whole way and lost a heart-breaking low-scoring game at the eventual State Champions (Franklin-Simpson). No shame there. They only lose 8 seniors off the 2018 team.
    2019 Outlook: The Maroons SR QB Hayden Reynolds was one of the most impressive QBs at the Best of the West 7on7 Tournament I saw in July. Add ultra-talented SR RB Jeriah Hightower who rushed for almost 1,800 yards and 23 TDs his JR year and key offensive firepower returns. Add that to maybe the most complete offensive line in the West and they will be a formidable 4A team. The defense will be led by SR Blake Moody and SR LB Krey Cunningham. The Maroons are in a tough 4A District, one of the best top to bottom in the State. Could Madisonville get over the Franklin Simpson hump this year and represent the West in Lexington? You tell me... I think they are going to be hard to stop! Will make that District an all-out war!
    Schedule Highlight: I think the Maroons schedule is pretty solid to help them improve. They get both Logan County and Hopkinsville in Madisonville this year, which is a huge advantage. A big step up in the Maroons schedule is Week 10 when Mayfield comes to town! That will be a big game - write it down! One of the most intriguing games I'll be watching this season is Week 1 August 23 at Nearby Foe 3A Union County at 7pm. 3A Union County has beaten the Maroons 2 years in a row. This should be the year to turn that around - right Maroons?

    4) Franklin Simpson (4A) - Snapshot: After earning back to back State Championships and 3 straight years in the Championship game, the Wildcats return for another run in 2019!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 14-1) As mentioned above, Franklin Simpson climbed the 4A hill again in 2018 and stood alone at the top when it was all said and done! Outstanding and Congratulations! The Wildcat offense was hard to handle last year rushing again for more than 5,000 yards as a team with 2 special rushers gaining over 1,700 yards each! The defense was also very effective as is highlighted by containing a high octane Johnson Central offense to only 12 points in the championship game! Another one for the record books Wildcat fans! With all good things, there comes a time to pay the band and that takes place in the form of graduation. RB's Tre Bass, Carlos McKinney and star lineman Jack Randolf are the major losses on offense. The Wildcat D lose 3 stalwarts in DLineman Traevon Goodnight, Collin Preston and Michael Punzalan and WR Jevon Covington, who was a difference maker on the outside. They will be very hard to replace, but don't count Coach Preston out!
    2019 Outlook: Again hard to improve on a Championship season, but why not go for a 3-Peat! Of the 17 players that played in the Championship Game, 8 return in 2019. It's always good when your QB comes back and the Wildcat Offense will be led by SO QB Luke Richardson (that's right - young man was a Freshman helping lead the Wildcat State Championship Campaign - Impressive!) who was 5 for 7 for 56 yards in the Championship Game. Those aren't Nintendo numbers, but were critical to keep the Eagle defense honest. Younger RBs will have to step up to fill the HUGE void left by standout backs Bass & McKinney. The Wildcat D will be led by SR DB Chase Gooch and SR LB Conner Rodgers and it may take a little time for the chemistry with the new younger Wildcats to synch with the overall defense. The O and D lines were hit hard by graduation, but SR AJ Burr and SO Logan Chandler are back to lead those areas.
    Schedule Highlight: The games that catch my eye for the Wildcats are at 3A Glasgow and at super-tough Battle Ground Academy (Franklin), TN. Franklin may split those games. That leaves another road game against super tough 5A defending Champion South Warren on September 6th as the clear gem to circle on the schedule this year. Don't forget about the Green Wave from 6A Meade County either. The games between these 2 have been feisty to say the least! Week 1 August 23 vs 5A Greenwood at 7PM. I look for Franklin to be way yonder too strong in this game even though it's very early in the season.

    3) South Warren (5A) - Snapshot: On the heels of their second championship and likely best senior class in school history, young Spartans finally get their chance to play. With a medium, medium-rare schedule, look for the Spartans to come on after their opening game against capable and ranked 6A Butler.
    2018 Recap: [2018 Record 15-0] The Spartans ran the table! It's as simple as that! With arguably their best team ever, led by their best Senior Class ever and ultimately the best player ever IMO to play for South Warren Jacob Lacy, who will line up this fall for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (Oh and he is listed as backup nose tackle for the #9 ranked Fighting Irish and scheduled to play - as a FRESHMAN! Wow!). I truly think this young man, barring injuries, will play on Sundays. He's that good. But South also had tremendous other players like QB Gavin Spurrier, S/WR Clayton Bush and RB Cameron Harrison along with outstanding performers on the defensive side of the ball like LB Pete Cross, who will be sorely missed this season. A season for the records books South Warren fans.
    2019 Outlook: All of the players mentioned above are gone and a very limited amount of returning starters will suit up for Coach Smith this season. That doesn't mean they won't be good. It just means they will be largely inexperienced. That starts with incumbent QB SO Caden Veltkamp, who was taken under Spurrier's wing last season. But he was 9 for 31 in mop-up duty last season and will be the man this year to lead the Spartans. Think of a 3 year starting QB for your high school team. That sounds great, but you have to gain the experience on Friday Nights to make it work. But I really think he will be a star in coming years.
    Schedule Highlight: Medium to Medium Rare is the steak of choice for the Spartans. South won't win many strong man competitions at the SOKY Fair when it comes to tough scheduling. Of the 10 games on their schedule, they are clearly favorites to strong favorites in at least 7. Only their first game at WKU vs 6A Butler, who lost a lot from last year and the annual (thank goodness) rivalry matchup with Bowling Green and vs 4A Champ Franklin Simpson are the Spartans likely close to even money. I'm not ripping that schedule like I used to. Coach Smith's scheduling philosophy just brought home the 5A Title. So my question to you is, Is it better to test yourself over the top or just have a medium schedule to prepare you for the playoffs? All that thrown into the mix with the new RPI System to better position yourself for a higher ranking to help you in the later rounds of playoff seeding. I guess we shall see. Week 1 vs 6A Butler - August 24, 2019 at 5PM. Butler, a 6A team out of Louisville, had a terrific season last year going 8-4 and losing at St X to end last season, is a terrific early opponent to test yourself. I hope to make this game and see more of what the 2019 Spartans have to offer early in the year.

    2) Bowling Green (5A) - And here come the Purples! Snapshot: BG has many terrific players, but with the injuries already sustained and a killer schedule, how they fit those players together will make all the difference in their 2019 season!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 9-3) 2018 was a good season for the Purples. The Purples changed head coaches for the first time in more than 20 years and it takes time to get new administrations ironed out and systems implemented. With that said, the 9 wins were largely predicted with the exception of their best win of the season, a 24-21 OT win at 6A St Xavier. A game with a ton of emotion and 2 teams who fought hard to the end on a wet night in Louisville. The three losses (at Top 5 Nationally ranked Warren Central IN, at eventual 5A Champion South Warren and at 5A old foe Owensboro) were each difficult in their own right, especially for BG fans accustomed to making deep playoff runs. But you can't win them all as the old saying goes.
    2019 Outlook: BG will certainly miss the 23 seniors who graduated from last year's team, but most notable on that list will be 2 year starting QB Beau Buchanan. Beau was steady and resilient for BG and will be difficult to replace. The Purples were evaluating 3 players in the pre-season for the QB spot including SR Max Payne, whose brother Clark was a standout QB, Athletic JR Conner Cooper, and ultra-versatile JR Eli Burwash, who is the best punter BG has had in some time along with being a star baseball player. The outcome of this competition seems to have progressed somewhat as 2 of the 3 above are at least slightly injured and the third not called on in the scrimmage against Male but rather SO QB Spencer Newman, who did a terrific job in the scrimmage coming off the bench and leading BG to what I believe were all 4 of their varsity scores vs the 6A Titan. With all that said, who will be under center on August 24th vs Father Ryan? I simply don't know, but it will be imperative for BG to solidify the position and form some continuity going forward early in the season.
    Once BG gets to a home game with Louisville PRP on September the 13th, they begin a brutal stretch of games including St Xavier, at Corbin and at South Warren that necessitates that QB selection so that he has a chance to immerse himself fully into the system, not just a part-time version of it. Keep an eye on how that plays out. Coach Spader has had to roll with the punches that injuries will throw at you early in the year. I know he is up to the challenge and it will be fascinating to see the outcome.
    The rest of the Purples position groups have strong pieces to work with led by 4 Star SR S/LB/RB/Returner Vito Tisdale. Due to Vito's destiny to play defense at the next level, his primary Purples duties will be on the defensive side of the ball this year, but is that set in stone? You tell me... Also garnering serious recruiting accolades is 4 Star TE Jordan Dingle. The 6-4 230lbs JR already has offers from Ohio State, UofL, UK, and Georgia Tech among others. Both offensive and defensive lines will need some 2018 backups to step up in 2019, but both should be solid. Although JR OL Jackson Littlefield is expected to miss 6 weeks due to an injury sustained on the very first offensive play of the Male scrimmage. I hate injuries!
    Schedule Highlights: Bowling Green has the strongest schedule in the West, top to bottom and likely 5A as well. But is it too much? BG plays a killer 4 game stretch starting in mid-September vs 6A PRP, St X, at Corbin and at South Warren. They finish the year vs the #1 Ranked Team in the State - the Trinity Shamrocks!!! As my good friend Daffy Duck used to say "Thanks for the Sour Persimmons Cousin"! That's tough sleddin' right there. I'm hopeful for a QB to be named soon and hopefully he can remain injury free. Week 1 vs. Father Ryan TN - Saturday August 24, 2018 - Rafferty's Bowl 8PM at WKU. I don't know much about Father Ryan except they went 2 and 9 last season playing the Big Boys of Nashville. I did listen to a radio interview of the Father Ryan Coach, who commented on his team saying this will be his most experienced team coming back. So I expect this to be a difficult game for BG with the uncertainty at QB.

    1) Mayfield (2A) - Snapshot: Simply the most complete team in the West coming back and that's why they are here!
    2018 Recap: (2018 Record 14-1) Mayfield continues to be Team Consistency losing only 9 games from 2010 through the 2018 season (that's 9 full seasons!!!). The Cardinals got back to the State Championship game again after a 1 year hiatus back in 2017 after going a noteworthy 8 straight times prior to 2017! Add 5 State Championships collected during that timeframe, confirms your position as a fixture among all WKY football programs and state programs for that matter. I'm sure they were disappointed not bringing the big hardware back to the Purchase Area last season, but Christian Academy was simply stacked with veteran players, who last lost in Mayfield late in the 2017 Playoffs. So no shame there. Mayfield loses stud RB Kent Tray Matthews who gained over 1,800 yards and 29 TDs in 2018, both stout DEs and one solid LB. However, Mayfield expects to reload every year. But when only 10 players played at least 10 games for your 2018 squad, ALL are important!
    2019 Outlook: Thanks to our good friend @Mayfieldsportsfan who was instrumental in helping forecast the 2019 Cardinals season! The Cardinals will be led by standout SR QB Jayden Stinson (145 for 222 with 2,931 yards and 35 TDs vs 4 INTs). All WRs return and most OL return. The RB position will be handled by SR Travon Halliburton, who played the position prior to Matthews, but was injured and now returns along with JR Kylan Galbreath. Mayfield's defensive secondary returns intact. One returning LB will move to the DL and former Warren Central Coach Mike Roger's son Jax Rogers will start at LB. It is reported this will be another terrific defense, but it may take a game or two to get acclimated. But make no mistake, Mayfield will compete for a 2A Championship this season.
    Schedule Highlight: While selfishly, I would like to see Mayfield come to Hopkinsville for the new 7on7 Tournament in July, I really like their Fall schedule this season. The Cardinals don't take a week off, as they always schedule tough competition! Games of note this season include an early gut check game against stout Lausanne Collegiate out of Memphis, TN, who lost in the semi-finals last season. Then turn around and travel to Hopkinsville in what should be my game of the week in Week 2, as Hoptown will be really good this year. The district now includes Caldwell County, who drops down with the reclassification alignment. Don't sleep on the Murray Tigers either, as they are pretty hungry to try to knock off the Cardinals! And Week 10 slates a tough, physical road trip to a gritty Madisonville team that has a very talented Oline and RB. Should be a great game! Week 1 August 23 at home vs. Lausanne Collegiate, TN at 7:00PM. I always pull for Kentucky schools vs non-Kentucky schools! Let's go Mayfield!!!

    Good Enough to Make the Top 10 This Season:
    11) Graves County (5A)
    - The Eagles lose their 4-Year Starter at QB and top tackler from 2018. I haven't even mentioned the Eagles new head coach Nick Kemp, Sr. While I hope Coach Kemp has a good year and know Cody Goatley is a stud player, I don't look for them to compete with Owensboro for a shot to go past the second round of the playoffs and I could have them too high here with significant pieces to replace and a tough early schedule. I'm just not as high on the Eagles as others are.

    12) Glasgow (2A) - With stars Nick Mitchell running the ball and Chase Jones anchoring the DLine, I like Glasgow to make it to the 3rd round of the playoffs at a minimum. From there, we'll see! I may have the Scotties too low.

    13) Murray (2A) - Coach Keith Hodge has been building toward this season with 5 of their top 6 producers back. They have a manageable schedule, especially if they can take care of Graves County out of the gate. No one expects the Tigers to beat Mayfield this year, but we have seen stranger things in rivalry games, although I don't expect that to be the case here. The Tigers should see Mayfield twice this year.

    14) Apollo (6A) - Coach Hawkins has things going in the right direction over off Tamarack Road in Owensboro. Thanks to our good friend @zoneblitz2, who reports the Junior Class at Apollo is set to break out this year with UK verbal commits Logan Weedman (TE/DE) and OL Parker Bates. Add John Lynn TE/OLB and OCath transfer RB Harold Hogg and the Eagles have a lot of potential in 2019. Mark the district game with McCracken County on September 27 in Owensboro as one where Apollo could make their mark this year. I could have the Eagles too low as well.

    15) Owensboro Catholic (2A) - With star WR Nick Mills and star RB Vonn Williams graduated and star to-be RB Harold Hogg transferring to Apollo, Drew Harz will have to be very special this year to get past the 3rd round. The Aces will still own their district, but I fear that's it in 2019.

    16) Caldwell County (2A) - The Tigers lose 20 seniors from 2018. But losing long-time Coach David Barnes will be very difficult for the Tigers to overcome. Stud JR QB/LB Russ Beshear is back to lead the team with star RB DeEric Hollowell. But the significant loss of most players with experience seems to suggest an already difficult year in Princeton to unfortunately stay that way for the Tigers. But I hope you prove me wrong.

    Other Western Kentucky Teams:

    17) Christian County (5A)
    - The Colonels will be very young this year. They battled during the Best of the West 7v7 Tournament, but were more successful finding things to work on than advancing deep in the tournament. That's not meant to pile on, but meant to let you know that it's likely a ground and pound year for the Colonels, but to keep an eye on them for the future.

    18) Daviess County (6A) - With the amount of offensive firepower the Panthers had last season, the resulting 6 and 5 record had to be a disappointment. With the lion share of that firepower graduated, the outlook for this Panther team isn't nearly as high with breaking in a new QB and receiving corps.

    19. Trigg County (3A) - With SR QB Cameron Jordon, United States Navy commit and several other talented skill guys, the Wildcats should compete in 3A District 1. I was really impressed with these guys at the Best of the West 7v7 Tournament.

    20) Western Kentucky 1A - Crittenden County & Russellville - The Rockets of Crittenden County rode a star senior class to an 11 and 2 record before falling in the 3rd round of the playoffs. With 53 kids on the roster, Coach Thompson has some options and likely a leg up in the district.
    The Panthers for the most part beat the teams they were supposed to and lost to the ones they were supposed to. This will be Coach Mikie Benson's second season and he will lean on stud SO Lennon Ries on both sides of the ball this year. It looks to be a tough year out of district for Russellville, but take care of your District and life is good!

    Western Kentucky Bullitt Round:

    - McLean County - 8 - 2018 Wins & Stud RB Peyton Conway back = Promising 2019!
    - Metcalfe County - JR Gabe Zurmehly does it all for the young Hornets & they should improve over 2018 and compete in their district!
    - Hancock County - JR Darian Clay = Player!
    - Ohio County - Transfer JR Q'Darius McHenry is one of the best players most have never heard of!
    - Todd County Central - The Rebels looked GREAT in the BOTW 7v7 Tournament & QB Bryce Nolan is a player!
    - Union County - Braves are lurking with SR QB Solomon Teehan back!
    - Henderson County - Colonels lose Skip Patterson & that's big and why they aren't higher in the ranks.


    Critical High School Football News:
    The realignment of 2019 to 2022 is upon us. Here is the layout of all the new classification and district alignments in case you would like to view it:
    Current Alignment of Team – Football – 219 through 222 Playing Seasons | Kentucky High School Athletic Association
    Also of significant importance to the new season is the new playoff format. The following link provides you a BGP thread on the subject:
    2019 Playoff Alignment


    Games of the Week - Week 1:
    #7 Paducah Tilghman at #9 McCracken County 8/24/18 @7PM
    - This game is probably more important to McCracken County from the standpoint of I don't think they need to win it, but they need to show up better than the 35-6 (loss) effort last season. For Tilghman, it's a chance to set the tone early. For the fans, it's a chance to see what both teams really have early in the year. Should be a great atmosphere! Get out and support your teams!!!

    #11 Graves County (5A) at #13 Murray (2A) 8/23/18 @7PM - This is another terrific game over in the Purchase! These 2 don't have very high profile games except one district game apiece, but this game will set the tone for both. Look for a great early hard hitting game! You could make these 2 games your opening weekend double header in the Purchase Area! Get out and support your teams!!!


    Pre-Season - Teams Trending Downward
    South Warren (5A) - Down -
    This is really a curtain call for the best Senior Class South Warren has ever had. Jacob Lacy, Clayton Bush and Gavin Spurrier led a tremendous Senior Class. It is hard to fathom South rising to the Championship level this season. But Coach Smith is known for bringing his teams along with medium competition and getting them ready mentally and physically as well as any coach for playoff football. We shall see...

    Caldwell County (3A) - Down - This too is a curtain call for Coach David Barnes, who tragically passed away. Additionally, the Tigers lose almost 2 dozen seniors who contributed to last season's 8-4 record. It is hard to see how this season sees an increase in wins in Princeton. BUT NO TEAM WILL PLAY HARDER THAN CALDWELL COUNTY THIS YEAR.

    Pre-Season - Teams Trending Upward
    Madisonville North-Hopkins (4A) - Up -
    Was really impressed with QB Hayden Reynolds at the Best of the West 7v7 Tournament and am willing to overlook the unflattering "pulling out" of that tournament on Day 2 as the heat getting to them. But they have men on their OLine who will make life difficult for Maroon opponents this season. Add stud RB Jeriah Hightower to the mix and the Maroons will be in the 4A hunt come playoff time.

    Hopkinsville (4A) - Up - I got to speak very briefly with Coach Clayton at the Best of the West 7v7 Tournament and came away with "he likes his team". I do too. And if stud QB Jay Bland can stay healthy, he has a wealth of options in the skill spots as Hoptown usually does. LB Grubbs will cause teams fits this season. Hopkinsville will be in the 4A Hunt too! Mark October 11th on your calendar when Hoptown travels to Madisonville for the best 4A game in the state that week! As I think they are in one of the best 4A District in the State top to bottom with Logan County also with a chance.

    Murray (2A) - Up - Tigers really improved last year after a long 5 and 7 season in 2017. While the Rock of Gibraltar (Mayfield) is still a road block to be dealt with, the win last year on the road against Owensboro Catholic in the playoffs was significant IMO. Of the top 6 producing guys from last season (both offense and defense), 5 return for the Tigers. They will be a dangerous 2A team in the West.


    ALL WEST - PRE-SEASON TEAM
    QB - Jayden Stinson, Mayfield
    QB - Javier Bland, Hopkinsville
    RB - Jeriah Hightower, Madisonville - North Hopkins
    RB - Q'Darius McHenry, Ohio County
    RB - Nick Mitchell, Glasgow
    RB - Gary Hardy, Logan County
    WR - Kade Neely, Mayfield
    WR - Franklin Hayes, McCracken County
    WR - Jordan Dingle, Bowling Green
    OL - Parker Bates, Apollo
    OL - Tim Watkins, Paducah Tilghman
    OL - Colt Jackson, South Warren
    DL - Chase Jones, Glasgow
    DL - Blake Moody, Madisonville - North Hopkins
    DL - Isaac Young, South Warren
    DL - Logan Weedman, Apollo
    LB - Cody Goatley, Graves County
    LB - Erick Gruggs, Hopkinsville
    LB - Austin Gough, Owensboro
    DB - Jaiden Jackson, Murray
    DB - Evan Spader, Bowling Green
    S - Vito Tisdale, Bowling Green
    S - Imonte Owsley, Owensboro
    K - Dalton Major, Bowling Green
    Coach - David Barnes, Caldwell County

    (I could put MANY coaches here and would not be wrong as we have MANY strong
    Coaches in our region. I had Coach Brandon Smith here originally as he & his staff earned a State Championship last season when he wasn't picked to do so.

    However, when a Western Kentucky Coaching Fixture like Coach David Barnes passes away tragically, I've decided it is more important to honor his lifetime achievements here, which include (too many to get them all):
    - 171-126 in 26 years as a Head Coach. He was the Daviess County Head Coach for 13 years and then came home to his alma mater for 13 years.
    - Third Most Wins in Caldwell County History 110-50.
    - As a Player, he starred for Caldwell County as a 4-Year Starter at RB and held the single game rushing record of 280 yard & 4 TDs vs Crittenden County back in 1976! That record stood for 34 Years and he coached the young man who broke the record!
    - Guided Caldwell County to the 2A Championship Game in 2012 losing a close game to Newport Central Catholic 30-26.
    - 2014 2A Coach of the Year (Courier Journal).
    - 2017 3A Coach of the Year (KY Football Coaches Association).
    Rest In Peace Coach Barnes - And Thank You for all your Lifetime Contributions both as a Coach and as an Inspiration to those young & old throughout Daviess & Caldwell Counties!)

    It's going to be a GREAT YEAR sports fans! What do you think/like/dislike? Pitch all together? What would you change & why?
    Last edited by Purple88; Aug 21, 19 at 09:05 AM. Reason: Grimlins

  2. #2
    TilghmanPride's Avatar
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    Outstanding job! Thanks for all the hard work. I'm so excited for this season as I know so many are. There is some nice talent in Western Kentucky this year.

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    Outstanding work once again, 88! I really don't think anyone could do it better.

    You and I are going to have to monitor the "Q Effect" at Ohio County this year. Q'Daryius McHenry immediately helped elevate Grayson County from 1 win in 2017 to 8 last year. Can he do the same for the Eagles? They were 1-10 last season. It's definitely something I plan to keep an eye on.
    Last edited by DevilMayCare; Aug 21, 19 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Added stuff

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    Excellent read!

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    Great Job as always @Purple88

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    Hopkinsville may struggle out of the gate until they get their running game on track. Todd County Central had them beat in a scrimmage until two late defensive scores by Hoptown pulled out the win.

    Trigg County has the pieces in place to take a run at Tilghman in the 3A district, but Tilghman is Tilghman.

    Christian County may be a good team but we may never know as they play one of the toughest schedules in the state.

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    @Purple88 great job getting everyone in the know about western Kentucky football.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilMayCare View Post
    Outstanding work once again, 88! I really don't think anyone could do it better.

    You and I are going to have to monitor the "Q Effect" at Ohio County this year. Q'Daryius McHenry immediately helped elevate Grayson County from 1 win in 2017 to 8 last year. Can he do the same for the Eagles? They were 1-10 last season. It's definitely something I plan to keep an eye on.
    DMC,
    That is a great point! Looking at the Ohio County schedule:

    Aug 23, 19 Owensboro Catholic away
    Aug 30, 19 McLean County home
    Sep 6, 19 Hancock County home
    Sep 13, 19 Daviess County home
    Sep 20, 19 Muhlenberg County home
    Sep 27, 19 Owensboro home
    Oct 4, 19 Graves County away
    Oct 18, 19 Grayson County away
    Oct 25, 19 Breckinridge County away 7:00 PM
    Nov 1, 19 Butler County

    I think they will lose to Owensboro and Graves County.
    I think they will beat Grayson County, Breckinridge County, Butler County and Muhlenberg County.
    I think they have a good shot against Daviess County and McLean County.
    I think they have a shot against OCath and Hancock County, but not as good as Daviess and McLean.

    SO, I am thinking 6 and 4, but if they get some luck they could turn it into an 8 and 2 year. In Ohio County, that would be cause for celebration after a very long 2 and 9 season last year! What say you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple88 View Post
    DMC,
    That is a great point! Looking at the Ohio County schedule:

    Aug 23, 19 Owensboro Catholic away
    Aug 30, 19 McLean County home
    Sep 6, 19 Hancock County home
    Sep 13, 19 Daviess County home
    Sep 20, 19 Muhlenberg County home
    Sep 27, 19 Owensboro home
    Oct 4, 19 Graves County away
    Oct 18, 19 Grayson County away
    Oct 25, 19 Breckinridge County away 7:00 PM
    Nov 1, 19 Butler County

    I think they will lose to Owensboro and Graves County.
    I think they will beat Grayson County, Breckinridge County, Butler County and Muhlenberg County.
    I think they have a good shot against Daviess County and McLean County.
    I think they have a shot against OCath and Hancock County, but not as good as Daviess and McLean.

    SO, I am thinking 6 and 4, but if they get some luck they could turn it into an 8 and 2 year. In Ohio County, that would be cause for celebration after a very long 2 and 9 season last year! What say you!
    Ohio won 7 games two years ago and then lost the majority of its offensive firepower, including McHenry to Grayson County and a very good QB to graduation. They were pretty young last year (only 8 seniors), especially on the o-line. With McHenry back in the fold and most of the defense back as well, 6-4 or 7-3 sounds reasonable to me, with 8-2 a possibility.

    For people not familiar with McHenry, this kid is really, really good. We're talking all-state, D1 future caliber good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scribe View Post
    Hopkinsville may struggle out of the gate until they get their running game on track. Todd County Central had them beat in a scrimmage until two late defensive scores by Hoptown pulled out the win.

    Trigg County has the pieces in place to take a run at Tilghman in the 3A district, but Tilghman is Tilghman.

    Christian County may be a good team but we may never know as they play one of the toughest schedules in the state.
    Scribe these are really good points!

    Hopkinsville - when I saw them they were only passing the ball in 7v7. So the Hoptown run game will be really important, but I still think they will be really good.

    Trigg County - was very impressive at 7v7 and have upgraded their coaching staff I think. They will dangerous.

    Christian County - hasn't had the best luck of late with transfers and injuries and graduation. They do play a killer schedule too, plus going in district with BG & South Warren is a tough card to have to play!

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    First let me say, "Excellent job!" You were very thorough and researched.

    Question: If Madville's offensive line is suppose to be good, why didn't any of them make the preseason team?

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    Quote Originally Posted by peoples_champ62 View Post
    First let me say, "Excellent job!" You were very thorough and researched.

    Question: If Madville's offensive line is suppose to be good, why didn't any of them make the preseason team?
    Champ,

    First, thank you!
    Second, good question. I never really went into why or how I select the Pre-Season All West Team. I keep a couple critieria in mind that include:
    - Do players have college scholarship offers? Why? Because that means guys alot smarter than me with football knowledge want the kid to play at the next level.
    - I feel the better teams on this ranking as a general rule likely have a few players that make the difference on being at the top of the ranking as opposed to being at the bottom.
    - With that said, your ranking above "generally" allows a team to gain more players on this list but doesnt guarentee it. So you can expect Mayfield to have more players on the list than Caverna, for example.
    - I typically try my best to keep it to 22 players and a Coach. I didn't make that this year, but almost. That is REALLY tough with as many teams and as many good players as we have in the West!

    Concerning Madisonville, they come in at #5 and have RB Jeriah Hightower and DL Blake Moody on the Preseason Team. I did say I think the Madisonville OL is good and stand by that, but unlike guys on the Madisonville DL I simply don't know as much about them individually. Maybe you could help me here. But I do know Blake Moody had the most sacks on the team and 22 tackles for loss last season. That individually is outstanding and why he in on the list, for example.

    I should likely apologize to Franklin Simpson for not having 1 guy on this team, but they lost those guys to graduation for the most part. But they got some players comin on and will be here in coming years. Thanks for your question!

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    I really do think linebacker Connor Rogers (made the Blue-Grey All-American Team) and Chase Gooch (1st team All-State in 2018) as well as Leandre Stutzman are special players (FCS offers). We have some other good ones as well. No apologies needed. Good read and always interesting. Thanks for taking the time.

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    Purple88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach Preston View Post
    I really do think linebacker Connor Rogers (made the Blue-Grey All-American Team) and Chase Gooch (1st team All-State in 2018) as well as Leandre Stutzman are special players (FCS offers). We have some other good ones as well. No apologies needed. Good read and always interesting. Thanks for taking the time.
    Thanks Coach!

    Best of luck to you and the Wildcats this year! I'll be cheering for you guys!

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