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BluegrassPreps 2019 Western Kentucky Power Rankings – Week 8 Edition

The top story line this week continues to be the impact of the BYE Week with only 1 game impacting 2 Top 10 teams was played this week! And only 6 teams and 5 games were played in spots 11 through 20, so let’s just say it was a light week overall! But this is a clear indicator that the push to finish the year strong is now upon us! Most teams have big district games still to go! So let’s get ready…

Week 8 Western Kentucky Games of the Week:
4A Hopkinsville (5-3) 18 at 4A Madisonville North-Hopkins (7-1) 20.
The last big battle between the Big 3 within 4A District 1 did not disappoint! Madisonville dominated the first half leading 14-0 behind stellar running from Star RB Jeriah Hightower! And into the first part of the 3rd Quarter, the Maroons added 6 more points on with a punt returned for a TD by Gunner Dameron! But Hoptown would not quit, as we have seen this entire year! The Tigers started to make plays mostly in their passing game where they rolled up 200 yards on the night! Additionally JR WR Lane Rushing really broke out in this game to give the Tigers very formidable WRs on both sides of the field joining Star Reece Jesse! Hoptown would come all the way back to get to 18-20 with a 2 point conversion try. But that attempt was unsuccessful and the Maroons escaped with a critical win to set up a 3 way tie atop the best 4A District Top to Bottom!

Week 9 Western Kentucky Game of the Week:
2A Caldwell County (6-2) at 2A Murray (6-1).
Terrific game over on the left bank of the state! The winner of this game pretty much wraps up the 2 seed in the district, while Murray still gets to take their shot against Mayfield, and even if Murray loses at Mayfield it’s the winner of this game that will determine home field for that critical first round game of the playoffs! In this battle of Tigers, Caldwell County QB Russ Beshear has played well throwing for over 800 yards on the season with 12 TDs vs 6 INTs and RB DeEric Hollowell has rushed for over 700 yards and 12 TDs on the year! For Murray, QB Hunter Utley has passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 27 TDs vs 3 INTs and WR Tommy Waldrop has 43 catches for over 700 yards and 11 TDs on the year! So this should be a terrific game! Good luck to both teams!

Honorable Mention: Dyer Co TN at McCracken County, Owensboro at Graves County, Taylor County at Glasgow, Crittenden County at Fulton County, Henderson County at Daviess County, Hancock County at OCATH, Union County at Paducah Tilghman, and Allen County-Scottsville at Warren East. Try to make it out to one of these great games!

Week 8 Top 10:

10) Glasgow (3A)
– Preseason Rank: 12 - 2019 Record 6-1; District Record 1-0] Week 8 Results: BYE Week. The Scotties headed into the Bye Week in great shape and were a whisker from being undefeated. Still very promising season ahead for Glasgow. As you take a look at their schedule, all 3 are games Glasgow will compete in and likely should win at least the first 2. The last game of the year vs Franklin Simpson is a terrific game we’ll keep our sights on! Week 9: vs 3A District Mate Taylor County (6-1). These teams have equal records coming into the break. Looking at the teams they have lost to, South Warren barely beat Glasgow 21-20 and 6A Simon Kenton beat Taylor up in NKY 39-7. I think South is stronger than Simon Kenton IMO and I like the Scotties in this game, but not by more than 2 TDs. And it could be much closer. What say you…

9) Paducah Tilghman (3A) – Preseason Rank: 7 - 2019 Record 5-2; [District Record 1-0] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK. Tilghman can certainly use this down time to prepare for the final push of the season. Focus on the District Championship is now paramount! Good luck Blue Tornados! Week 9: vs 3A District mate Union County (4-2). With a win here, Tilghman is almost assured a District Title with only one remaining District game at Poor Ole’ Webster County! So this is a Big Game! I look for Tilghman to try to get back on their rushing game and try to wear down the Braves to get that job done! While I like Tilghman by 3 TDs, I would not overlook an always scrappy Union County team, as they remind me of a Graves County Roman candle kinda team that seems to have one good spark left in them but you don’t know when it’s coming out! But I still have confidence in Tilghman in this one!

8) Logan County (4A) – Preseason Rank: 10 - 2019 Record 6-1; District Record 1-1] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Cougars are banged up! With very physical tough games back to back to Madisonville and Hoptown, the Bye Week came at just the right time. Now with the vastly easier part of their district schedule to complete, they should be able to play some younger Cougars while continuing to heal some critical starters. I still don’t know the status of star RB/LB Gary Hardy. Could someone provide an update? It would be appreciated! Rest/Heal up Cougars! Week 9: vs 4A District Mate Hopkins County Central (0-8)! After losing the Basement Bowl this week to Calloway County, the Storm now face an almost assured winless season. I get no pleasure typing that, as I have compassion for the Storm players just like anyone else’s team. Better luck next year Storm! With that said, Cougars roll!!!

7) Hopkinsville (4A) – Preseason Rank: 6 - 2019 Record 5-3; District Record 2-1] Week 8 Results: Western Kentucky GAME OF THE WEEK - Loss: 20-18 at District Rival 4A Madisonville-North Hopkins (7-1). Great effort Tigers! Yes, I know you wanted to win this game, but when your starting kick got injured that put you on a much more unstable course and it turned out to be critical because Hoptown had to go for the 2 point conversion after all 3 TDs. They did not convert on any of those 3 and that turned out to be the difference! Still Star QB Jay Bland, RB Jayden Dillard and WR Reece Jesse all played really well. But to me the emergence of WR Lane Rushing on the other side of the field when Jesse was getting double teams all night that propelled Hoptown back into this game! Great effort and you’ll see them later! Week 9: BYE WEEK! Bye Weeks can be awesome tools for a football team when combined with a proper timing element. Well that’s certainly the case for the Tigers! After 2 drop down – drag out cage matches against Logan County and now Madisonville, the Tigers have certainly earned the off week! And great scheduling to put the BYE here as well! It should set the Tigers up well to ramp up into Week 1 of the playoffs! As District Champs? You tell me…

6) Madisonville – North Hopkins (4A) – Preseason Rank: 5 - 2019 Record 7-1; [District Record 2-1] Week 8 Results: Western Kentucky GAME OF THE WEEK - Win: 20-18 vs District Rival 4A Hopkinsville (5-3). Great Win Maroons! You controlled the first 2.5 Quarter of this game with another fine effort from Star RB Jeriah Hightower! You will see him later. I should point out that Mr. Hightower is the State’s Leading Rusher and ranked 3rd in the country with 1,723 yards coming into this game! Outstanding! But the Maroons D played tough when they had to, especially on all 3 2 point conversion attempts! BIG, BIG Win for Madisonville! Now with a 3 way tie at the top, it will come down to the tie-breaker system that might not be settled until the last week of the season! Week 9: at 4A District Mate Calloway County (1-6). The Lakers are ridin high with their first win of the year over fellow district basement dweller Hopkins County Central. Good for Calloway County! Plus, it is a long bus ride from Madisonville to Calloway County, but when it’s all said and done, Madisonville is a very good team this year and Calloway County is not and that will ultimately describe the final score in this one somewhere in the vicinity of 46-8 Maroons.

5) Owensboro (5A) – Preseason Rank: 8 - 2019 Record 6-1; [District Record 3-0] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Red Devils cruised into the Bye Week as smooth as Kentucky Lake on a fine crisp Fall Morning! No worries here! The Red Devils seem to have gotten most of their injuries (albeit important ones) out of the way early this year! The remaining Owensboro schedule displays an always gritty Graves County team, upstart Grayson County, along with old foe Hendo, who has played really well this season. But I’d honestly be shocked if Owensboro had a lot of problems against any of these teams, but you just never know and that’s why you play the game! Good luck Red Devils! Week 9: at 5A District Mate Graves County (3-4). Maybe an interesting game for a while! It’s a 2.5 hour drive over to Mayfield from Owensboro, so that could definitely have an effect early. But I just think the Red Devils have too many weapons that Graves just won’t be able to account for. But I am looking forward to seeing how QB Gavin Wimsatt performs in this game. Will be interesting to note. Good luck Red Devils!

4) Mayfield (2A) – Preseason Rank: 1 - 2019 Record 6-1; District Record 1-0] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK. Mayfield strolls into the Bye Week in really good shape. They have 2 district games left. One is a walk in the park (against poor ole’ Ballard Memorial) and one will be challenging IMO (vs Murray). Then a final trip east to a big, physical Madisonville team that will certainly test the Cardinal’s metal, especially on defense as the Madisonville rushing attack may be the best in the West, if not the State! With all that said, you have IMO the most experienced Coaching Staff in the West and that will surely guide you through this stretch of games. This should set the Cardinals up looking to host games at War Memorial Stadium deep into the playoffs! Your enemy will almost certainly be injuries as you will have to give your all in the Murray and Madisonville games! Week 9: vs 2A District Mate Ballard Memorial (1-6). I’d certainly dress all the Freshman team for this game. As they could certainly perform in this game. Also, who will take over when QB Jayden Stinson graduates? This is the game to get him a few series of Friday Night Lights! Rest up Cardinals!

3) McCracken County (6A) – Preseason Rank: 9 - 2019 Record 5-2; District Record 2-0] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! Similar to their Purchase Area rivals above, the Mustangs stroll into the Bye Week playing really well and already have 2 district wins under their belt! McCracken seems to have limited injuries at this time, but I’m sure some nagging injuries persist. Great week to get back to full health! The Mustangs final 3 games include the likely District Championship at Henderson County on October 25th. That one should be a great game as both these teams have played well this season. The last game of the year sees a beleaguered Christian County team come to town winless. So the Mustangs could see a desperate team November 1, but still McCracken is clearly the class of that game. Onward to an interesting game! Week 9: vs Dyer County (Newburn), TN (6-1). The Choctaws will roll into Paducah with confidence, as they have won every game this season with ease (save a 27-24 win against Clarksville, TN). Their lone loss was to Henry County, TN who checks into MaxPreps National Ranking around 1,000. They are somewhat closely graded to North Hardin at 860. So this should be a good game to see where the Mustangs are at in this latter part of the season! This game also sets the stage for their huge district showdown in Henderson the week after. Good Luck Mustangs! I’ll be pulling for you against the Choctaws!!!

2) South Warren (5A) – Preseason Rank: 3 - 2019 Record 6-1; District Record 0-1] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Spartans were dealt their first loss of the season in Week 7. So, in many ways the BYE Week has come at a good time for South so they can refocus for the final 3 games of the season and hopefully get some valued Spartans healthy! With that said, the Final 3 games of the season (at Greenwood and at Christian County and home vs Logan County) should line up in your favor, especially the first 2 games. The Logan County game in the final week of the season is interesting, as do you manage some of your ailing personnel that week, as you likely won’t need that game going into the playoffs. We shall see how Coach Smith handles it! Week 9: at 5A District Mate Greenwood (5-2)! The Gators have only beaten the Spartans once. A 17-16 OT Thriller at Greenwood back in 2016. If memory serves me correctly, the Spartans had some injury issues in that one as well! Does this game have a chance to be the Gators second win in this series? I don’t know, but the longer the Gators hang around, the longer they will believe they can win! The Spartans need to shake off Week 7 and come out strong here to prevent a closer than comfortable game; it’s as simple as that! Good luck Spartans!

1) Bowling Green (5A) – Preseason Rank: 2 - 2019 Record 4-2; District Record 1-0] Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Purples had to have a good Bye Week after getting the Spartan Monkey off their backs! Yes, it’s just one game, but it means a lot toward district play and it means a lot in the community. The Purples remaining games represents 2 valleys and 1 peak! BG will face district foes Christian County (winless) and Greenwood (have never beaten BG in more than 25 tries) and represent the valleys, while the final game of the season sees the vaunted Trinity Shamrocks drive down I-65 to battle the Purples and they clearly represent the peak! BG should handle their district foes with no problem. But the Shamrocks are a completely different animal. If BG couldn’t beat St X, how can BG beat a team St X lost to 35-3? You tell me… Week 9: vs 5A District Mate Christian County (0-7). This matchup has been a really big one in Western Kentucky in the near recent past! But Kolbi Langhi and Cory Trice ain’t walkin through that door! The Colonels are simply young this year and have competed well in several games, but just couldn’t close the deal. I certainly don’t think they close it at El Donaldson Stadium either! Purples roll!!!

Next 10 – 11 to 20:
11) Owensboro Catholic (2A) (6-1)
– Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Aces are playing awfully well pulling into their Bye Week! Star QB Drew Hartz is playing as well as anyone in the State IMO. It doesn’t hurt to be playing a soft district schedule, but that’s not the Aces fault. You play who remains on your schedule! For the Aces, they finish up district play with homes games vs a decent Hancock County team and a struggling Butler County team. They finish the year at home vs nearby rival 6A Apollo, who has clearly been improving of late. The district games likely get out of hand quickly, but the game with Apollo could see it closer for a while. But I still think the Aces pull away from the Eagles late in that game! Good luck Aces! Next up: vs 2A Hancock County. I think the Hornets are a decent 2A team that have improved come District play. The problem is the Aces are destroying their district and ultimately think the Hornets get swatted in this one! Go Aces!

12) Henderson County (6A) (5-1) - Week 8 Results: Win 20-13 vs 6A Apollo. Thanks to our good friends @wrn1979 and @Brown for bringing us the updates in this District battle! Apollo led 7-0 at the half while just missing a FG attempt close to the end of the first half. Henderson County tied it up about mid-way through the 3rd Quarter, but then word started trickling in for some unscrupulous play suggesting late hits and ripping Apollo helmets off committed by the Colonels players! I assume this to be the case unless someone saw it differently. That is definitely troubling to hear. Is there some bad blood between Apollo and Hendo or just a hard hitting District Game that got a little out of hand? You tell me… Week 9: at 6A District Mate Daviess County. News Flash Colonels! You better get more than 1 guy on Panther Star RB Shane Riley! This young man is a force on the football field, but he’s been hurt of late. But he is a game changer. If Hendo can control Mr. Riley, I like them in this game by about 14 points! Good Luck Hendo!

13) Franklin Simpson (4A) (3-4) – Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK. Well, I’m sure you’d like more wins in this first half of the year Wildcat Fans, but as we’ve discussed injuries and younger Wildcats need time to get their footing on the varsity field. The good news is it sounds like that is the case, especially along the line of scrimmage. Looking at the final 3 games of the Wildcats season show Warren Central and Warren East at home and then a very interesting road trip on the final week of the season at surging old rival Glasgow. I think the Wildcats will be too much in their District games, but to overlook Warren East would be a mistake! The Glasgow game is intriguing on a number of levels and we’ll discuss those later! Next up: vs 4A District Mate Warren Central! The Dragons haven’t won a game in a long time and the bottom line is that they won’t win here either. But their final 2 games, I do give Central a chance in both! Good Luck Dragons! For Franklin, this game would be great to make sure any younger Wildcats you want to bring up for a shot at varsity ball this year and next are ready to play on the 18th! Good luck Wildcats!!!

14) Murray (2A) (6-1) – Week 8 Results – Win 54-6 vs 2A District Mate and Poor Ole’ Ballard Memorial. Just 2 teams at different levels, but hey Bombers, you did beat Fulton City last week! Murray in a really big way! I hope the Tigers got some cubs in this game. Star QB Hunter Utley and undervalued WR Tommy Waldrop were huge in this game and you’ll see them later! Not much else to see really. Next up: WESTERN KENTUCKY GAME OF THE WEEK vs 2A District Mate Caldwell County. This should be a really entertaining game! I respect Caldwell’s program quite a bit but just feel Murray is the better team this year with likely the better lines. Plus playing at home will be an advantage IMO. Am I wrong? You tell me… Go Tigers!

15) Caldwell County (2A) (6-2) – Week 8 Results: Win 40-0 vs District Mate 2A Fort Campbell. Cheer up Falcons! You are finally on the BYE Week with Ballard Memorial coming to call on the 25th! This is your shot! Don’t miss! For Caldwell County, they were razor sharp as one should be against a lesser opponent! I don’t have any stats for this one, but a good team beats a really struggling team is the theme here! A Big game is upon you now! Rise up Tigers! Next up: WESTERN KENTUCKY GAME OF THE WEEK - at District Mate Murray. Important game right here Tigers Fans! This game will likely determine who hosts the Round 1 playoff rematch between these 2. So, if you’d like to host a playoff game, and I’m sure you would, give it all you got at Murray! You’re going to have to stop/neutralize stellar QB Hunter Utley, who can be a dual threat QB. It won’t be easy. Good luck Tigers!

16) Graves County (5A) (4-3) – Week 8 Results: Win 21-10 at New District Mate Grayson County! Graves with a big District Statement win here as they knock Grayson County from the unbeaten ranks! The Eagles rushing attack was in full swing and really dictated this game as Graves County rolled up almost 290 yards on the ground! 2 Eagles RBs each had over 100 yards rushing and you’ll see them later! Also the Eagles defense came to play by limiting Grayson County to only 59 yards total offense on the night! That’s stout work there! Nice win and it sheds quite a bit of light on where Grayson County really is as well. Next week: vs District Mate Owensboro. Graves County is playing well right now and they will host this game, which I do think is an advantage. This game has a chance to be close early as Owensboro will be driving 2.5 hours over into the Purchase Area. But I just think Owensboro has better athletes across the board and especially on defense. The Red Devil D has been terrific of late. QB John Brown has his work cut out for him! Good luck Eagles!

17) Greenwood (5A) (5-2) –Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! The Gators got to rest up after a strong opening 7 games to the 2019 season! Their opening win vs Franklin Simpson is still one of the more surprising of the entire season to date. Yes, you likely should have held on to beat Barren County. But still much promise in the Gator camp! Onward! Next week: vs 5A District Mate South Warren! The Gators upset South back in the 2016 campaign for their only win vs the Spartans! Could this be the second? In order for that to happened, you’d think star Reed Sloan would have to be involved to some degree, as he pulled Greenwood through last week vs Christian County. Also, can the Gator D Line hold up against a fine South OLine? That may be the difference in the game right there! It’ll be a tough game for sure, but at least South won’t be coming into it flying high and missing a couple key pieces of their team. Good luck Gators!

18) Warren East (4A) (4-3) – Week 8 Results: BYE WEEK! Raider Nation has done pretty well this year! Their only losses are to South Warren, Logan County and a 22-13 setback to Greenwood. Those are all teams above you in these rankings! What about from here on out? Only 1 of 3 remaining opponents are above you in these rankings (Franklin Simpson). While I don’t think you’ll beat Franklin, especially away, I can see you beating Allen County-Scottsville and even a physical Daviess County team on the road. But you will need to shore up your defense prior to that last one, as you gave up over 300 yards rushing to Greenwood! Good Luck Raiders!

19) Barren County (6A) (5-2) – Week 8 Results: Loss 38-0 vs New District Mate 6A Central Hardin. This loss doesn’t surprise me and shouldn’t any Trojan fan that knows it’s going to take time to compete near the top of 6A District 2! Also know Trojan Fans that this year is one of the absolute top years for both Central Hardin and North Hardin so maybe you’ll have a shot not so far down the road! Best of Luck! Next up: vs New District Mate 6A North Hardin. Well Trojan fans, at least you get the 2 toughest district teams at home this year! Problem is they are both way too tough for you this season. But chin up, as you are headed up overall and if you can compete with Meade County things would definitely be rosier going into the 2020 season! Good Luck Trojans!

20) Crittenden County (1A) (5-2) – Week 8 Results – Win 54-0 vs. Poor Ole’ Caverna! Trying to find clarity with this #20 spot is like trying to get free HBO back in the day with the wavy lines rollin across your screen from time to time! But it makes it fun too, as we get to highlight a number of very solid team across our Great Region of the State! I feel bad for Caverna to ride 3 hours over to Marion to get crushed! Sorry, I just do. Not taking anything away from a fine Rockets club here, as they did what they were supposed to do! Many Rockets play well and you’ll see some of them below! Next up: at 1A District Mate Fulton County! This could be a very interesting game. While I fully expect Crittenden to win, this is one of the best Fulton County teams I can recall and Caleb Kimble is a very fine runner. Problem is Crittenden knows this and will load the box and make it very tough on the Pilots! Still hoping for a good one here! Good luck Rockets!

Week 8 Players of the Week:
*I don’t have all stats available, so please add as you see fit!

1) Jeriah Hightower – RB – Madisonville – 27 carries for 132 yards and 1 TD vs Hopkinsville!

2) Jay Bland – QB – Hopkinsville – 21-44 for 200 yards and 3 TDs vs 1 INT vs Madisonville! Add WR Lane Rushing with 7 catches for 97 yards and 1 TD and WR Reece Jesse with 6 catches for 58 yards and 2 TDs!

3) Hunter Utley – QB – Murray – 10 for 15 for 312 yards and 6 TDs! Add star WR Tommy Waldrop with 5 catches for 241 yards and 4 TDs vs Ballard Memorial!

4) Clint McKee – RB – Graves County – 27 carries for 167 yards and 1 TD! And Cody Goatley – RB – 15 carries for 114 yards and 1 TD at Grayson County!

5) Hunter Jones – QB – Crittenden County – 10 for 13 for 201 yards and 2 TDs! Add star RB Xander Tabor who rushed only 5 times for 117 yards and 2 TDs vs Caverna!

6) Trenton Brown – RB – Breckinridge County – 6 rushes for 86 yards and 3 TDs vs Nelson County!

7) John Foster – QB – Calloway County – 10 for 17 for 176 yards and 4 TDs vs 1 INT! Add RB Jacob Watters with 15 carries for 238 yards and 4 TDs vs Hopkins County Central!

8) Adrian Stringer – QB – Hopkins County Central – 33 for 60 for 487 yards passing and 3 TDs vs 2 INTs! Add WR Blaisin Moore who caught 14 passes for 247 yards. He didn’t have any TDs, but he did make an INT playing defense! Outstanding effort vs Calloway County!


Week 8 “Teams Trending Down”
Hopkinsville (4A) – Down
– When you play in a great district, you can easily be up one minute and down the next! Such is the case with Hopkinsville. Let me be clear that Hoptown isn’t here because they played poorly. To the contrary, they are here because they had a ticket to basically a first round bye if they could have harnessed this game. But it wasn’t meant to be. But Hoptown’s effort was commendable! Sometimes players get hurt and you have to adjust and play with those you have. And such was the case with the Tigers last Friday Night! Still a lot to play for! Good Luck Tigers!

Grayson County (4A) – Down – I’m not here to pile on the Cougars! But I will point out the obvious that we all knew your schedule was suspect. And I think that showed on Friday Night. I’m not sure they beat Graves County if they had a more difficult schedule or not. But when the first time you are really tested all year is 3 games into your District Slate, maybe you need to reconsider this scheduling thing… Am I right? You tell me… But good luck the rest of the way Cougars!

Teams “Trending Up”
Madisonville (4A) – Up
– HUGE Win Maroons! You rode your stud RB in the first half and held on in the second half against a worthy opponent! The breaks seemed to finally go your way at the end of a game for once and I’m sure you’re pleased with that! Still a lot to play for if you expect to go beyond the second round of the playoffs! Very nice work Maroons!

Graves County (5A) – Up – Coach Kemp has to be extremely proud of his team! They could have easily come in soft in this game and let Grayson County hang around and keep it closer than the score turned out to be. But when you only give up 60 yards on the night, you are playing sound defensive football! That has to be very encouraging if you’re a Graves County fan! But do they have anything for the Red Devils? You tell me… Good luck Eagles!

“Broke Their Maiden” – In horse racing, when you break your maiden, you win your first race. Well this category is for teams that don’t get as much love, but did get their first victory of the season here and I think that’s significant:

Basement Bowl - 4A Calloway County (1-6) defeats 4A District Mate Hopkins County Central (0-7) 69-35 – What an epic battle; as both teams laid it on the line! You have to admire young kids desire to get the win in a game like this one! As you can see some of the fine efforts highlighted in the Players of the Week category above, you know this game was played with great passion and great determination and makes high school football the great game it is! Congratulations to Coach Champion and Laker Nation!