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District 1
#4 Caverna (1-9) at #1 Crittenden County (8-2)

Previous Meeting: Crittenden County 54-0 on 10/11

In the first meeting Crittenden County racked up 386 yards of offense to Caverna’s 61 yards, with a rushing total of -6 yards. Crittenden County’s Xander Tabor is #4 in rushing in 1A with 1,275 yards averaging 8 yards per carry. Caverna does have a top receiving threat in Zyier Yates. Yates has 30 receptions for 637 yards, averaging 21.2 yards per catch. Crittenden County is #5 in 1A in scoring margin and they will improve on that in this game.

Prediction: Crittenden County 56 Caverna 0

#3 Fulton County (6-4) at #2 Russellville (3-7)
Previous Meeting: Russellville 34-31 on 10/4

As the score in the previous game attests, this should be a very good first round matchup. This is where strength of schedule meets record. The first time these two met, Fulton County was 5-1 and Russellville was still looking for their first win. Russellville punished themselves with their schedule this year but that punishment paid off in the district games. The Panthers earned their first win of the season in the first meeting between these two and Russellville came within a touchdown of district top seed Crittenden County. Russellville came from two touchdowns behind to beat the Pilots. Fulton County’s Caleb Kimble is the top rusher in 1A with 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns. Kimble rushed for 235 yards in that first game against Russellville and it still wasn’t enough. If Kimble can do that again and maybe get a little help from his teammates, this is a prime upset possibility. Fulton County challenged themselves in the last game of the year taking on top 2A team Murray. Did that challenge get the Pilots prepared for Russellville? Fulton County lost by one point to Russellville last year and then by three points this year, and we think that season long strength of schedule will get Russellville the win in this one.

Prediction: Russellville 28 Fulton County 27

Projected District 1 Championship: #2 Russellville at #1 Crittenden County

Previous Meeting: Crittenden County 21-14 on 10/25

District Championship Prediction: Crittenden County 34 Russellville 14

District 2
#4 Fort Knox (3-7) at #1 Louisville Holy Cross (8-2)
Previous Meeting: Holy Cross 54-6 on 10/18

It was total domination the first time these two met. Holy Cross won the yardage battle 437 yards to just 14 total yards for Fort Knox. Luke Davis leads Holy Cross and is #6 in 1A with 1,227 yards rushing. Fort Knox got a confidence boost last week with a 42-22 win over Caverna. However, Holy Cross enters the post season one of the hottest teams in 1A winning 7 of their last 8. They should have no trouble advancing to round 2.

Prediction: Holy Cross 49 Fort Knox 13

#3 Campbellsville (6-4) at #2 Bethlehem (7-2)
Previous Meeting: Campbellsville 48-42 on 10/18

This is a rarity in round 1 of the playoffs. The #3 seed has a win over the #2 seed. The first game was one of the better ones in 1A this year, especially if like high scoring offensive shows. Campbellsville had 600 yards of offense with QB Arren Hash throwing for 314 yards, WR/RB Malachi Corley producing 195 yards and RB Reggie Thomas producing 192 yards. Bethlehem had 462 yards behind QB Ryan Mattingly’s 244 yards passing and RB Zane Wickliffe’s 187 yards rushing and receiving. This game hinges on one thing – the health of Malachi Corley. Corley is arguably the most talented player in 1A but he has been injured the past couple weeks. Campbellsville has lost those last two games and they will be the underdog in this game without Corley. Predicting this game is impossible without knowing Corley’s status. We will watch for news and update this as the week goes on. For now, we will assume no Corley.

Prediction: Bethlehem 35 Campbellsville 28

Projected District 2 Championship: #2 Bethlehem at #1 Holy Cross
Previous Meeting: Bethlehem 31-28 on 10/11

District Championship Prediction: Holy Cross 36 Bethlehem 28

District 3
#4 Berea (7-3) at #1 Kentucky Country Day (10-0)
Previous Meeting: Country Day 36-14 on 10/11

The first meeting these two entered the game undefeated. Berea won the yardage battle but Country Day got the win. That first loss was followed by two more district losses for Berea and put them into this first round matchup. Country Day is the top scoring offense in 1A and #3 in defense, led by Exavier Douglas. It has been an exciting, program rejuvenating season for Berea but Country Day is too strong.

Prediction: Country Day 42 Berea 14

#3 Frankfort (4-6) at #2 Eminence (8-2)
Previous Meeting: Eminence 60-30 on 10/11

One of the other feel good stories in 1A also is in District 3 with the Eminence Warriors returning to KHSAA playoff football in impressive fashion. QB Justin Hedges is #2 in 1A averaging 246 yards per game passing, Marshall Metten has rushed for almost 1,200 yards and WR Dakadrian Saunders is #3 in receiving in 1A. That adds up to Eminence being #2 in scoring in 1A, averaging 42 points per game. Frankfort got a big dose of that in the first meeting when Eminence scored 60. Frankfort has improved since these two first met and is riding a two game winning streak. Sophomore RB Azeno Wiliams rushed for 275 yards in last week’s win over Owen County. Eminence should not take Frankfort lightly as the Panthers program and coaches know how to win in the post season. The Panthers are probably too young to get the win in this one.

Prediction: Eminence 45 Frankfort 35

Projected District 3 Championship: #2 Eminence at #1 Kentucky Country Day
Previous Meeting: Kentucky Country Day 62-13 on 10/25

District Championship Prediction: Kentucky Country Day 50 Eminence 20

District 4
#4 Dayton (4-6) at #1 Newport Central Catholic (8-2)
Previous Meeting: Newport Catholic 49-0 on 10/18

A big theme in 1A this year was the revitalization of programs. Dayton is another program that generated a lot of positive momentum this year. Dayton was 4-1 after 5 games when undefeated Berea visited and hung a 49-6 loss on the Greendevils. Newport Catholic got a huge, last second come from behind win over Beechwood last week to propel the Thoroughbreds into the playoffs on a high. The Breds will not stumble in this opening game.

Prediction: Newport Central Catholic 45 Dayton 7

#3 Bellevue (2-8) at #2 Ludlow (7-3)
Previous Meeting: Ludlow 61-21 on 10/18

Ludlow is #3 in 1A as a team in rushing. QB Ian Vallandingham is a big running threat and RB Cody Kramer is over the 1,000 mark at 1,153 yards while averaging 10.6 yards per carry. Kramer also leads 1A in tackles and Nathan Anderson is #3 in sacks. We don’t see anything Bellevue can do to pull off an upset in this one.

Prediction: Ludlow 49 Bellevue 21

Projected District 4 Championship: #2 Ludlow at #1 Newport Central Catholic
Previous Meeting: Newport Central Catholic 49-10 on 10/10

District Championship Prediction: Newport Central Catholic 42 Ludlow 17

District 5
#4 Bracken County (0-10) at #1 Nicholas County (7-3)
Previous Meeting: Nicholas County 46-6 on 10/11

RB Cain Saucedo leads Nicholas County. Saucedo is #3 in 1A rushing with 1,340 yards and is #1 in scoring. Bracken County has struggled all year and was no match in the first meeting. Look for Saucedo and the Bluejackets to put the Polar Bears on ice for the year.

Prediction: Nicholas County 49 Bracken County 6

#3 Paris (2-8) at #2 Bishop Brossart (6-4)
Previous Meeting: Brossart 41-8 on 10/18

Brossart finished their new football stadium during the season and now they get to host a playoff game there. Paris has a game breaking back in Matthew Barber that the Mustangs will need to keep their eye on. Brossart has won four in a row entering this first round game while Paris has lost four in a row. Look for Brossart’s first playoff game in their own stadium to be a winning one.

Prediction: Brossart 41 Paris 21

Projected District 3 Championship: #2 Brossart at #1 Nicholas County
Previous Meeting: Nicholas County 28-6 on 10/25

District Championship Prediction: Nicholas County 21 Bishop Brossart 14

District 6
#4 Fairview (3-6) at #1 Paintsville (7-3)
Previous Meeting: Paintsville 56-0 on 10/11

We all know where we are headed in District 6. This district has been dominated by the Paintsville Raceland matchup for several years and this year is more of the same. QB Jake Hyden is an excellent dual threat quarterback and is the #6 passer in 1A and is also tied for second in 1A in interceptions with 5. Fairview has a dual threat quarterback of their own in Jr. Jack Roy. Roy leads the Eagles in passing and rushing and is closing in on 2,000 yards in offense. He will need to get the 143 yards he needs for 2,000 in this one because Paintsville is not going to let him move into round 2.

Prediction: Paintsville 55 Fairview 0

#3 Betsy Layne (4-6) at #2 Raceland (6-4)
Previous Meeting: Raceland 67-0 on 10/11

All you need to know about this rematch is Raceland had 565 yards in offense in the first game and held Betsy Layne to 104 yards. The Rams have their eyes firmly set on the round 2 contest against Paintsville. WR/DB Gunnur Lewis is a player to watch on Raceland. He is in the state leaders as a receiver and in interceptions on defense. Lewis also is a return man extraordinaire. Look for Lewis to make an impact and the Rams to roll in this one.

Prediction: Raceland 50 Betsy Layne 0

Projected District 4 Championship: #2 Raceland at #1 Paintsville
Previous Meeting: Paintsville 19-15 on 10/25

District Championship Prediction: Paintsville 21 Raceland 17

District 7
#1 Pikeville (10-0) has a BYE in round 1.

#3 Phelps (4-6) at #2 Hazard (6-4)

Previous Meeting: Hazard 43-7 on 10/25

Much like District 6, District 7 has been a two team race for the past few years. Hazard will have little trouble with Phelps. Meanwhile, Pikeville will get the week to rest up and prepare for their expected game against Hazard in round two. Hazard looked like a serious threat to Pikeville entering their first game. Pikeville shook off two close calls against 1A contenders Paintsville and Raceland and made a statement with a 42-0 blowout win over Hazard. Pikeville’s young QB Isaac McNamee has grown up as the season has moved on and showed that growth last week with a 293 yard 4 touchdown passing performance. The Panthers started the year as the clear favorite in 1A, put some doubt in that in the middle of the season, then reaffirmed their favorite status over their last 3 games. If they are able to keep it close with Pikeville, Hazard has a weapon in kicker Jonah Helm that could be the difference in a close game.

Prediction: Hazard 52 Phelps 7

Projected District 4 Championship: #2 Hazard at #1 Pikeville
Previous Meeting: Pikeville 42-0 on 10/18

District Championship Prediction: Pikeville 36 Hazard 14

District 8
#4 Harlan (1-9) at #1 Williamsburg (8-2)
Previous Meeting: Williamsburg 47-6 on 10/11

It has been a tough year for Harlan. It doesn’t get any easier in the playoffs. Williamsburg features the top quarterback in 1A in Dalton Ponder. Ponder has thrown for 3,084 yards and 35 touchdowns. Williamsburg also has the top two receivers in 1A. Caleb Rose has 1,201 yards with 14 touchdowns and Gavon Thomas has 913 yards with 10 touchdowns. With that attack Williamsburg is just 8 points short of leading the state in scoring.

Prediction: Williamsburg 54 Harlan 6

#3 Lynn Camp (4-5) at #2 Pineville (8-2)
Previous Meeting: Pineville 14-6 on 10/11

Pineville’s Colby Frazier is the #2 rusher in 1A averaging 12.2 yards per carry with 1,545 yards rushing. He is joined by another 1,000 yard rusher, Devon Morris. Led by those two Pineville is the #1 rushing team in 1A. Lynn Camp’s offense is also run oriented. That should make for another low scoring game in this rematch. This game may not be as close the second time around.

Prediction: Pineville 24 Lynn Camp 7

Projected District 4 Championship: #2 Pineville at #1 Williamsburg
Previous Meeting: Williamsburg 44-6 on 10/18

District Championship Prediction: Williamsburg 42 Pineville 14