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We are now down to the Final 4, The Semi-Finals, The Fearsome Foursome, The Four Horsemen... but before we could get there an exciting week of Regional Finals first set the stage and in three of the Finals the driving factor was "REVENGE". (Insert Evil Laugh)

Region I Championship: Mayfield 28 Owensboro Catholic 6
There was no revenge here, the Defending Champs battled a game Catholic squad to a 14-6 Halftime advantage in a hard hitting game that seemed to be hanging in the balance. As we have seen many times before, it was Coach Joe Morris' Halftime adjustments on Defense that set the tone in the second stanza and the Cards distanced themselves to pull out a "close, but not really close" 22-point victory.

The game though did not have it's consequences for the Big Red. A controversial targeting call on the Cardinals defensive leader LB Kincer Arnett cost him an ejection and subsequent suspension for their Semi-Finals game.

Region II Championship: CAL 21 DeSales 14
No victory had to be any sweeter than Christian Academy- Louisville's meat grinder of a win against rival DeSales. Much had been made of the streak of DeSales playoff wins and for the still fairly young CAL program this marked their first ever trip to the Semi-Finals. With a primarily young team as well, this may have also served as a bit of a changing of the guard in a rivalry that had previously featured the Colts holding the upper hand in bragging rights when it mattered.

DeSales made the Centurions earn it. Despite nearly out gaining DeSales 3:1, it was not until just before the 2:00 mark in the 4th Quarter before the Centurions could get the key Touchdown from Senior Anteneh Thompson. The Centurions Defense was the star of the game holding the Colts to less than 50 total yards outside of a lone drive that resulted in tying the game at 14-14.

Region III Championship: Covington Holy Cross 26 NewCath 21
They said they were going to do it, but most people refused to believe it. Despite bold claims from Indian fans , many doubted that Holy Cross would flip a 21-0 loss, but the Indians utilized a physical running game to churn out 304 yards on the ground to end the Thoroughbreds reign of terror on Region III competition.

The Indians' dynamic duo of Abernathy and Barnes were sensational combining for the following stat line:
41 carries, 283 rushing yards, 2 Rushing TD's, 12 Solo Tackles, and a Pick 6.

The Indians held NewCath's HB's to a meager 4 total rushing yards, but it was a controversial call that left everyone talking in the wake. NewCath scored what appeared to be the game winning TD on a fumble recovery and score following a kickoff, yet the call on the field was that the knee was down on the recovering player thus negating the score.


Region IV Championship: Danville 34 LCA 28

In a game that lived up to the hype, Danville survived a gritty performance from LCA to avenge an "Instant Classic" regular season game and reach the Semi's for the 2nd consecutive season.

Perhaps the game's most critical play was one of it's earliest plays. LCA looked to set the tone early with a drive to the Admiral goal line, but a Pick 6 but the Ads "Mr. Versatility" Dmaurae VanCleave gave an instant 14-point swing. The Junior speedster was sensational, and his highlights had only began. He added a 99 yard kickoff return TD as well, and for good measure went off for a team high 8 Catches and a vital 115 yards receiving.

LCA would still churn up nearly 500 total yards behind bruising Dillon Wheatley and the sure handed WR Ryan Stucky, and the Eagles rebounded from a 2nd Half deficit to take a late lead. The Admirals though, as the Notebook predicted last week, turned to Senior QB Zach Dampier and the veteran gunslinger answered. Dampier led the Ads on one final drive that culminated with the eventual game deciding score.


A Black (and Blue) Friday?
With the Semi-Finals set., we now shape up to have probably one of the most anticipated Final 4's in recent years with quite possibly the best collection of game breakers and raw talent that we have seen on the Friday after Thanksgiving in Class 2A that I can remember.

The theme of the week is going to be physicality though. All four teams enter after brutally physical Regional Final wins and all four teams have big hitters on each side of the ball that will add a little more pain on existing bruises.

How The West Will Be Won?
CAL Will Win If: The Centurions can win the turnover battle and can generate pressure on Cardinal QB Landon Arnett. The turnover battle is a must, but may be more within their control. The pressure? Well that's going to be a tough task against a Cardinal team that has mastered the art of a cohesive line and the use of quick intermediate passing.

Simply put, if CAL doesn't force the hand of the Cardinals and find ways to turn them over or create momentum type plays, the Centurions Offense will struggle to put up enough points to outduel the Champs.


Mayfield Will Win If: The Cardinals can establish Trajon Bright on Offense and can limit Milton Wright on Defense. As mentioned above, any path to victory for the Centurions will revolve around playing in the Cardinals' backfield and disrupting their timing. The easiest way to eliminate a heavy pass rush? Establish your big play HB in both the running game and as a receiving threat and force the Centurions to think before they bring heat.

In a game filled with sensational individual talents, Milton Wright may be the best of the lot. He also may be the most valuable to his teams' success. CAL has not exactly been the Greatest Show on Turf on Offense and when a big play has been needed it has been Wight that they have turned to. If Mayfield can take away Wright, the CAL offense will struggle to find guys who can change the scoreboard lights.

Who Will Win? Mayfield... but this one is going to be fun. If you are a fan of well coached, well executed, and Defensive-Centric football this will be down your alley.

Who Will Emerge In The East?
Danville Will Win If: The Ads can successfully swing for the fences. Region III was a lot of good things, but what they were not were a bunch of teams with elite level speed and athletes in the passing game. The Indians thrive best in a nasty game where every yard is hard to earn and they can win psychologically by battering you to death on Offense. The Admirals ability to take the top off the Defense in the passing game, or turn a routine 7 yard carry into a 70 yard carry, is ultimately their biggest advantage. Holy Cross has had issues defending the pass and Danville must take full advantage of this.

Holy Cross Will Win If: They keep this game in the 20's or below. If the Indians can force the Ads to drive and can successfully ground and pound Danville they will be tough to beat in the 4th Quarter when fatigue starts to set in. As good as Danville's skill guys are, they are not the physical specimens that Barnes and Abernathy are and they are not best suited for a cold night when oxygen comes over burning lungs and lactic acid.

Holy Cross needs to keep Danville's speed in front of them and tackle perfectly. On Offense the Indians have to keep the sticks moving, the clock running, and Zach Dampier's dangerous arm on the sideline as much as possible.

Who Will Win? Danville... never underestimate a Senior QB who knows how to win games. The Ads also bring those X-factors in Special teams that can change a scoreboard with "bonus" points. Holy Cross is going to make this one a war and are very capable of winning, but Danville has just a few too many scoring threats for a Defense that hasn't been stellar against passing teams.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!