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Of BYES and WINS
As the leaves change and the District Schedule gets deeper, you start to see teams take strategically set BYE weeks to rest up for the stretch run. Often times this week off will coincide with Fall break giving the kids and coaching staff a much deserved reprieve from the grind of the season. Of the Top 15 teams in Class 2A, five of those teams will choose to take a Friday off this week including Mayfield, Glasgow, LCA, Walton-Verona, and Murray.

With so many of the top teams not scheduled to play, along with the mandatory nature that District Scheduling brings, it is not uncommon for the first week of October to resemble the "doldrums" of Fall. Often times blowout games from over matched foes will follow suit, and leave us with a rather forgettable week. As we scan the Class 2A landscape, there is no denying some of this will be at play, but in the midst of the "light" schedule, a pair of monster games will make sure that this week is far from just a week to tune out and find a Fall Festival and some fresh Apple Cider to occupy your Friday.

#5 Somerset at #8 Danville
If I gave you a blind resume and told you this game would feature two teams with a combined six losses, including both teams losing last week, and the higher ranked team had two losses to Class 1A teams, would you judge this game appropriately?

Danville and Somerset have each navigated absolute deathtraps of a non-district schedule ripe with Top-Ranked teams from other classes and games against schools with twice their enrollments. This week's game is quickly shaping into a "do or die" type of game for both programs. Remember that due to Cross Bracketing, District 6 (where each of these teams reside) will now draw the powerhouses from District 4 in the Regional Rounds to open the playoffs.

With Lexington Christian playing quality football, the loser of this game at the very least puts themselves at risk of making a Second Round trip to to have to get a playoff win on the road. Shelby Valley is not a giant to slay, but a long road trip will be less than ideal to a team who may be playing with a ton of confidence looking to make a signature win for the program.

Looking at the match-up of this game, it will be a simple formula to determine who will win the game. Get ready for this ground breaking analogy. THE WINNER OF THIS GAME WILL BE WHOEVER CAN SCORE THE MOST.

All tongue in cheek satire aside, there is a simple truth to this statement. Somerset has relied heavily on one Class 2A's top Defenses and only once this season have the Jumpers allowed over 20 points. No knowledgeable fan will mistake this Danville Offense as the same juggernaut we saw last year, the Ads have only averaged a hair above 20 points per game their past six weeks and continue to struggle to find that feature back that can break the game open. With that said, Zach Thornton remains one of the best weapons in Class 2A and there is no shortage of athleticism or speed on the roster.

Conversely, Somerset isn't exactly a team littered with elite playmakers on Offense and the Jumpers Offense has flat out come to a crawl against the better Defenses they have faced. Danville's LB Corp and D-line is capable of creating trouble for Somerset so a low scoring game is definitely possible.

Ultimately, between these two teams it is going to be a battle to see if consistency reigns of if potential can be realized. Danville has shown flashes of brilliance when they played Corbin and Boyle County, but they have yet to put it all together for a full game. Somerset has been consistent all season. The Jumpers may not have the guys who make you take notice in pre-game warm ups or getting off the bus, but something can be said for the team that performs how you expect. Simply put, if Danville wants to get the sour taste this season is leaving in their mouths they will have to show a significant improvement in their resolve, focus, and overall team camaraderie to beat Somerset.



#3 Christian Academy of Louisville at #1 DeSales
Whereas Danville and Somerset leave questions that need to be answered, these two teams simply leave us ready for kickoff. There will be no surprises when these teams square off and renew one of the most exciting newer rivalries in the State. Both teams bring a stout Defense, a big play capable Offense, and some downright nasty individual talent to the field.

The big question will be whether Depth overcomes individual star power. CAL brings perhaps one of the front runners for Mr. Football to the table in the dangerous Milton Wright, who legitimately can make the game turn on any given play whether on Offense, Defense, or Special Teams. The Centurions also have a major D-1 prospect in the trenches and blooming young star at RB. DeSales may not have any players with multiple stars by their name, but what they do have are a stable of really good payers who are only asked to do their job on one side of the ball. DeSales' depth gives them advantage that no other Class 2A team can match, and with their physical brand of football and ability to control the L.O.S., this becomes their greatest asset when the game is in doubt late in the 4th. On the flip side, CAL will never lack for confidence with the game on the line as they will always feel one of their stars will make the big play.

The X-factor may come in experience at the QB spot. Aaron Pfaadt is never going to blow you away with his box scores. The Senior QB only averages 182 yards per game, but what he does best will seldom appear in the line score. This will be Pfaadt's fifth time starting under Center in a game featuring these two foes. At this point he has seen it all and been in the game when the outcome was in jeopardy and a big play needed to be made. Pfaadt is excellent at managing the Offense and has a knack for making the clutch play this year as the Colts have had essentially all but one game still in jeopardy in the 4th Quarter. Anthony Sabatino has been phenomenal stepping in as a first year starter for CAL but his season has been spent geared down for the most part against teams not on the same level of the Centurions. It will be interesting to see how he reacts with the roaring crowd and bright lights and the pressure of having to make a play.

Expect another classic in this very competitive rivalry. At the end of the day also remember, this game may determine where the playoff rematch will be hosted, but at the same time neither team has conceded that a road game means insurmountable home field advantage in November.

Hidden Gems?
Todd Central (4-2) at McLean County (3-3)- McLean County is about to come out the other side of the heart of their schedule and the only thing in their way is a Todd Central team who would love to set a trap and make a statement. McLean was over matched the past two weeks against two highly ranked foes in #4 Owensboro Catholic and undefeated 4A Logan County. The Cougars have a very favorable schedule to help them get their confidence back up, but first they have to survive a Todd Central team who can position themselves for a home playoff game with a win.

Newport (4-2) at Lloyd Memorial (4-2)- Three or four weeks ago this game would not even be registering on the radar of even the most ardent fans. Lloyd at the very least has been a consensus co-favorite in District 6 since the season's beginning, but the Juggs have not exactly been playing their best ball in recent weeks. Newport has been a pleasant surprise and have flipped the script after starting 2017 1-5 at his point.