Class 2A Notebook 9/14 - The Air is Unkind for the Cardinals
McCracken County Stuns Mayfield
I don't think anyone who truly knows High School Football would say that 6A McCracken County had no shot against Top-Ranked Mayfield. The Mustangs are always a respectable team filled with athleticism and play making ability, but the Cardinals have had the larger school's number and was favored for good reason.
What was truly shocking was the manner in which McCracken won the game, on Mayfield's home field where they enjoyed a 31-game winning streak, in an Offensive explosion that the Cardinals simply could not even slow down. Mustang QB Elijah Wheat may have provided the blueprint to beat the Cardinals, err, or at least they perfected the blueprint. Wheat threw for 368 yards and 4 TD's, the brunt of that impact being hauled in by Franklin Hayes who went off for 275 yards and three of those scores, as Mayfield's secondary simply could not get off the field.
The frustrating part for Mayfield is they may have seen this coming. Putting the Lausanne Collegiate and Paducah Tilghman games aside, two teams who prefer making their paydays on the ground, the Cardinals' narrow escape over Hopkinsville certainly should have waved red flags. The Tigers also eclipsed the 300-yard mark and their star WR Reece Jesse was too tall of a task for the Cardinals to cover as he hauled in 9 catches for 171 yards and 2 TD's.
With two teams that have vandalized the Mayfield Defense it certainly should cause a bit of optimism for the rest of the class against a team that was the unanimous favorite entering the year. With Class 2A enjoying a bumper crop of QB talent, pass heavy teams have to be thinking at least they have a puncher's chance if they can find some points through the air.
The Notebook will be quick to remind everyone, don't expect this to be doom and gloom in Cardinal Country. Mayfield has had "slow" starts on Defense under Coach Morris in the past and still rallied to put it together and get the hardware when it was all said and done. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 the Mustangs also put up a ton of points early in the year on the Cardinal Defense, all three years ended with a Mayfield State Title. In particular, 2015 the Mustangs also defeated Mayfield 37-31. The Cardinals would only allow 20+ points one more time that year.
Fly Eagles, Fly
One team in particular who is not afraid to air out the football is Lexington Christian Academy. The Eagles have settled in nicely since the midpoint of last season with Jayden Barnhardt at QB1, and the results have started to come. Madison Central may not be at the same level as their 2018 6A Semi-Finalist team, but anytime a 2A team can handle a 6A team 45-15 on a neutral field, it certainly merits attention.
Barnhardt was tremendous throwing for 309 yards and 4 TD's while also pacing their ground game as the leading rusher. It is pretty clear that he has found his security blanket in Dearious Smith, who added yet another 100+ yard receiving night. What should have Defensive Coordinators nervous is Barnhardt is starting to find more opportunities to use the explosive Xavier Brown as a receiving threat out of the backfield. Brown had 7 catches for 129 yards and two scores, and simply kept the Indian Defense in a constant state of confusion.
Brown and Smith have quickly became one of the most explosive duos in Class 2A and have already surpassed 1000 total yards between the two of them through only 4 games. They will need these two to keep their big plays coming as the Eagles' next foe is the red hot Lexington Catholic Knights with Fayette County Private School Supremacy on the Line. Last season Lexington Catholic dismantled LCA 54-13 and left little doubt.
Expect this year's match-up, win or lose, to serve as a measuring stick to where the Eagles have come. Ater watching Beau Allen carve them up a year ago, this is a prime opportunity to show they have improved Defensively and are simply put a better team than a year ago. If LCA can stand toe to toe with the Knights, it bodes well that they are probably on a similar level as Mayfield or Somerset, two teams with equally as lethal Offenses with big-time QB's.
Meanwhile in the West...
While it was a LOSS by Mayfield that stole the headlines, there were no shortage of impressive WINS by the Western teams to go around.
Caldwell County never really broke a sweat against a ranked 1A Crittenden County on their way to a convincing 36-14 win. Up next is old 3A rival Union County.
Murray took a loss to Union County in 2018 in a Defensive struggle. The grit and grind was still there in 2019, but it was the Tigers who came out on top 21-7 against a very stout 3A squad. The Tigers now get another veteran 3A team in 4-0 Trigg County.
Owensboro Catholic beat up on former Head Coach John Edge's South Spencer, Indiana team 54-14. Drew Hartz is off to a very good 2019 campaign and he kept it going with 4 scoring tosses.
Three cheers for Todd County Central. Actually, let's technically make that four cheers as the Rebels are now 4-0 officially after an officiating issue led to a forfeit decision against Fort Knox. The Rebels have scored 111 points the past two games and crushed 4A Hopkins County Central 60-34. Todd Central should be 5-0 heading into their game with Owensboro Catholic.
The King of the North Returns?
Beechwood desperately needed a big win against Corbin too get back on track and stop the bleeding. The Tigers definitely looked more like the team we all expected as they controlled the Line of Scrimmage and made key plays in their 26-10 win over the Redhounds.
Cameron Hergott continued to make his case as truly being the Most Valuable Player to his team's success in Class 2A. The junior signal caller made big play after big play using his arm and feet including several drive continuing conversions that allowed the Tigers to shorten the game and keep heavy handed pressure on the Corbin Offense.
Walton-Verona entered the year as the team from Northern Kentucky with the most recent hardware with "Class 2A Regional Champion" stamped on it. The Bearcats were promptly unseated by Lloyd Memorial in Week 1, but they showed serious signs of team growth by taking 1A Newport Central Catholic to the wire before falling 10-7. The Defense is certainly rounding into form for the Bearcats, but their Offense is still struggling to mesh with a youthful line. With District play starting this week for Walton-Verona, expect them to start getting some wins and confidence.
Lloyd Memorial's third straight game playing up in Class was not as fruitful as they wished as they fell to a stout 5A Conner 24-12. Though the Juggs' Offense is still far from post-season form, their Defense definitely appears to be ahead of schedule. Newport indeed improved to 4-0 by blasting over-matched Bracken County as expected, if they can beat Holmes, it will set up a mammoth clash for Newport Stadium bragging rights.
Tags for this Thread