ATLCat's Avatar
10 Questions, 10 Answers. What We Know and Don't Know About the Class' Top Teams

Somerset
Answer- We know that the Briarjumpers are a balanced and complete team so far. Somerset has maintained a great Offensive balance, but have also proven to be a consistently stout Defense and sound Special Teams unit. The Briarjumpers may not be the "best" at any grouping, but you can argue they are one of the Top 5 teams in essentially each discipline.

Question- What will the aftermath of Friday's game against Hazard reveal? The Bulldogs gave the blueprint for beating the Jumpers and even more concerning was an apparently significant leg injury to Somerset star RB Alex Miller. The Jumpers have other backs in the stable, but Miller was special and also brought an experience factor that will be very hard to replace.


Mayfield
Answer- The Cardinals certainly do not lack for any explosion on Offense. With a pace for almost 5000 Offensive yards the Cards have big play ability all over the field and their ability to explode at any point will make them a tough match-up for even the stiffest of Defenses.

Question- Will Mayfield be able to hold up in the Secondary if the planets align and things aren't clicking? There is no shortage of great QB's and passing Offenses in Class 2A and to this point the Cardinals have not exactly been the Legion of Boom reinvented in their back half. It may come down to match-ups, the RPI is a wildcard that could give or take away from the Cards. As crazy as it may seem, Mayfield may prefer a long road trip to Breathitt County or Beechwood over hosting a LCA or Somerset.

Lexington Christian Academy
Answer- The Eagles may very well have the best collection of game changers in Class 2A. QB Jayden Barnhardt, RB Xavier Brown, WR Dearious Smith, and DE Andrew Long are each capable of completely changing the complexion of a game on any snap. Almost each player can do it in a multitude of ways as well and the Eagle staff is smart enough to scheme around this ability with creative looks.

Question- Can the Eagles win ugly? As the weather cools and as the games mean more and fundamental errors are less prevalent, it will be curious to see what happens when LCA is not aided by blown coverages, missed tackles on the perimeter, or a loss of contain. At some point it is going to come down to relying on their Defense and interior run game to come through.


Beechwood
Answer- The Tigers will not be surprised by any talent level at this point. It can't get much harder than what Beechwood has already seen. Playing by far the toughest S.O.S of any Class 2A team it has certainly made an impact on their Win-Loss record, but the ultimate hope is it will pay off in November.

Question- Can someone not named Cameron Hergott take over the game on Offense? Entering Friday's game against Beechwood there was not a single Tiger besides Hergott who had contributed more than a single TD. With the number of proficient Offenses in the class, at some point the Tigers are going to have to score more than 20 points to win a State Title. Who can step up and provide that secondary option?


Murray
Answer- In a Class full of really good QB's, Hunter Utley is the most underrated. The prototype sized QB has been the picture of efficiency with a 7:1 TD to INT ratio, a 15 yard per completion average, and a 69% completion percentage. Roughly one out of every five passes he completes ends up going for a TD as well. The kid can play.

Question- Have they scheduled hard enough to prepare them for Mayfield? There is no secret that District 1 will run through Cardinal Country, and this may be the best shot Murray has had in recent years at the Red Helmets. To date Murray ha splayed no teams currently ranked in the Bluegrasspreps Polls and with the exception of Caldwell County (a team Mayfield just crushed), they most likely won't have a game of note prior to their October 25th showdown. It is hard to prepare for the speed and explosion Mayfield brings without having seen it across the other side of the field previously.

Owensboro Catholic
Answer- The Aces have found their bread and butter to accompany Hartz in the passing game. There was no question Drew Hartz had every tool to have a big year in the O'Cath pass happy Offensive system. The question was who would step up and be his primary targets. Hagen Edge and Braden Mundy are each on pace for 1000-yard receiving seasons and Edge may put up an astounding 20+ TD year catching the ball. Dre Thurston has been efficient and effective both as a runner and a receiver. Thurston may put up over 1300+ yards of all-purpose performance.

Question- Will the Defense be able to help the Offense out? Truth be told the Aces have played a substantially lighter non-district slate than we are accustomed to seeing and their District mates all are not exactly a fearsome lot. The lone game against a ranked foe was 5A Owensboro, the Aces suffered a season low of points and a season high for points allowed. In fact their Offense that has averaged over 50 points in games since, managed only a lone score.

Breathitt County
Answer- It will be shocking if the Bobcats are not 12-0 entering the seeded Quarterfinals. Breathitt has been a buzz-saw posting running clocks in every single game (some even starting at kickoff), and this trend may very well continue with their season finale against Pike Central potentially being the only game capable of breaking the trend. CA Collins has been stellar. The Senior has toyed with defenses so far.

Question- What in the world will happen when Breathitt finally plays a team expected to have some post-season success? Even the most ardent Bobcat fans will tell you that this schedule has done them no favors for their Title hopes with the exception of potentially helping to keep the risk of injury down. The Breathitt Strength of Schedule to this point is in the bottom 10% of teams in the State. Where this may play out the most is on the Offensive and Defensive Lines. To be blunt, we still have no clue how good Breathitt is up front because the teams they have played have simply been unable to compete up front.

Caldwell County
Answer- Unfortunately for Caldwell, it is clear they are now in a second tier of teams following their losses they have suffered. There is no shame in losing to Mayfield and Hopkinsvile, two teams certainly capable of still playing in the Semi-Finals. With that said, losing by a combined score of 87-21 certainly speaks volumes that the Tigers just may not have the firepower to string together multiple wins of teams of a similar likeness.

Question- Can they play spoiler? In a District with three Top-10 teams, the Tigers still may be able to have a dramatic impact on the Class 2A race. It might be too steep of a hill to ask them to potentially beat four consecutive top teams, but if they can just disrupt Mayfield and Murray and create a little chaos it could potentially have a major impact with the new playoff system and seeding.

Lloyd Memorial
Answer- A team though to be deficient of playmakers have found them. When you lose over 80% of your Offensive production it is fair to wonder if the dropoff should be expected, but Lloyd has actually done an admirable job of finding guys who could step into new roles and get the job done. Dakota Thiel has been more than serviceable at RB, Jacob Davidson has managed the game well at QB and added some additional options in the ground game, and Treshawn Cody is a matchup problem at WR.

Question- Can the Juggs peak at the right time? Three of their last four games are all Top-10 teams including two huge District contests that will determine seeding. With Beechwood's Offensive struggles the brass ring is there for the taking, but Lloyd Memorial will need to put complete games together and with the new RPI system they ideally need to go 4-0 to help their potential seeding. In their two previous losses the Defense played "good" and their offense showed signs, but they have yet to put the puzzle together.

Newport Wildcats
Answer- This is definitely not a fluke that Newport is 6-1. The Wildcats are off to their best start in several years and have shown marked improvement from 2018 alone. Their lone loss was deceiving as they were in the game against Newport Central Catholic until some late breaks did not go their way. Kaleal Davis has been outstanding in every capacity and the Wildcats have a handful of supporting cast members who have carried their own weight as well.

Question- What happens if the worst case occurs? It is easy to stay hot when momentum is on your side, but lets say that Newport falls by one point or by forty points to Lloyd and Beechwood. Will the Wildcats spirit be broke? Newport has the weapons to beat either team if the ball bounces the right way and they execute flawlessly, but it will be very hard to do it on the road in back to back rounds with a prior loss already fresh in their minds.


The Forgotten Districts:

District 3 Rundown- For many fans it would be a tall task even to list the teams in District 3 without a resource, let alone have an idea who is going to win the District Title for the regular season.

Edmonson County (2-5) seemingly had a massive win by handling Monroe County (3-4), 33-0 in Brownsville. In fact, I would be lying if I didn't see the score and automatically assume this made the Wildcats the favorite to win the District Title. The truth is it is actually (1-6) Metcalfe County who is sitting in the catbird seat! The Hornets' lone win of the year was big one as they defeated Edmonson County 22-20 in Overtime back on September 20th and now control their own destiny. The Hornets are off this week but can clinch the District when they play Monroe County on 10-18.

District 8 Rundown- The story-line right now is Class Droppers. In a District featuring three teams dropping down from Class 3A, two teams are still alive to potentially take the prize, one more surprising than the other. West Carter (4-2) has lived up to expectations and their dominating win over Shelby Valley (5-2) two weeks ago may prove to be the defacto District Title game. The Wildcats may finish 8-2, but their hopes hinge exclusively on surprising Martin County (5-1). Shelby Valley has to travel to Inez to beat the Cardinals and then hope the Cards can shock the Comets forcing a three-way tie. For Martin County, if they can knock off the Wildcats this week they control their own destiny. Something no one may have predicted entering the year.

District 5 Rundown- Not much to see here. Walton-Verona (4-3) hosted Carroll County (3-3) this past Friday and came away with a convincing 33-14 victory. The Bearcats technically have work to do, but with the remaining District foes a combined 2-9, anything short of a DubVee District title will be shocking to say the least. The Bearcats seemingly have a lot of work to do come November to hang with the rest of the class, so expect the next five weeks to be focused on fine tuning their Offense that has yet to find it's stride.