Mayfield 56 Fort Campbell 13
Reaction: It was business as usual for the Cardinals as they jumped out to an early lead and coasted to a running clock victory as expected. Mayfield should be well rested and ready for the District Championship.
Murray 34 Caldwell County 17
Reaction: It was a masterful coaching performance from the Murray staff as they threw some key wrinkles and took advantage of the film from the previous meeting to completely change the outcome and the complexion. Rowdy Sokolowski did an exceptional job in place of Hunter Utley, with Tommy Waldrop continuing his monster season with 167 yards and 3 TD's.
District 1 Championship: Murray at Mayfield
Preview: The Tiger staff proved their mettle and now draw an even steeper hill to climb as they prepare for Mayfield. The Cardinals dominated every facet of the previous meeting and will enter as a substantial favorite playing at home. Any hope of a Murray upset hinges directly with their ability to slow down the Cardinal Offense.
Murray not only needs to find a way to put the Cardinals behind the sticks, they need also to turn Mayfield over and that is something most teams have struggled to do. Murray has been able to play the Cards tighter than expected in November, but unless they can get some unexpected points gifted to them expect a Cardinal Victory
Prediction: Mayfield 40 Murray 14
Owenboro Catholic 46 Todd Central 22
The Hartz/Edge dramatic duo did what we have become to expect of them. The two combined for a major statline as Hartz surpassed 300 yards passing and Edge accounted for nearly half of those yards while adding an Interception on defense as well. It was a concerning effort from the Aces' defense as Todd County rolled up over 300 yards rushing, though a good bit came with the game comfortably at hand.
McLean County 36 Hancock County 8
The Cougar triple option proved too much for Hancock to handle. Landen Capps pased the Cougars as they jumped out to a comfortable Halftime lead and continued to grind out First Down and points while making the Hornets more one dimensional along the way.
District 2 Championship: McLean County at Owensboro Catholic
Preview: In a game featuring contrasting styles, it will be a matter of pride that McLean County's upset hopes hinge on. In the first meeting the Aces rolled up over 600 yards of total Offense as the Cougars had no answers whatsoever for any capacity of the OCath game plan.
Simply put, McLean will not be able to "out-athlete" Catholic. The Cougars need to establish their ground and pound style and exploit a vulnerable Ace defense and keep the clock running and limit the number of possessions Hartz has to go to work. They need to keep everything in front of them and force the Aces to beat them by driving the football, also allowing over 100 rushing yards will be a killer.
It is a tall task against one of Class 2A's top offensive teams, and one that would be a major upset if they can pull off.
Prediction: Owensboro Catholic 48 McLean County 20
Edmonson County 45 Green County 18
The top-seeded Wildcats handled their business as expected against the one-win Dragons. The Wildcat offense may not be high powered like some of the top teams in 2A, but it is improving each week and this bodes well as they host Round 2.
Clinton County 14 Monroe County 7 It was the Bulldog defense that ruled the cold night as they stepped up to avenge an earlier season defeat to Falcons and get the win on the road. Clinton County makes history with the win; this is their first ever playoff win and their first ever 2nd Round birth in program history.
District 3 Championship: Clinton County at Edmonson County
Preview: No game will resemble what we just previewed in District 2 less than what you can anticipate in Brownsville this week. The previous meeting was a defensive struggle on by the Wildcats 13-0, and with the stingy Clinton County defense and lack of Bulldog firepower, expect this one to hold similar form.
The key play in the first game was a 85-yard scoring strike from Jon Smith to Isaiah Johnson. Expect this to be a similar recipe as both teams will most likely struggle to sustain traction when on offense, so a single big play may be the difference in a win or loss. Edmonson County is just a little better equipped to make this happen with Smith at QB and Matthew Shaw running the ball. With an anticipated low scoring game, an upset certainly is possible and with the way District 3 has went it might actually be expected at this point.
Prediction: Edmonson County 19 Clinton County 6
Lexington Christian Academy 43 Washington County 14
The hard luck path for the Commanders continues as they just cannot escape being in Districts with the biggest heavyweights of Class 2A surrounding them. LCA checked all the boxes and kept this game comfortably in hand from the outset to set up the most anticipated 2nd Round game in 2A in quiet some time.
Somerset 34 Danville 14
Danville battled valiantly, but Somerset just had way too many weapons. Somerset made it a point to establish their ground game as they ran the ball 31 times led by Freshman Jerrod Smith. Kaiya Sherron was not especially his sharpest, but he hit on numerous big plays as the Jumper play-makers helped them extend their lead and close it out.
District 4 Championship: Somerset at Lexington Christian Academy
Preview: Well this is what we all have been waiting on since the first one came to a conclusion. In the first meeting LCA really bothered Smoerset with edge pressure and exposed some weaknesses. In recent games the Jumpers have been working on counter punches to help alleviate this pressure, namely an increased focus on the interior run and a new focus on timing and intermediate passing as well as an increased role of throwing to backs in the flats.
It is also worth noting that LCA had plenty of room for improvement themselves after somerset exposed them over the top several time and also really stymied the Eagle passing game. The winner of this game will be whoever self-scouted the best and can make necessary adjustments to pivot in the re-match. Dearious Smith was suspiciously quite in the first meeting and will need to be the X-factor this week for LCA. Conversely, the success the Jumpers have in the middle of the field with their interior run game and quick release passing game will be key to setting up the things they enjoy doing the most.
At the end of the day, it seems everyone believes Somerset is the team to beat in the re-match and that makes me think LCA still has something left to show.
Prediction: LCA 34 Somerset 28
District 5: Walton-Verona 41 Gallatin County 6
Nothing to see here. In a game featuring two mis-matched foes the better team won convincingly. Walton-Verona winning the First Round is now an expectation for their program.
Owen County 39 Carroll County 22
Here is an under the radar First Round surprise. The Rebels complete a 47-point turnaround from their 30-point loss in the regular season. Matthew Young had one of the best playoff performances for a single Half as you will find in Owen County's history. The Senior scored 5 TD's as the Rebs jumped out to an early lead and polished off the mild upset.
District 5 Championship: Owen County at Walton-Verona
Preview: For Owen County this is a pleasant surprise, but rest assured the Rebels should not just rest on their laurels as Walton-Verona is far from a Leviathan than cannot be toppled. It will be a very tall task, the Bearcats simply do not lose District games under Coach Barth.
The road map for an upset is similar to what they did against Carroll County. Get early momentum and an early lead of multiple scores and force the extremely ground heavy Bearcats to feel the pressure of a ticking clock in the Second Half and hopefully make them try things they are not accustomed to. Unfortunately for Owen County, Walton-Verona is a better team on defense and less likely to help the Rebels out with unforced errors.
This one may be interesting for a while as momentum and optimism fuels Owen County, but in the end Walton-Verona is just a better class of team.
Prediction: Walton-Verona 46 Owen County 18
District 6 Beechwood 63 Covington Holy Cross 0
Much like the first meeting, the perfect prescription for an out of sync Beechwood offense is a very thin Holy Cross defense. The Tigers rolled with ease and got any and everything they wanted. Hopefully this serves as a confidence booster like the first outcome did.
Newport 28 Lloyd Memorial 16
Newport relied on the big play and a pesky defense to avenge their earlier loss this season and take down the Juggernauts. Kaleal Davis did his best "Most Interesting Man in the World" impression. He may only complete five passes but when he does, they go for TD's! Thre eof his five completions found the endzone and he added a team high 57 rushing yards and another score. The Wildcats also picked off four passes (Davis also had one of those for good measure) as their Defense simply shut down Lloyd.
District 6 Championship: Newport at Beechwood
Preview: This is a tricky game for Beechwood. The Tigers rolled Newport in the previous meeting and they should be a noted favorite for a reason. With that said, there is minimal room for error on the Beechwood front. The Tigers may enter with a bit of fool's gold and Newport certainly is a tram than can make this game ugly and has just enough athleticism to pop a random big play in a close game.
It will be very easy for Beechwood to start "RPI watching" and planning who they will be hosting for Round 3, but with the Tigers' struggles to maintain consistency they need to simply stay focus on the task at hand and eliminate nay hopes of a Newport upset from the jump. This may be feast or famine. If Beechwood leads by two scores in the First Half they should be too hard to catch, but if this one is ugly the Wildcats may shock Class 2A.
Prediction: Beechwood 26 Newport 6
District 7: Breathitt County 48 Knott Central 6
Noone expected this to be close and noone felt surprised when Breathitt put this away early and locked in cruise control. The Bobcats simply are two steps ahead of every other team in their District.
Middlesboro 57 Leslie County 22
Jabari Kyle is one of the best players in Class 2A you are not familiar with. He single handily took control of the game with six TD's, an Interception, and an on-side kick recovery as Middlesboro left little doubt and eliminated the Eagles.
District 7 Championship: Middlesboro at Breathitt County
Preview: The good news for Midddlesboro is things can't get much worse than what happened when Breathitt won 57-7 and forced four turnovers. Middlesboro met a buzzsaw that night and though their odds of winning certainly do not look good, expect a better showing as Coach French will make some tweaks.
Expect more creative ways to get the ball in Jabari Kyle's hands this go around and with that, a reduced risk of turnover which caused the first game to snowball. Breathitt can use a little more competition as well, but at the end of the day they are the supreme team and should be able to take this comfortably.
Prediction: Breathitt County 56 Middlesboro 20
District 8: West Carter 36 Bath County 0
The Comets' Defense is their calling card and a shutout to open the playoffs is exactly what they wanted to see. The Comets gave up negative rushing yards and Leetavious Cline paced the O.
Shelby Valley 41 Martin County 24
The Wildcats only attempted one pass and rolled up 447 rushing yards as they simply dominated Martin County at the line of scrimmage. The Cats have some reckoning with West Carter as they feel the first meeting was not an indication of how close these two teams are.
District 8 Championship: Shelby Valley at West Carter
Preview: Irresistible force meets immovable object. It is the Shelby Valley rushing game against the West Carter rush defense. The first game when the Comets' way as they did not stonewall Shelby Valley, but did get the key stops and Cline ran wild himself.
This game will be won on First Down. The team that can consistently stay ahead of the sticks and impose their will ultimately will also have the best chance to open up a big play when the opponent is left stuck on their heels. For Shelby Valley, Dalton Meade has to play the game of his life and find explosive plays.
The Comets have seen other teams with equal or better talent and that will prove fruitful. Shelby Valley will tighten the screws on this one and tighten the margin in the process, but expect the Comet Defense to come thru in the clutch.