After the top ten from our opening week only had three of nine teams in action win, this week, nine of the ten came out on the winning side of the column. The one exception, was John Hardin, which suffered a head scratching loss to North Hardin. It was just the second time the Trojans have knocked off John Hardin in the last decade, and it came despite being outgained 368-248. Five turnovers were to blame, as well as penalties that wiped out two first quarter touchdowns. The Bulldogs have played a brutal schedule early on in the last few years, and have still managed to make late runs during the playoffs. It is possible that we will see that postseason magic again, but it definitely seems to have riled the Bulldog faithful up. They never like seeing a local team emerge victorious in a head to head matchup, especially at home.
It was business as usual for the rest of the top ten. South Warren uncharacteristically struggled with Apollo at home, leading only 22-6 at the half. Three touchdowns in the third quarter ended that “threat”, and the starting defense was never scored upon, with the first half TD the result of a pick six. Litten did more than enough to make up for that mistake, scoring SIX touchdowns on 21 rushes for 258 yards. He was erratic through the air, completing only 12 of 32 pass attempts for 186 yards, and 2 INTs. CJ Hayes is officially within shouting distance of his numbers for all of last season. He has already posted 11 receptions for 200 yards, approaching his 18/219 number from 2015.
Still, the lackluster performance has allowed Johnson Central to make their case somewhat for this being a different result from last season. They opened with a 23-6 victory over West Virginia’s #2 team in 3A, Capital. The Golden Eagles held Capital to just over 100 yards of offense, racking up 318 yards on the ground on 61 attempts. They attempted one pass all game – it was intercepted. As impressive as the victory was, the reliance on the ground game is sure to provide comfort to the Spartan faithful and their lights out run defense. (Interesting note – Capital apparently had never played a single team out of state before playing Johnson Central, despite the school being 27 years old!)
Other significant results in the top 10 included Franklin-Simpson’s half win over Caldwell County 14-6 in what was our pick for game of the week last week. A half win because the game was called at halftime due to storms, giving the truncated win to the Wildcats. Even though the win did not require the full 48 minutes, the result is nonetheless the latest sign that Franklin-Simpson is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, Caldwell blew the doors off of Franklin, AT Franklin. Hopkinsville kept rolling with a 42-14 win over West Creek, where Jalen Johnson added 4 more touchdown passes to his total to make it 9 for the year. The air attack may give them a leg up in region 1….. Collins’ JR Lucas also took to the air to lead the Titans to victory over Bullitt East, throwing for 389 yards and 6 TDs during their 55-52 win. The two teams combined for over 1100 yards in the offensive slugfest!
The most significant off the radar win came from Mercer County. They rolled up the traditional power Bell County to the tune of a 48-18 victory at Boyle County. Dustin Baker led the effort with 137 yards on only 9 attempts. Gunnar Gillis threw for a trio of TDs for 193 yards, spreading the ball to five different receivers. Last year the Titans started a bit late, opening 5-5. It appears they’ve started right on time this season.
The game of the week this week has a trio of competitors. #1 South Warren visits the school that birthed them, 5A #10 Greenwood. #2 Johnson Central hosts 3A #3 Lexington Catholic, while #6 Knox Central will try to avenge last year’s loss to 5A #9 Southwestern. Despite the bad blood rivalry and the revenge angle, I have to give it to Johnson Central/LexCath. The Knights are entering off a loss to St. X, but it was a game they sprinted out to a large lead in, before gassing out against the 6A power. It speaks well of the challenge Lexington Catholic may be able to pose, and could be a statement game for the Golden Eagles.