Class 4A Notebook (9/13): 4A Rights the Ship
After the bloodletting that was the third week in 4A football, it was nice to see the script flip last week for the top of our rankings. Whereas a mere three of the top ten teams won the week before, this past week seven of the top ten teams won, and at least the other three losses were to ranked opponents.
Johnson Central has continued to look a little more vulnerable than expected, as for the third straight game they allowed 20+ points to their opponent. That has now surpassed the total games the defense allowed that all of last season. But despite the relatively close scoreline, Johnson Central was never in danger of losing. After falling behind 6-0, the Golden Eagles reeled off 25 in a row, three times taking leads of three scores, and led 41-20 entering the fourth. South Charleston scored with four minutes left to give the final tally of 41-28. Most noteworthy is that Johnson Central completely shut down the South Charleston rushing offense, allowing -16 yards on the day. Devin Johnson was standout with 12 rushes for 113 yards and 3 TDs.
Wayne County and Collins each made their own little arguments for the two to be flip-flopped in the rankings, with the Cardinals taking it on the chin at Boyle County 38-14 while Collins scratched out a 28-21 win over Oldham County. Wayne County was tied with the Rebels after one quarter at 7 all, but were doomed by two interceptions, two fumbles, and a blocked field goal attempt. Linsey still led the Cardinals with a respectable 287 yards and two touchdown completions, but their effort was hurt by a nonexistent rushing game – 21 rushes for 14 yards. Like most of 4A, out of class competition – especially ranked teams – proves to be a downfall for the Cards. That result left the door open for Collins to make their case for the first of two weeks (they play Boyle County this week). They traveled to Oldham County to take on the 1-1 Colonels, but struggled to put away the solid and improving Oldham team, never leading by more than 14 before settling in for the 28-21 win. JR Lucas carried the load yet again, though this time he put an incredible amount of work in on the ground. 26 carries, 240 yards and 2 touchdowns to be exact! Added to his 221 yards passing he account for over 460 yards of offense. The relative closeness kept Collins in third place at least for this week, but they can really make their case against Boyle County in a couple of days.
Other games of note:
-Rockcastle County has settled into a bit of a gimmie part of their schedule in advance of their showdown with Wayne County in two weeks, blasting Woodford County 40-7. Brent Lovell scored two touchdowns on just five carries, racking up 148 yards on the ground. Holdan Barnett (7 rushes, 104 yards, 1 TD) and Jaden Payne (14 rushes, 124 yards, 2 TDs) completed a trio of rushers over 100 yards. Like Collins, Rockcastle is staking their claim to a higher spot.
-Ashland has continued to recover well from their unexpected loss in the opening game, knocking off previously ranked 3A Russell 30-14. Aroq Colburn averaged 8.5 YPC on his way to 136 yards and two scores. The Tomcats will look for consecutive wins for the first time this year when they Ironton (OH), who they haven’t lost to since 2014. After that, all roads lead to their October matchups with Greenup County and Johnson Central.
-Franklin-Simpson righted the ship in an unexpected way, absolutely grinding previously ranked 5A Greenwood to dust in a 63-6 blowout. The defeat was the second worst in Greenwood’s history. The Wildcats needed only 22 rushes to rack up 537 rushing yards, with Tedric Partinger, Saul Brady, and Tre Bass averaging more than 20 YPC, and in the case of Bass, over 40 YPC. Considering Greenwood’s results against Warren East and Allen County-Scottsville – both losses, but close losses – Franklin has at least for the week reestablished themselves as the clear favorite in District 2.
-Hopkinsville and Western continue to turn in impressive results, albeit in losses. Hopkinsville fell 15-12 to rival and #3 team in 5A Christian County. The defense ruled the day, with neither team topping 250 yards of total offense. Javier Bland is still settling in for the Tigers, with only 5 TD completions against 6 interceptions, but they are past the brutal part of their schedule that has seen them take on four teams that are ranked in our top 10s. They won’t face another one until the playoffs. Western can’t say that, as they’ll go through the thresher one more time in a home game against Male, but they added to their great result against Central with a 7-6 loss to Manual. Like their game against Central, Western took a lead into the fourth quarter at 6-0, but could not hold it, allowing a Floyd 50 yard TD reception with just over 7 minutes remaining in the game. The Warriors outgained Manual 215-154, but couldn’t get them on the scoreboard. Both of these teams have poor records, but they have been forged in fire, and I expect that each will not lose again in the regular season.
Upcoming Game of the Week
Wayne County vs. Boyle County was our top game last week because of its measuring stick characteristics, so it only makes sense that this week it’s #3 Collins against 3A #3 Boyle County. A win or close result will likely move Colins into the #2 spot in 4A. Boyle County gave up 310 yards through the air to Wayne County, but absolutely shut the run game down to the tune of 22 yards rushing. The Rebels are allowing less than 90 yards per game on the ground, but Collins features a much better balance than that of Wayne County, with almost equal production on the ground and through the air. Obviously a lot will rest on JR Lucas. Collins remains the favorite in the west, but can really make waves as the top contender to Johnson Central with a strong result here.
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