Class 4A Notebook (9/25): The (Two) Last of the Unbeatens
As we enter the last week of September and the seventh week of the regular season, 4A is down to just two unbeaten teams. The first one is obvious – defending state champion and #1 ranked Johnson Central. The Golden Eagles are 5-0, #2 in the class in both points per game and margin of victory, and haven’t lost a game before Week 10 in five years – the same amount of time since they lost a regular season 4A game. The other, could scarcely be more surprising.
Many are aware by now of Logan County’s remarkable turnaround. The Cougars currently are 6-0 and in the midst of a seven game winning streak. That’s three games longer than the next longest winning streak they’ve had in the last 20 years and more wins than they’ve had in in any season but one in the last 19. It may be the longest they’ve ever had as they’ve only had five seasons where they won that many or more games. Only Trinity (21) and Johnson Central (10) currently have longer winning streaks. They have already clinched their first winning season in 13 years and will almost certainly enjoy their most wins in a season since 1998, which is arguably the best season in the program’s history. 6-0 equals the best start in their programs history (they also started 6-0 in 1996). They’re eighth in points per game in 4A, second in points allowed, and fourth in margin of victory.
All of that beginning right after a 42 game losing streak.
It really is truly remarkable. Coming into this year, it was widely though that Logan County would continue their improvement and have a shot at a few wins. They changed all of that around with an 18 point win over Butler County when Gary Hardy rushed for 272 yards on just 16 carries. Hardy hasn’t been relied on in that way since, but he is still averaging 7.35 YPC and leads the team with 779 yards – the next highest is 388 yards by quarterback Tyler Ezell. Ezell has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has hit four receivers for 190 yards or more – Kelby Epley (15/262), Dontavius Blann (20/255), Chandler Silvey (13/253), and Anthony Dancer (10/190). Every last one of them – quarterback, running back, and wide receivers - are either a sophomore or a junior. There are only nine seniors on the team. Perhaps that is what is even more shocking than the winning streak itself, that they are doing it with so much youth! The Cougars are truly one of the feel good stories of Kentucky high school football, and after their bye week they will face their tallest test yet, a home game with district favorite Hopkinsville. If they can get a win there, or likely the following week against Madisonville-North Hopkins, they’ll have a strong chance at their first home playoff game since 1989. That may still be an unattainable goal for Logan County, but then again, you never know with how they’ve done so far.
Games of note:
-Last week’s game of the week lived up to the billing, as Rockcastle County and Somerset slugged it out. A defensive struggle, the game was 0-0 after three quarters. Rockcastle County took the first lead at 6-0, but back to back Somerset touchdowns and a game-sealing INT sent the Rockets to their first loss at 12-6. Rockcastle County had topped 40 points in every other game this season. With a win, Rockcastle County could have made a good case for the #2 ranking, though they still can if they beat Wayne County this week.
-Franklin-Simpson continued to reestablish themselves with a hard fought 35-19 win over 2A #7 Glasgow. Junior RB Tre Bass was ridiculous in the game, taking three of his first four carries for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the first half for Franklin. In all, he had 242 rushing yards on 7 carries and touchdown runs of 67, 58, and 73 yards. Bass has 651 yards on just 32 carries this season (20.3 YPC). The Wildcats face the first of their two most crucial district games when they visit Allen County-Scottsville this Friday. Franklin has still yet to win two in a row this year.
-Perhaps the most notable result of the week was Franklin County’s 30-3 smackdown of #7 Shelby County. Shelby County has been wobbly for weeks beating North Bullitt and Bullitt East by a combined 10 points (the teams are a combined 3-8). Franklin County knocked them completely down in their dominating win, completely shutting down the Rocket offense. Per the Flyers’ stats, Shelby County was held to just 115 yards of offense and turned it over four times, including a Brady Roberts pick-six. It’s exactly the result Franklin County needed, as they had been just 5-13 since opening 2015 at 6-0. As is usual in District 4, they’ll go right back into the fire with a road trip to Collins on Friday. A win there would give them complete control of the district. Meanwhile, Shelby County gets an off week to prepare for North Oldham, and they’ll try to stay in the hunt for a home playoff game.
Upcoming Game of the Week
Franklin-Simpson visiting Allen County-Scottsville is an intriguing matchup, as are matchups between Franklin County and #3 Collins as well as a possible district title game between John Hardin and #9 Western. But the clear winner is #5 Rockcastle County at #2 Wayne County. For weeks we have seen chatter in the forum about this game and which one deserves to be rated higher. While Wayne County was the region champion a season ago, it was Rockcastle County that won their head to head, and with it the district title, in a 41-34 OT barn burner at Rockcastle County. The homefield advantage carried Rockcastle that night, but they were upset in a 31-30 OT decision in the second round of the playoffs, missing out on a second home battle with Wayne County. With apologies to Knox Central, these two appear to be the class of District 6, and the winner of this matchup will almost certainly be the district champion. The home team has won the last three matchups in the series, and with them home playoff games. Which history will repeat?
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