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As we head into the last couple of weeks of district play, it is a good time to reset our district races, and begin projecting where we’ll end up at the start of November.

District 1
Logan County pulled off what most would consider an upset when they took down Hopkinsville 13-12 on the final play of the game in Russellville on Thursday night. It extended Logan County’s winning streak to eight straight games, still almost unfathomable after their 42 game losing streak that ended last season. That set up a district title game against Madisonville-North Hopkins. If Madisonville wins at home against the Cougars on Friday, they’ll complete a 4-0 run through the district and grab homefield advantage for the first four rounds of the playoffs. They’ve already clinched no worse than second place, so they’ll be home one way or the other. Logan County would likewise grab homefield advantage with a win – not bad for a team that hasn’t hosted even a single home playoff game since 1989. If they lose, they will still need a win or a Calloway County loss in one of the Lakers’ two final district games to clinch the #2 seed. Logan County could achieve both with a win over Calloway on the 20th. In all likelihood, both Madisonville and Logan County will open at home. The preseason district favorite Hopkinsville is trying to hold on to the #3 seed, and will host Calloway County on Friday. A win there for the Tigers will clinch a playoff spot and eliminate Calloway County from postseason contention. Lose, and all kinds of scenarios open up.

Projected order of finish: 1. Madisonville-North Hopkins (4-0), 2. Logan County (3-1), 3. Hopkinsville (2-2), 4. Hopkins County Central (1-3), OUT – Calloway County (0-4)

District 2
District 2 hasn’t had many intra-district contests yet, but it has had one big one in Franklin-Simpson’s 30-7 victory at Allen County-Scottsville. It is expected that those two teams are the best in the district, with Warren East as the dark horse. Warren Central will almost certainly finish the year winless and serve as the district’s #4 seed. Warren East will face Allen County-Scottsville at home before traveling to Franklin-Simpson on the 20th. Win both, and the Raiders win the district title. Lose to AC/S only, and likely we will have a three way tie. Lose to Franklin-Simpson only, and Franklin will win the district and East will place 2nd. Lose both, Allen County-Scottsville will be the #2 seed behind Franklin-Simpson. Simple really. The only true certainty is that Allen County-Scottsville’s only path to potentially being the #1 seed is a three way tie, while both Warren East and Franklin-Simpson hold their fate in their hands. Going by momentum and comparisons against common opponents, Franklin-Simpson is the clear choice for the district, while AC/S and East are a tossup for #2.

Projected order of finish: 1. Franklin-Simpson (3-0), 2. Allen County-Scottsville (2-1), 3. Warren East (1-2), 4. Warren Central (0-3)

District 3
Western felled the mighty John Hardin by a wide margin at the end of September, but nearly let it slip away from them in a 28-22 decision against Moore this past Thursday. But the Warriors prevailed, setting up an easy scenario for them – beat Valley at Valley on Friday, and they’re district champions, with homefield for regional play. Lose, and the likelihood increases greatly that John Hardin can play themselves back into the top spot. Western would finish 3-1 in the district in that scenario, while Valley would be 2-1 with a game against winless Breckinridge County pending, a certain win. John Hardin is currently 1-1 in district play, with a road trip to Breckinridge County before finishing at home against Moore. If John Hardin won those games, the three teams would be tied at 3-1 all atop the district standings. At this point, the schedule would be working against both Valley and Western for the three way tiebreaker, based on win totals of opponents that they’ve beaten. Valley has no current wins other than Moore and Breckinridge County that would qualify for this scenario, which the other two teams will have. Western would only have North Oldham to add to those. John Hardin could likely coast to the title on the strength of wins over Meade County and Daviess County alone. Valley beat Moore by the same amount Western did, so it’s not an unthinkable scenario, though not the most likely one. In all likelihood, John Hardin will gain a home game against tough District 6, while Valley and Moore will hit the road.

Projected order of finish: 1. Western (4-0), 2. John Hardin (3-1), 3. Valley (2-2), 4. Moore (1-3), OUT – Breckinridge County (0-4)

District 4
We don’t KNOW who is going to get the top seed in this district - *wink* - but we really do. Collins is the clear class of District 4, winning over both Spencer County and Franklin County by 38. Franklin County likewise stomped Shelby County by 27, and another vanquished foe of Collins – Oldham County – knocked off other district member North Oldham by 11. Nothing is guaranteed, but Collins is almost certainly going to be #1. So assuming that Collins wins out as expected that would leave Franklin County in the driver’s seat for the #2 spot and home game, with only their home game against North Oldham on the 20th remaining. A win there guarantees them a home playoff game regardless of what else happens, as they would hold a head to head tiebreaker with Shelby County, the only other team that could tie them. A loss would leave the door open for some three-way tiebreaker chaos with North Oldham and Shelby County. Shelby County took a big step towards getting the #3 seed with a 23-20 win over North Oldham this past Friday. With North Oldham facing trips to Collins and Franklin County, their backs are against the wall to get out of the #4 seed. Spencer County, at 0-3, have failed to get closer than 20 points in any district contest thus far, and face a must-win at Shelby County on Friday to have any chance of making the playoffs. Even with a win there, if Shelby County were to knock off Collins, Spencer County would still be out.

Projected order of finish: 1. Collins (4-0), 2. Franklin County (3-1), 3. Shelby County (2-2), 4. North Oldham (1-3), OUT – Spencer County (0-4)

District 5
For the second year in a row, East Jessamine took control of the district and gained what was viewed as an unlikely win in knocking off Mercer County 30-27 on September 29th. They followed that road win with a 28-20 victory over previously 5-1 Taylor County, putting themselves into position to grab the district’s #1 seed and homefield for the first four rounds of the playoffs. They get winless Marion County on Friday, and can grab the top seed in the district with a win there, regardless of what happens in their last game against rival West Jessamine. Mercer County and Taylor County have already beaten West Jessamine, meaning their game this Friday at Mercer County will likely serve as a playoff for the #2 seed and home playoff game. West Jessamine cannot realistically play their way up to the top seed, and likely cannot grab a home game at this point. A Marion County loss to Taylor County on the 20th would clinch a playoff spot for West Jessamine, or a combination of a Marion County loss to East Jessamine and a West Jessamine win over East Jessamine. But the scenarios are really likely clearer than that – East Jessamine win over Marion County clinches top spot, Mercer County/Taylor County play for the 2 with the loser settling into the 3 spot, and West Jessamine takes the 4.

Projected order of finish: 1. East Jessamine (3-1), 2. Mercer County (3-1) [Head to Head gives East Jessamine the 1], 3. Taylor County (2-2), 4. West Jessamine (2-2) [Head to Head gives Taylor County the 3], OUT – Marion County (0-4)

District 6
Wayne County followed up their 27-0 shutout of Rockcastle County with a 51-28 blowout of Knox Central, and with that, they raised their district record to 3-0 and clinched the district’s top seed. No matter the result they have against Russell County this Friday, they have homefield for at least the first two rounds. Rockcastle County has a tuneup game against Clay County this Friday, an almost certain win, before a heads up match at Knox Central for the district’s #2 seed. Both Knox Central and Rockcastle County have already beaten Russell County, meaning the Lakers have no path to the #2 seed, and would require Rockcastle County to lose out while Russell County wins out to be able to climb into the 3 spot. Clay County is no more likely to climb the ranks, but has a similar path of needing to win out while Rockcastle County loses out. Far more likely is that Clay County’s home game against Russell County on October 20th will determine the 4 seed.

Projected order of finish: 1. Wayne County (4-0), 2. Rockcastle County (3-1), 3. Knox Central (2-2), 4. Russell County (1-3), OUT – Clay County (0-4)

District 7
District 7 has mostly played in the shadows this year, with very little fanfare given to them. Which is a shame, because top to bottom, they have had some of the closest games between their teams, though the results have mostly come out as predicted. Harrison County has been eliminated from playoff contention, so the four playoff teams are known. Scott and Bourbon County lead the pack at 2-0, and they meet this Friday at Scott. Bourbon County is in better position to make this a real district title game, as a win over Scott along with the 56-34 win they gained over Holmes this past Friday would grant them tiebreakers over both – even a three way tie – meaning they would be the top seed regardless of their result against Harrison County on the 20th. If Scott wins, they would still need either a Holmes loss to Mason County this Friday or a win over Holmes on the 20th to clinch the top seed. Holmes can play their way to the top spot outright by winning out and having Bourbon County lose out. If they were to go into a three way tie, they are almost certainly going to finish last, with no current wins out of district except for Covington Holy Cross, who is winless. Mason County is in the mix at 1-2 in the district, with losses to Scott (in overtime) and Bourbon County, and a win over Harrison County in double overtime. Their three district games have been decided by 13 total points. The Royals could just as easily have been in position for the top spot or completely buried and out of the playoffs. They can still get a home playoff game in theory with a win over Holmes, a Holmes win over Scott, and either a Scott loss to Bourbon County or Bourbon County losing out. A three-way tie scenario with Scott involved would be far more advantageous, as Bourbon County’s wins over Somerset and Owen County (both with five wins) likely give them a dominating position over anyone in a tiebreaking scenario. Winless Harrison County will have nothing but pride on the line when they visit Bourbon County on October 20th, but came oh-so-close to a playoff spot in a 14-6 loss to Holmes and that double OT loss to Mason County.

Projected order of finish: 1. Bourbon County (4-0), 2. Scott (3-1), 3. Mason County (2-2), 4. Holmes (1-3), OUT – Harrison County (0-4)

District 8
Like District 4, we don’t “know” who will win this, but we really do. Unbeaten and defending state champ Johnson Central is 3-0 in the district with two games left to go, and hasn’t scored less than 50 points in district play so far. They’ll mow down Rowan County and likely do the same in what will most likely serve as a district title game with Ashland on October 20th. Ashland and Greenup County have an important game this Friday in Ashland which will likely serve as the playoff for the 2 spot. Ashland has recovered well from their 1-2 start with five straight wins, and of the two, is in a much better spot to challenge Johnson Central for the district title since Greenup County has already lost to the Golden Eagles. Those three have realistically clinched a playoff spot if not in actuality yet. Boyd County and East Carter will meet on Friday for what probably is an elimination game. It definitely is for Boyd County, as they cannot make the playoffs with a loss there, as the best they could do would be one district win and either East Carter or Rowan County would have two – the top three teams already have two district wins. If they were to lose to Boyd County, East Carter could gain a three way tie for the final spot with a win over Rowan County – so long as Rowan County loses to Johnson Central this week and Boyd County lost to Greenup County next week. I’m quite confident in how these spots will shake out, but thanks to the six team district, there’s not much that is officially official yet.

Projected order of finish: 1. Johnson Central (5-0), 2. Ashland (4-1), 3. Greenup County (3-2), 4. Rowan County (2-3), OUT – Boyd County (1-4), East Carter (0-5)

BONUS PREDICTION
As we sit here still about six weeks from region title games, my postseason predictions are:
Region 1 – Franklin-Simpson
Region 2 – Collins
Region 3 – Wayne County
Region 4 – Johnson Central

Johnson Central over Collins for the state title.

Upcoming Game of the Week

This is not a strong slate of games, but I think my bet for the best game would the Bourbon County at Scott. Both have been on the fringe of the rankings this season, and as mentioned, this likely will be for the District 7 title. They’d both be underdogs against whoever was the #2 seed in District 8 for the second round of the playoffs, but that’s a better fighting chance than they’d have matching up with Johnson Central in the second round. A lot on the line for that game. Runner-up would be Madisonville-North Hopkins hosting #10 Logan County. That one is an outright district title game. Madisonville would get their first district title in 17 years – Logan County their first in 28 years.