Class 4A Notebook (9/1): A Capital W
When Johnson Central fell at home to Capital (WV) last season by a 28-21 score, it was their first loss before the month of October in six seasons, and their first loss in a season opener in eight. That didnít stop them from reeling off 13 straight victories to reach the state title game, but still, it may have been sticking in their minds entering this week. Capital entered as the #3 team in their class in West Virginia, and looked to be a challenge.
The Golden Eagles were more than equal to the task. While the 28-13 final appears to be relatively close, the Johnson Central defense made certain it never truly would be. They held Capital to a mere 59 yards. The two Capital scores came on an 11 yard TD run after a very short punt set Capital up deep in Johnson Central territory, and the last an 85 yard punt return score to draw within 8 with about 10 minutes left in the game. Johnson Central opened up the scoring with an 80 yard drive in seven plays, capped by a Riley Preece 14 yard touchdown run. Capital tied it up at the 2:50 mark of the same quarter with the aforementioned short field TD. Preece hit Seth Dalton for a 76 yard TD pass to answer and give them back the lead for good, and Preece found Pelfrey for a 15 yard score just before the half to make the score 21-7. No one found a score in the third before Capitalís punt return made it 21-13. Johnson Central responded with a 13 play drive for 84 yards, grinding six and a half minutes off the clock before Preece punched in a two yard score with 3:12 left to put the game on ice. It was a strong answer to last yearís result, and when paired with the win over Lafayette in week 1 Ė who just turned in a much more competitive effort against 5A power Scott County Ė is a strong statement to the class. The Golden Eagles are very much still the real deal, and are making their case for the top spot.
Other games of note:
There appears to be a divide between the top six in the class and those below it. We will probably see a mere rearranging of the chairs in the weeks to come. #1 Boyle County, #4 Madisonville-North Hopkins, #5 Lexington Catholic, and #6 Central won their games by a combined 166 points. #3 Corbin went deep into the night to polish off a nice 35-17 win over Notre Dame (TN). Some tougher games are coming for these teams, but right now they appear to be the class of this class.
#7 Franklin-Simpson fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2013 when they dropped a 26-21 decision to Meade County. Their three games against Meade County since 2017 have all been won by the road team, and have been decided by a total of 11 points combined. It was a better performance for Franklin than the week before, as they held a 21-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but they failed to hold a lead for the second consecutive game. They are almost certainly staring down their first 0-3 start since 2006 with South Warren coming to call on this next Friday.
Two off the radar teams may have had the most paradigm changing results for the class this week. Harlan County knocked off a tough Hazard team 22-20. Hazard entered as the #7 team in 1A. Harlan County led much of the night, but Hazard tied the game up at 20 all with 3:44 left in the game. Harlan County drove down for the potential winning score, but threw an interception at the 1 with 1:22 remaining. The defense stepped up and got it done for the team, grabbing a game-winning safety. Meanwhile, Hopkinsville was tangling with Mayfield, the #1 team in class 2A and pound-for-pound one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) programs in the state. The Tigers have been a bit of a question mark entering this year given their propensity in recent years to start out hyped and fall off after massive injuries, but theyíre showing out early. They led most of the night and outgained Mayfield 433 to 380, but fell just short 27-22. Expect them to make the leap into the top ten this week.
Upcoming Game of the Week
There are some very good games on tap this week. Central matches up with Fern Creek, Hoptown takes on Caldwell County, and Corbin becomes the latest 4A team to go against Pulaski County. I was sorely tempted to give the nod to the rivalry game between Boyle County and Danville, but ultimately, Iím going with Lexington Catholicís visit to Covington Catholic. The Colonels out of 5A have been completely untested as of yet, outscoring Ryle and Campbell County 86-0 in their first two games. Lexington Catholic comes in scoring 32 points per game behind stud QB Beau Allen. If there is a statement available to made this week by a 4A team, it would be here.
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