Since Hopkinsville began their turnaround in 2014, most season’s have been filled with disappointment and/or unfulfilled promise. In 2014 it was having to forfeit three games, turning a winning season into a losing one. In 2015 and 2016, it was bowing out a round early at home, failing to close out a close game. In the last two seasons, it has been entering the season as the favorite in the district, only to fail to grab a top seed in-district and going on the road each season in the playoffs. A big reason for that is the rise of Logan County. In 2017, the Cougars announced their arrival after a 6-0 start against a soft schedule by knocking off the favored Tigers 13-12 on a last second touchdown run. The Tigers would get revenge via a blowout in the playoffs, but in 2018 there it was again – a poor start to the season and a disappointing 10-6 loss to Logan County knocked them back down to the 3 seed again. And thus, the stage was set for a Thursday night thriller in Logan County, between a 4-2 and 6th ranked Tiger team full of promise against a 6-0 and 7th ranked Logan County team fresh off of a victory over Madisonville and looking to essentially wrap up the top seed.
The Cougars had success in the first quarter. An opening drive made it to the Tiger 6 before a turnover ended the threat, but an interception set Logan County up inside the Hopkinsville 10 and an Ezell TD pass to Sears gave them a 6-0 lead just before the end of the first. But that was to be the only Cougar score. A blocked punt set up a Hopkinsville scoring drive capped by a Bland TD pass to Rushing making it 7-6. Another special teams miscue by Logan County – this one a bad snap on a punt – gave Hopkinsville the ball inside the 10 yard line and Bland kept it for a 3 yard rushing TD to make it 14-6 at the break. The second half was more of the same, with the Tigers finishing with three interceptions of Ezell, who was just 15/34 for 184 yards. Star Logan County RB Gary Hardy was carted off the field, compounding the damage for the Cougars. Bland had another rushing TD for Hopkinsville to give the final 21-6 margin, lifting the Tigers to their first regular season win over Logan County in three years. That sets up an important matchup at Madisonville-North Hopkins next week. If Hopkinsville wins, they will clinch the top seed in the district, avoiding another matchup with either Logan County or Madisonville in the first round of the playoffs. If Madisonville wins, then assuming all other expected results hold, we will have a three-way tie at the top of District 1. BIG game.
Other games of Note:
With the matchup of two top ten teams described above and three other top 10 teams on bye, it was a very light week for big name games.
#5 Corbin was in action for the first time since September 13th, thanks to a bye week followed by a rainout. The rust showed early as Lafayette got out to a 7-0 lead eight minutes in, but over the next eight minutes Corbin scored three times, all on the ground as Combs ran in from two yards, Longmire from 11, and Yaeger from one yard. That was all the scoring in the game as Corbin won for the first time since August, 21-7.
#10 Central had the other competitive result in the top 10, a 14-0 shutout over Shelby County. It was the second shutout of the year for the Yellow Jackets, who have held four opponents under 10 points this season. Shelby County managed only 131 yards of offense, which Dayshawn Mucker exceeded by himself with 134 yards on the ground for Central. The highlight of the game was a Jaylen Thomas 80 yard touchdown throw to Deondre Howard on a flea-flicker.
#2 Johnson Central doesn’t get much mention in this space because, frankly, their games have been pretty uncompetitive. They enjoyed a highly efficient 44-0 win over Clay County, running 28 offensive plays to rack up 387 yards. Devin Johnson had two scores on his five rushes for 119 yards. Riley Preece was a perfect 4/4 for 135 yards, and Seth Dalton took his only reception 66 yards to the house.
#4 Franklin County posted their fourth score of the year of 50 points or more in a 62-0 win over North Oldham. The Flyers have been completely unchallenged since their 35-28 win in the opener at East Jessamine, and have won by an average of 40 points per game in the last six.
Upcoming Game of the Week
There are two clear contenders this week. Most weeks #5 Hopkinsville at #9 Madisonville-North Hopkins would be the clear choice. But the old rivalry between #1 Boyle County and #3 Lexington Catholic takes honors this week. This is almost certainly the last potential challenge of the year for a Boyle County team that has not played a game closer than 30 points. That came in their last outing, a 30-0 shutout of Highlands that represented their third shutout of the season, though their lowest point total. The Rebels have not lost a regular season game since August of 2017, and haven’t lost at home since September of 2016. Meanwhile, Lexington Catholic has not won on the road since their season opener, although they lost those two games by a combined two points to some pretty good teams in Covington Catholic and Lexington Christian. The Knights have yet to score below 21 points this season, and Beau Allen continues to rack up yards and scores, throwing for 2,034 yards (339 YPG), 22 touchdowns against just 2 INTs, and completing almost 73% of his passes.