Class 5A Notebook (11/9/2016)
In general the first week of the playoffs in Kentucky is relatively uneventful, this year was no exception in class 5A as all teams that were expected to win did just that. Pulaski County had a much closer game than expected, but survived a scare from Harlan County. Round two of the playoffs will be much different however, with several interesting matchups on hand.
This region has a handful of the best teams in the class and it showed in the opening round as the higher seeded teams all won their first round games in convincing fashion. The region one favorites outscored their opponents 208-53 in the opening round.
The one game that some thought would be close, turned out not close at all as Greenwood took it to Graves County 44-17. As par for the season, the Gators lined up and dared their opponent to stop the run. The Graves County defense was unable to do so, giving up 373 yards on the ground to the Gators. This week will be a much tougher matchup for Greenwood as they travel to Owensboro to take on a Red Devil team that is peaking at the right time. This is one of many solid matchups this week, but I believe the home team wins this one.
The other matchup in region one this week is Bowling Green and Christian County. If Bowling Green wasn’t ranked as one of the top ten medium sized schools in the country this one would likely be a war. That said, anything can happen, it wasn’t that long ago that Graves County upset a very good Bowling Green team in the playoffs. The Colonels are the only team to hang within 20 points of the Purples this season and are looking to improve on their 42-22 loss to Bowling Green early in the season. These Purples are on a mission though, look for a running clock in this one.
The only surprise in region two wasn’t that Highlands lost to Doss, rather it was how Doss imposed their will against the Bluebirds. Most expected this one to be close, some even expected a Highlands win, but in the end Doss handed Highlands a 52-32 loss. That loss resulted in Highlands first, first round exit since 1991. Don’t hang your heads low young birds, you played hard all season and looking into the future the cupboard is far from bare.
This week Doss travels to Covington to take on the Covington Catholic and Dixie Heights will travel to Louisville to take on Fern Creek. Both games are interesting matchups, but this is the year of the Colonels in region two. Expect Covington Catholic to post a two to three touchdown win over Doss, while Dixie Heights wins a close one on the road at Fern Creek.
Region three games went as expected last week, but that didn’t change much. This region is still up in the air and there is no clear favorite. Bullitt Central survived a close call against Anderson County, winning in overtime by a touchdown, 31-24. They advance to take on South Oldham this week, attempting to avenge their 39-7 loss to the Dragons earlier in the season. South Oldham on the other hand cruised to an easy win over Woodford County, 61-33. The Dragon’s are now sitting at an impressive 10-1 on the season and have their sights set on a regional championship. Look for Bullitt Central to keep things a little closer this week as they travel to South Oldham, but the Dragons will prevail and advance to the regional final.
North Bullitt and Madison Southern both won their games convincingly, which sets them up to face each other in Madison County this week. North Bullitt beat Montgomery County 49-28, while Madison Southern beat Bullitt East 32-13. Both Montgomery County and Bullitt East have struggled to find wins this season, each posting three wins a piece. This week will be a much different scenario as these two eagles face each other for a chance to move on to the regional final. Look for Madison Southern to win a close one against North Bullitt, just as South Oldham did a couple of weeks ago.
Just like the other regions, everyone in region four that was expected to win did. There is one game that stands out though, which was Pulaski County’s close win over Harlan County 14-12. Close games have became a trend for the Maroons during the second half of the season. Prior to their 6-21 loss to rival Southwestern, Pulaski County struggled to beat South Laurel, but ultimately won that one 28-27. The Maroons capped off the regular season with an eleven point win over 4A Bourbon County. Pulaski County will have to get things back on track if they expect to beat a solid Whitley County team this week. Whitley County, is a team that has been on the fringe of the top ten the latter half of the season. The Colonels capped off the regular season with a loss to a solid 2A Leslie County team, their only other loss is to Corbin. The Colonel rebounded last week as they beat Lincoln County 55-21. While I have Pulaski County getting a rematch with Southwestern in the regional final, the Maroons need to be on upset alert for this one. If they don’t play their A game, they will be going home.
Southwestern lost their regular season finale to a very good Lexington Catholic team, don’t look into that too much though as it was a one point loss on the road. The loss to Lexington Catholic was the Warriors second one point loss this season, the other one point loss was also on the road to Danville. Like Whitley County, Southwestern also lost to a very good Corbin team earlier in the season. This week Southwestern gets a solid North Laurel team at home, North Laurel beat South Laurel 56-42 last week to advance to the second round of the playoffs. While North Laurel is solid, these aren’t last season’s Jaguars, expect Southwestern to cruise to the regional finals with a potential rematch with Pulaski County looming.