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No one is crowning South Warren as the kings of Warren County or 5A just yet. There is still much work to be done. But you've got to admit, the Spartans bludgeoning of Central Hardin has added a new dimension to the optics of the Warren County/5A landscape. Central Hardin gave Bowling Green all they could handle in Week 0. The Purples held a three score lead at the half, but failed to put the Bruins away. Central Hardin put a couple of touchdowns on the board in the 2nd half to make it a one possession game, and actually had the ball with a chance to either tie it up or even take the lead late in the 4th. A Tucker Prieskorn interception sealed the win for BG, but it was hardly the kind of performance that would instill confidence in the masses. Certainly nothing like what occurred between SW and the Bruins last Friday night.

It should be noted that Central Hardin was down some crucial personnel, as reported to us by @Hardin County Preps. So this wasn't quite the same Bruins team that gave BG fits.

Nevertheless, the Spartans pounced on CH early and often, leading 24-0 after one quarter, and 38-0 at the half. Gavin Spurrier's 43 yard touchdown pass (one of three on the night) to Tomi Mustapha with four minutes to go in the half set the running clock in motion. It marked the fourth straight 1st half running clock that the Spartans have hung on their opponents to start the year. SW's starters have seldom seen any 2nd half action this season.

The highly anticipated South Warren vs. Bowling Green showdown isn't for another six weeks, but a result like this against a mutual opponent thickens the layer of intrigue surrounding that match-up and stirs up some great conversation, which, as far as I'm concerned, can only be a good thing. Prior to last year's playoff loss, Bowling Green had ruled their corner of the state with an iron fist for years. The Purples were lacking a real, legitimate backyard rival. It seems they have one now.

Elsewhere around the top 10

- Speaking of Bowling Green, the 2nd ranked Purples had their hands full against rival Owensboro, ranked 8th in 5A. A narrow 14-12 halftime lead was only extended by a touchdown in the 3rd quarter, resulting in a 21-12 final. Vito Tisdale scored two of BG’s three touchdowns, both on one yard runs. Owensboro's defense, which had been trending downward, stepped up its game. But the offense, averaging 36 points and over 400 yards through its first three games, got shutout in the 2nd half after two Will Warren-to-Treyvon Tinsley TD passes in the 1st half.

- When it comes to running clocks, Covington Catholic has gone full Oprah - “You get a running clock! And you get a running clock! And you get a running clock!" CovCath dominated Kings (OH) 42-9, outgaining the Knights 449-153. Casey McGinness continued building his Mr. Football resume with 203 yards from scrimmage and 4 TDs. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Jacob found TE Michael Mayer five times for 86 yards.

- Highlands recovered from its loss to Scott County by blasting Ryle 40-3, putting a CovCath-esque running clock on the Raiders. The Birds’ offense quadrupled Ryle's yardage output, but their defense was the star of the show. They consistently got pressure on Ryle’s QB, sacking him four times and snagging three interceptions. The Raiders could only muster 82 yards of offense. Running back Cooper Schwalbach (146 yards rushing) and QB Grady Cramer accounted for two TDs each, and Nick Bowman drilled a couple of field goals.

- South Oldham and Apollo joined South Warren as top 10 teams posting lopsided shutouts. The Dragons returned from a bye week to throttle North Oldham 46-0. Six different ball carriers rushed for at least 60 yards. All together, South Oldham churned out 360 yards rushing, averaging 11 yards per carry in the process. Apollo battered Butler County 52-0, holding the Bears to -21 yards rushing for the game. Mariano McKenzie found paydirt four times for the Eagles.

- Drew Sawyers returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD, rushed for a TD, and picked off a Henry Clay pass in Southwestern's 31-24 win over the Blue Devils. Dylan Bland added 93 yards and a TD on six carries for the Warriors

- District rivals Anderson County and Montgomery County both posted victories on Friday night, but in vastly different fashions. The Bearcats breezed by Valley 45-7, while the Indians inched past George Rogers Clark 31-28 on a field goal with seven minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.

Scanning the periphery

- There are four unbeatens in 5A who have yet to get a sniff of the top 10 - Perry County Central (4-0), Grayson County (4-0), Bullitt Central (3-0), and Oldham County (3-0). In all likelihood, Grayson County's “0” will likely go this week vs. South Warren. Bullitt Central's chances of an unbeaten regular season took a huge hit with a severe injury to star running back Daylin Huff. Oldham County should take care of business this week against winless Seneca before the county championship is settled between the Colonels and South Oldham. Oldham County gave the Dragons one of their toughest games of the season a year ago. Perry Central probably has the best shot at 10-0. Everyone remaining on their schedule is down from where they were in 2017.

- If the Commodores are going to finish unbeaten, RB Jayden Neace will be the single biggest factor as he continues to rack up yardage in large quantities. He rumbled for 221 yards and 3 TDs against Clay County, giving him 1,091 yards (273 per game) and 17 TDs on the season. Assuming he stays healthy, 2,000 yards seems a forgone conclusion. How high can he go? 2,500? 3,000?

- Christian County retained county bragging rights for the fourth straight year with a 16-7 win over Hopkinsville. Five of the last six meetings in this series have been decided by single digits. The Colonels continue to be an enigma. They've won the two games that I thought they'd lose and lost the games that I thought they'd win before the season began.

- 5A’s leading QB/WR combo had themselves a night versus Danville. Pulaski QB Wiley Cain threw for 331 yards and 2 TDs in the Maroons’ 30-14 win over the Ads. He hooked up with 5A’s leading receiver Jake Sloan 9 times for 163 yards and both scoring strikes.

Game of the Week for Week 4

Highlands at Lexington Catholic - Here's something you haven't heard much the past few years... The Birds’ defense looked outstanding last week. As I said above, they limited Ryle to just 82 total yards in a dominating performance against the Raiders. Highlands will need that defensive effort to carry over this week as they prepare to face a potent LexCath offense that averages 482 yards and 47 ppg. Quarterback Beau Allen has been in a groove this season that few others in the state can match - 1,426 yards and 19 TD passes/2 interceptions, while completing nearly 70% of his throws. He's passed for at least 300 yards and 3 TDs in each of LexCath's first four games.

The history between these two great programs has skewed heavily in the Bluebirds’ favor. Highlands has won seven of the previous nine meetings, including four straight semi-final wins over the Knights from 2011-2014. LexCath did beat the Birds during their playoff run to the 2005 3A championship. And of course, they were victorious last year at David Cecil Memorial Stadium, 21-18.