Class 5A Notebook (11/17): The champ gets KO'd and Cinderella arrives at the ball

  1. #1
    by DevilMayCare is offline Premium Member
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    The new playoff format ensured that, one way or another, we'd be saying goodbye to a couple of state powers earlier than usual in the postseason. Scott County did what most expected and played better football in their rematch with Frederick Douglass, but were ultimately outclassed by a superior opponent. And South Warren couldn't overcome its offensive struggles against Bowling Green this season, suffering their earliest playoff exit in eight years. That game was one of four that went down to the wire. Before casting our gaze upon the quarterfinals, let's take a look back at the events of Round 2.


    District 1 Championship Recap
    Any hopes of an upset that the Graves County faithful were clinging to, evaporated somewhere between the opening kickoff and halftime, where Owensboro held a 43-0 lead. That was also the final score, as the Red Devils overwhelmed the Eagles with nearly 400 yards of offense and their typically stingy defensive effort. Gavin Wimsatt continued his strong sophomore season with three more touchdown passes - two were hauled in by Tyren Hayden - and a 70 yard scoring sprint on a fake punt.

    The running room available to Eagles running back Clint McKee (125 yards/8.3 ypc) in the first meeting was nowhere to be found on Friday. He could only manage 23 yards on seven carries this time. When you factor in Owensboro's offensive efficiency, the special teams score, and the three interceptions of Graves quarterback John Brown, one of which was a pick-six, it's easy to see how this game got out of hand so quickly.



    District 2 Championship Recap
    Darkness may have fallen long before the opening kick, but for defending state champion South Warren, the sun set on their pursuit of a second straight title much later. We'll have a new king in 5A this year, courtesy of Bowling Green's 20-13 victory at El Donaldson Stadium.

    Caden Veltkamp was back in the saddle for the Spartans after missing several weeks with a wrist injury. Toward the end of what had been a defensive oriented battle, he threw a touchdown strike to Jantzen Dunn to even the score at 13, leaving the Purples with just over two minutes of regulation to work with. Conner Cooper guided Bowling Green down the field in roughly ninety seconds, including a Cooper keeper for a big pickup down to South Warren's three yard line. Running back JaVyan Collins finished the job, muscling his way across the goal line with 44 seconds remaining to help give BG a seven point lead. On the ensuing drive, a last second Spartan heave was deflected incomplete, giving the Purples a second win over their rival this year and reclaiming the district title they lost to them last season.



    District 3 Championship Recap
    Survive and advance. That's the name of the game this time of year. As you read above, Bowling Green knows this, and so now does Fairdale. The Bulldogs found themselves gridlocked at 27 with Bullitt Central as the fourth quarter ticked away its final seconds. This was a team Fairdale had beaten by three touchdowns a few weeks ago, but this time they needed a game winning touchdown drive in the final minutes to keep their dream season alive. With the ball at the Bullitt Central 19 yard line, quarterback Trey McCoy did what he'd previously done 33 times this year… he threw a touchdown pass. But not just any touchdown pass, this was the defining throw of his career, so far. It came with fourteen seconds remaining in the game to extend Fairdale's season. The glass slipper fits for at least another week.

    As has been the case all year, the Bulldogs' offense was a balance of contributions from several players. McCoy threw for three scores and nearly 300 yards, with each touchdown pass finding a different receiver - the winning throw was caught by Stephen Moore, who topped a hundred yards receiving and returned a pick for a touchdown. Earl Cameron fell just shy and a hundred yards rushing and scored once himself. Fairdale now stands at 11-1, their winningest season since 1991.



    District 4 Championship Recap
    The impact of South Oldham's running game on North Bullitt was referenced in last week's notebook. The Dragons punished the Eagles for over 300 yards rushing in Week 8 and pounded out 330 more yards on the ground in Round 2's 50-21 win. Keaton Martin and QB Anthony Pierce surpassed the century mark and JT Benson came within five yards of joining them. Pierce was equally dangerous with his arm, completing all eight of his passes, including two touchdowns. For their part, North Bullitt moved the ball well enough, but they needed a defensive performance unlike any they've had this season, and were unable to summon it.



    District 5 Championship Recap
    If you beat Highlands twice in the same season, you're a legend in the hallways of your high school. If you get running clocked twice in the same season by Covington Catholic, you're joining Cooper at a table for two. Conner shifted from one end of that spectrum to the other in a matter of hours on Friday night. CovCath unleashed a torrent of offense on the Cougars, outgaining them in yardage 7 to 1, en route to a 38-0 halftime score. Conner's running game, which has not been a strength this season, was virtually non-existent against the Colonels, finishing with -2 yards on just eleven carries. The lack of conviction in the run game is understandable, though. Covington Catholic has allowed a mere thirty-three yards per game rushing this season.

    Michael Boydston opened the scoring on the first play of the game, racing sixty yards to paydirt. Overall, CovCath got points on their first six possessions, with Caleb Jacob throwing touchdown passes to Michael Mayer (2) and Ethan Reardon along the way. Jared Hicks closed out his distinguished career at Conner with 153 passing yards and a second half touchdown.



    District 6 Championship Recap
    If Scott County was going to direct a sequel to last year's two game series with Frederick Douglass - FD wins the regular season game, SC gets playoff revenge - a positive start Friday night was surely near the top of their list of "must haves".

    Instead, with a frustrated Jim McKee pacing the sideline, Scott County fumbled and stumbled its way through the opening quarter, trailing by ten at its conclusion. Even after an early second quarter touchdown run by Cade McKee, Douglass responded with another score, a sensational catch and run by Devin Neal that illustrates what the University of Cincinnati saw in him that prompted them to offer him a scholarship, which he has accepted. He struck again in the fourth quarter to stretch FD's lead to seventeen.

    The Broncos' lead only exceeded ten points for a period of five game minutes, but you never felt like a Douglass win was in serious jeopardy, despite the fact that the Cardinals made a much better account of themselves compared to the first game. Neal and Josh McClurg starred for the winning side, combining for 270 yards of offense and three touchdowns.

    Whether or not Douglass is ready for its moment in the sun is a question that will reveal its answer in due time, but this win was a big step in the right direction.



    District 7 Championship Recap
    Madison Southern utilized a stout defensive effort to reverse the result of a regular season game against East Jessamine and claim another district championship, their fourth in five years. The Eagles didn't completely shut down 5A's top rushing offense, but they kept them contained. When the two met several weeks ago, the Jaguars ran wild for 413 yards in a 49-35 East Jessamine win. This time around, MadSouth shaved two hundred yards off of that total. The teams traded the lead back and forth through three quarters before the Eagles scored the winning points with five minutes remaining in the fourth. A late turnover by the Jags helped seal the win for Madison Southern, 24-21.



    District 8 Championship Recap
    It would be hard to blame anyone for questioning the direction of Southwestern's football program following a 2-5 start to this season. The Warriors represent a community accustomed to winning under the guidance of Larry French. It appears now, that Southwestern was just feeling their way through a transitional phase under new coach Jason Foley. They've rebounded to win five straight, including Round 2's district title winning effort against Whitley County. The Colonels were the last team to beat the Warriors, but the visiting team on this night had retribution on their minds.

    Things were looking good for Whitley County, leading by two scores nearing the end of the third quarter, but an improved defensive showing in the second half and a couple of Tanner Wright touchdown runs catapulted the Warriors to victory, 21-15, making Southwestern the only four seed in the state to claim a district crown.



    Quarterfinal Predictions

    Fairdale (11-1) at Owensboro (11-1)
    Fairdale has put together its finest season in a generation. Through twelve games, no one has been able to muzzle the Bulldogs' offense, which averages a 5A best 46 ppg. But that can be partly attributed to the fact that they haven't seen a defense this year that comes close to what they'll face this Friday.

    Fairdale's win over Bullitt Central last week sets up a trip to Rash Stadium to clash with Owensboro for a spot in the state semifinals. The Red Devils have been no slouch on offense themselves, but their calling card this year has been a suffocating defense allowing fewer points than anyone in the state besides Frederick Douglass. It's been fun riding along with Fairdale this season, but their schedule strength, or lack thereof, is about to catch up to them as they venture into deeper waters.

    Prediction: Owensboro 46 Fairdale 14



    Bowling Green (8-3) at South Oldham (11-1)
    This is clearly the marquee quarterfinal in this class, with the feel of a semifinal quality matchup happening a round earlier. The losses sprinkled throughout Bowling Green's schedule have made them a hard read for most of this season. Unlike years past, the offense didn't feature any superstar players to rely on week in and week out. Everything on that side of the ball has been achieved by committee this year.

    South Oldham's offensive core is smaller, but more productive, man for man. Anthony Pierce, Keaton Martin, JT Benson, and Ethan Bednarczyk are a well seasoned group, which the Crestwood community has been pointing to for some time now.

    If you're looking for some separation here, the teams' respective schedules are a good starting point. The Purples have three opponents still playing football, while the Dragons have none. The Central Hardin win a couple of weeks ago has instilled a new level of postseason confidence surrounding South Oldham, but facing the likes of Trinity, St. X, McCracken County, and South Warren (2), makes BG the more battle tested team right now, and that usually counts for a lot this time of year.

    Prediction: Bowling Green 28 South Oldham 17



    Madison Southern (7-5) at Covington Catholic (12-0)

    Madison Southern's return to the state's football consciousness after a two win season last year has been a welcome sight for those in Berea, but it's about time for them to shift their focus to the hardwood, I'm afraid. The Eagles have a +10 scoring margin against their schedule this year, while CovCath boasts a margin of nearly +400.

    Strong defense is a recurring theme among the remaining 5A favorites. The top four scoring defenses in the state, regardless of class, reside in this class. Covington Catholic is one of them, MadSouth is not. In fact, of the 48 teams still playing, the Eagles have the worst scoring defense left… period.

    Prediction: Covington Catholic 43 Madison Southern 7



    Southwestern (7-5) at Frederick Douglass (12-0)

    Expect this quarterfinal to be as ugly as the one directly above. Much like Madison Southern, not many expected Southwestern to still be playing, and also like the Eagles, the Warriors are staring up at a goliath with designs on a December 7th trip to the grocery store. The win over Scott County was a big leap forward in the growth and perception of Douglass' program, and they shouldn't squander that victory by falling prey to the upset bid by Southwestern.

    Prediction: Frederick Douglass 48 Southwestern 0



    Projected Semifinal Matchups Based On The Above Predictions

    Bowling Green at Covington Catholic
    Owensboro at Frederick Douglass
    Last edited by DevilMayCare; Nov 17, 19 at 09:47 PM.

  2. #2

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    QUOTE:
    Bowling Green (8-3) at South Oldham (11-1)
    This is clearly the marquee quarterfinal in this class, with the feel of a semifinal quality matchup happening a round earlier. The losses sprinkled throughout Bowling Green's schedule have made them a hard read for most of this season. Unlike years past, the offense didn't feature any superstar players to rely on week in and week out. Everything on that side of the ball has been achieved by committee this year.

    South Oldham's offensive core is smaller, but more productive, man for man. Anthony Pierce, Keaton Martin, JT Benson, and Ethan Bednarczyk are a well seasoned group, which the Crestwood community has been pointing to for some time now.

    If you're looking for some separation here, the teams' respective schedules are a good starting point. The Purples have three opponents still playing football, while the Dragons have none. The Central Hardin win a couple of weeks ago has instilled a new level of postseason confidence surrounding South Oldham, but facing the likes of Trinity, St. X, McCracken County, and South Warren (2), makes BG the more battle tested team right now, and that usually counts for a lot this time of year.

    Prediction: Bowling Green 28 South Oldham 17 UNQUOTE

    The Crestwood Community has enjoyed and supported all of our football teams. This group is no different than any of the past groups. Especially since Jamie Reed became Head Coach, South Oldham football has had some very exciting teams to watch. The last five years have been a lot of fun and have had success unlike any other time in school history. We are looking forward to hosting the Purples on Friday night in what looks to be a great game. Still picking my Dragons in a close one. South Oldham 24 BG 21

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    DMC, great writeup! This is a TON more information you could ever get through newspaper.

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    Very well written; covers all the bases. Thank you.

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    Bump.

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