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Our Eastern Kentucky Power Rankings are Sponsored by Lake Cumberland Sports is an internet broadcast and media company out of Somerset, KY. Founded by 4 guys who love High School Sports and love broadcasting. When local radio decided to opt out of airing HS sports. We decided to jump in. In 2016 we worked with an out of state company and did well. 2017 We decidedto do this all by ourselves and we have been in Overdrive ever since.

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15. 4A Knox Central Panthers (4-6-1)
- Knox Central has some big holes to fill, but getting back star DB/HB Jermel Carton provides the Panthers one of Eastern Kentucky most versatile big-play threats.

14. 5A Harlan County (4-7)- Harlan County may have been one of the best 4-7 teams in Kentucky and only fell to eventual State Runner-Up Pulaski County 14-12. The Bears’ record was influenced by a brutal non-district slate and they have decided to lighten the load a bit. With a solid core returning the Bears will be a tough out in Class 5A.

13. 3A Russell Red Devils (10-2)- Russell’s consistency has made them one of the more under-valued programs in Kentucky over the past decade and a half. The Devils will have some big shoes to fill, but still have the depth and talent to string together a winning team.

12. 4A Rockcastle County Rockets (10-2)- 2016 was a breakout season for the Rockets but after an upset loss they also lost a veteran Senior Class. Brent Lovell will be a key cog but the Rockets will need youth to step forward to match the accomplishments of last year.

11. 4A Ashland Tomcats (9-4)- Last year was one of the youngest Tomcat teams in recent memory and they took their lumps as such. QB Braxton Ratliff is a dual threat and showed a ton of promise last season. He loses his top RB and top WR, so youth will need to mature to allow Ashland to hope to contend with Johnson Central.

10. 5A Whitley County Colonels (9-3)- After dropping the season opener 42-6 not many people expected Whitley County to rattle off 8 consecutive victories and take the District Title. The Colonels were one of the biggest surprises in EKY and look to build off that momentum led by QB Dylan Wilson and his #1 target Dawson Swain.

9. 1A Paintsville Tigers (13-1)- Paintsville was the favorite to reach Bowling Green until hazard ruined their perfect season. Between what hazard returns and the loss of the tigers’ QB and RB, it seems many are forgetting about the Tigers. Paintsville is still plenty loaded and will more than likely win double digit games once more.

8. 5A North Laurel Jaguars (7-5)- Not many teams can boast they return a pair of 1000 yard rushers, their leading receiver, and a pair of 100+ tackle performers but North Laurel can. The Jags have all the pieces you would look for to have a breakout 2017 campaign.

7. 1A Hazard Bulldogs (12-3)- Cory Smith exploded onto the scene gaining just shy of 4,000 yards and scoring a ridiculous 39 TD’s. Bailey Blair was solid at QB and the Dawgs return the brunt of the 1A Runner-Up squad.

6. 5A Southwestern Warriors (9-4)- Southwestern just wants to get over the hump! It appeared the Warriors had the inside path to the State Finals after a solid win over rival Pulaski County in the regular season, but the Maroons found their Offense and got the last laugh. Southwestern returns one of the State’s most electric receivers in JP Vaught and also return RB Patric Edwards who it feels has been starting since the school first consolidated!

5. 5A Pulaski County Maroons (12-3)- The bad news? Mr. Everything Jake Johnson has finally graduated. The good news? Pulaski County still found a way to reach the State Finals in what was considered a “bridge year” and now return QB Wiley Cain and a host of talent. The 2017 Maroons should be closer to the 2014 and 2015 Maroons and that is scary for 5A Competition.

4. 4A Wayne County Cardinals (11-3)- This is what Coach Shawn Thompson wants. Thompson has become the master of taking a young wave of talent, throwing them into the fire as underclassmen, and banking on that talent to mature as Seniors and compete at a high level. With a host of multi-year starters on Offense back and some stars on Defense to compliment them, Wayne will most likely be one of the very few teams with a legit chance of threatening Johnson Central in 4A.

3. 3A Corbin Redhounds (12-2)- Justin Haddix’s Rehounds had a motto for 2016, “Play 15”. They wound up “Playing 13.75” as the Redhounds played masterfully against eventual 3A Champion Belfry until the wheels came off in the 4th Quarter of the Semi-Finals. Revenge will certainly be on their minds with a solid core returning including the Top QB in EKY Cameron Sizemore. Cody Estep, Caleb Mitchell, and Cameron Maguet are all more than capable of the new increased roles that will be asked of them.

2. 3A Belfry Pirates (14-1)- Belfry officially staked their flag as the Kings of Eastern Kentucky for the second straight season and closed with their fourth straight Class 3A Title. The Pirates graduate arguably the greatest Senior Class in EKY History and for opponents it would seem they are finally vulnerable. Unfortunately for those hoping for the end of Belfry’s reign of terror, the Pirates still have plenty of firepower on their ship. A loaded backfield and a veteran secondary will help steady the Pirates while their line play matures.

1. 4A Johnson Central Golden Eagles (14-1)- Jim Matney’s unique personality has made his fair share of critics and detractors, so when Johnson Central polished off a dominating playoff run with a running clock victory in the 4A State Championship it had to feel extra sweet. The Eagles finally reached the elusive summit that had evaded them and now enter as the favorite to do it again. Johnson Central’s backfield is going to pile up yard sled by Junior Joe Jackson. Blake Gamble will be asked to fill the void left behind by Geordan Blanton as “Jack of All Trades”. Meanwhile DT Dawson Stalker returns to anchor a very stingy defense. The Eagles are big, deep, and confident.

Week 0 Game of the Week:
Lawrence County at Raceland- Raceland has had the edge in this very competitive series over the past few years. The Bulldogs will bring a veteran squad that should show improvement, meanwhile the Rams have big questions to answer.

Pre-Season Top 15 Players
15. RB/DB Brent Lovell, Rockcastle County
14. DB Devin Varney, Belfry
13. QB/LB Cole McWhorter, North Laurel
12. ATH Clay Shelton, Wayne County
11. QB Wiley Cain, Pulaski County
10. ATH Blake Gamble, Johnson Central
9. RB/DB Taveon Hunter, Belfry
8. WR/DB Josh Cornett, Somerset
7. RB Patric Edwards, Southwestern
6. WR/DB JP Vaught, Southwestern.
5. QB Cameron Sizemore, Corbin
4. RB Cory Smith, Hazard
3. FB/LB Derek Wellman, Belfry
2. DL/RB Tyrese Allen, Paintsville
1. RB Joe Jackson, Johnson Central