Mar 29, 17, 09:57 AM #2The Watch List:
Belfry Pirates- Belfry has been the Beast of the East for a while now, but must replace a dominant Senior Class.
Johnson Central- The Eagles got over the hump and won their first State Title, will the loss of several key cogs trip up a talented squad?
Pulaski County Maroons- Pulaski got hot in the playoffs and made it to Bowling Green, they now must address life without Jake.
Hazard Bulldogs- Speaking of getting hot, the young Bulldogs peaked in November and nearly won the 1A Title. Do they get over the hump in 2017?
Corbin Redhounds- Corbin gave Belfry all they wanted for 3 Quarters then became another notch in the belt. Can Corbin get over the hump in 2017?
Wayne County Cardinals- Wayne got their Semi-Final re-match with Johnson Central but now probably wish they could forget it. With a solid core back do they close ground?
Rockcastle Rockets- The Rock kind of broke apart in re-entry with an early round loss. Can they build off their regular season success.
Southwestern Warriors- Those darn Maroons! Becoming a bit of a predictable experience for Southwestern to win the regular season only to see Pulaski advance in November. Can they flip the script?
North Laurel Jaguars- North Laurel has been a bit of a buzzword this off season and have stirred the pot, can they back it up on the field?
Paintsville Tigers- The tiny 1A school that keep producing D1 talent. Tyrese Allen is the latest in line, but can Paintsville catch Hazard with Kent Phelps gone?
Ashland Tomcats- It was a rebuilding year but the Cats should be significantly improved. Is the gap still far too wide to catch Johnson Central?
Pikeville Panthers- The Panthers have a solid QB and some solid skill. Will Pikeville compete or was Hazard's playoff win a changing of the guard?
Raceland Rams- The Rams want their time to come. Numerous 1A programs have reached Bowling Green in recent years but Raceland remains an odd man out.
Russell Red Devils- Belfry has had Russell's number but with talent turning over on Pond Creek can the Devils find a way to make the rivalry competitive once more?
Leslie County Eagles- A 9-1 regular season and competitive playoff push coupled with some young talent returning may have the Eagles in Dark Horse status in 2017.
Mar 29, 17, 10:00 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 04
Mar 29, 17, 11:08 PM #4Until someone knocks them off, Belfry's still the top dog in EKY, as far as I'm concerned. I think JC's nearly eye level with the Pirates and Corbin continues to close the gap heading into 2017.
In my neck of the woods, Russell and Raceland have to replace a lot of key pieces and experience. Ashland's biggest obstacle, personel wise, is developing linemen on both sides of the ball.
Despite losing a talented senior class that included Nick Conley, Landon Brewer, Drey Boehm, Maxx Blackburn, and Evan Ison, just to name a few, the optimist in me thinks Russell will be fine. The incoming seniors have been very successful as a group and there looks to be no shortage of depth in the younger classes.
Raceland must replace one of the best QBs, RBs, WRs, and two way lineman the Rams have seen in recent years. The cupboard is far from bare, but there are enough question marks that they could be a candidate to drop off the list, at least early on.
Ashland's got its share of skill kids, headed up by dual threat QB Braxton Ratliff. But, the Tomcats went from having one of the best offensive and defensive lines in EKY in 2015 to having both units be a liability last year. A significant improvement in the trenches could make Ashland a fixture in the top 10 next season.
Mar 30, 17, 11:50 AM #5Some players to keep an eye on:
LB/FB Derek Wellman
HB/DB Taveon Hunter
DB Devin Varney
RB Joe Jackson
ATH/DB Blake Gamble
DL Dawson Stalker
QB Wiley Cain
RB/LB Cory Smith
QB Bailey Blair
QB Cameron Sizemore
ATH Chase Estep
DB Cameron Maquet
LB Chris Dunagan
LB/TE Clay Shelton
RB/DB Brent Lovell
RB/DE Holdan Barnett
RB/DB Patric Edwards
WR JP Vaught
QB/LB Cole McWhorter
ATH Matt Sizemore
RB/DB Jose Rodriquez
DL/FB Tyrese Allen
QB Braxton Ratliff
QB Wyatt Battaile
TE/LB Tyler Dixon
QB Cameron Jones
WR Tyler Kidd
QB/DB Seth Conn
ATH Raynoch Thompson
ATH Ty Simmons
ATH Donovan Arthur
RB Brandon Troxell
RB/DB Seth Johnson
RB Dalton Cook
QB Alec Poore
RB Jayden Neace
HB/DB Logan Beckler
QB Josh Crump
QB Cameron Stacy
WR Josh Cornett
Mar 30, 17, 12:42 PM #6I think next year's junior class at Corbin is the group that won the D1 title as 8th graders. You've gotta figure that they're going to make their presence felt this year. Maguet and Estep are probably just the tip of the iceberg in that class.
Also, I'll be interested to see if JW Phelps can pick up where his brother left off at Paintsville.
And finally... This might be a bit of a homer pick, but I think Russell's Ryan Stump is one of the top pass rushers in EKY. As the 2016 season went on, he became more adept at dropping back into coverage as well. He'll be a force to be reckoned with in 2017 and is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Mar 30, 17, 11:17 PM #7
As a Fleming County fan, I believe Zac Alexander is worthy of being on this list. He is a 6'4 WR and LB that is garnering a lot of attention from schools this off season.
- Join Date
- Jun 10
Mar 31, 17, 11:06 PM #8