For the first time since 2007, Class 3A will use a cross-bracketing procedure in the postseason. The KHSAA implemented this plan during the offseason but many are likely unaware who is playing who in the playoffs. This thread intends to outline the bracket and project favorites and contenders in each position. (Rankings listed are from the most recent Bluegrasspreps rankings)
District 1 vs. District 2
Favorite: #3 Elizabethtown
Contenders: #7 Caldwell County; #10 Paducah Tilghman
Look Out For: Larue County; Union County; Edmonson County
Elizabethtown has shown themselves to be the clear favorite in this region. The two-time defending region champion Panthers are undefeated thus far. Caldwell County has perhaps exceeded expectations while questions still abound concerning Tilghman. Larue, Union, and Edmonson are all undefeated.
District 4 vs. District 5
Favorite: #5 Lexington Catholic
Contenders: #6 Boyle County; #9 Fleming County
Look Out For: #8 Western Hills; Russell; Garrard County
It is hard to declare a true favorite in this region, what with traditional rivals Lexington Catholic and Boyle County having not yet played, but we'll give the nod to the Knights. Catholic wins over Madison Central and Lafayette were impressive and no one in this region is as good as the Covington Catholic club that demolished LexCath. Boyle County is certainly a contender and Western Hills may have the best running back in the state. Fleming County is a surprise but has some injury concerns.
District 3 vs. District 6
Favorite: #4 Central
Contender: #2 Belfry
Look Out For: Waggener; Lawrence County; Floyd Central
It probably is a two-horse race for this crown and the two horses are incredibly familiar with each other. Central and Belfry have met in five of the last seven state championship games, with Central winning three but Belfry claiming the last two. A matchup this season would be two rounds earlier in the regional final and, assuming they are both number one seeds, would be at Central. That's why I give the Yellowjackets an early edge, although Philip Haywood's Pirates won't be an easy out come November. Waggener is loaded with talent, while Lawrence County and Floyd Central have shown the ability to run the football.
District 7 vs. District 8
Favorite: #1 Corbin
Contender: Casey County
Look Out For: Bell County; Estill County
Corbin is the clear-cut favorite at this point, having recently secured the top spot in the rankings with impressive wins over Alcoa (TN) and Pulaski County. Casey County is right on the edge of the rankings and gave Corbin all they could handle for three quarters in last season's regional final. Bell County seems revitalized under coach Dudley Hilton, but we'll have to see where they are when the competition heats up. Estill County is probably the best team in an extremely weak District 7.
*-Reminder: Since 2017 is an odd year, if two teams with the same seed meet in the regional final, the team from the odd district would host.
Since 2017 is an odd year, the winner of Region II would travel to Region I, while the winner of Region IV would play at the champion of Region III. If the season ended today (fortunately for us it doesn't), Lexington Catholic would travel to Elizabethtown while Corbin would visit Central on Thanksgiving Friday.
How do you think it will play out?