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Bluegrasspreps' Class 3A Pre-Season Preview


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Bluegrasspreps' Class 3A Pre-Season Preview

Since the KHSAA made the decision to move to six classes prior to the 2007 season many have viewed Class 3A as the weakest class. Sure Central was dominant and Belfry was terrific, Breathitt County had some success, Paducah Tilghman won a title out of seemingly nowhere, and there were a handful of other good clubs. But now the winds of change are blowing.

Welcome to 3A Boyle County and Lexington Catholic. Same to you Bardstown and Caldwell County. You'll be joining a Belfry program that may be better than it has ever been and a Central team that just did something it had never done before - lost a state title game. There's Paducah Tilghman with their Wing-T offense. And you may remember Russell and their old Wing-T? Yeah, they don't do that anymore. The old guard is still good with Corbin and Bell County and schools like Garrard County, Elizabethtown, and Adair County are knocking on the Top 10 door.

Bottom line - it's going to be tough. Below is how Bluegrasspreps thinks Class 3A looks as we kickoff the 2015 season.

Top Ten

1. Belfry Pirates (2014: 13-2; 3A State Champions)

Head Coach: Philip Haywood

There is quiet chatter around Pond Creek that this could be the best team ever to wear the red and white at Belfry. For a program with four state titles, seven state runner-up trophies, and a regional title in every season since 2002 except for 2009, that’s a bold statement. But could it be true?

Belfry returns seven starters on each side of the ball. Missing, however, is Austin Hatfield, a starter at both fullback and linebacker, who ran for 1,600 yards and 26 touch downs. Look for junior Andrew Fletcher (290 yards, 2 touchdowns) and sophomore Derek Wellman to both see an increase in carries this season. The Pirates will also look to junior Noah Corbett to execute the offense. Corbett started much of last season but was hampered by a late-season ankle injury and missed the playoffs. Corbett is an extremely athletic playmaker that hasn’t always been present in past Belfry quarterbacks. If he can master the offense and stay healthy, the sky is the limit.

Defensively, Belfry returns three linemen, two linebackers, and two defensive backs. Rayquan Horton, 6-2 285 junior defensive tackle, was dominant in the state title game and finished the season with 114 tackles. College coaches will be beating a path to the mountains to see him this season, but there are other talented Pirates on the defensive side. Nate Sanger, Cole Bentley, and Austin Hall all should help lead what will likely be the best defensive line in the state. If Belfry can fill the Hatfield-sized hole at linebacker, this unit can be great.

2. Lexington Catholic Knights (10-4; 4A State Semifinalist)

Head Coach: Mark Perry

Lexington Catholic returns to Class 3A after a successful eight-year run in 4A that saw the Knights win a state title and play for at least a region title every year. Lexington Catholic hasn’t played in 3A since the KHSAA adjusted to six classes, but they are moving into a district that is familiar. Boyle County, a long-time Catholic foe, will be in District 4, as will Garrard County and Western Hills, both of which were in a district with Lexington Catholic in the late-1990s (and Garrard and Catholic go back to the mid-90s as Class A district rivals).

Offensively the Knights have always been known to put points on the board and this year should be no different. Coach Mark Perry, in his second season at Lexington Catholic, must replace WKU signee Reese Ryan and the competition for that position appears to be wide open. Sophomore Greg Couch may have the early lead in the competition after taking most of the reps in the spring, but those reps came in part because Andy Thompson was playing baseball and Henry Clay transfer Legend Brumbaugh had not yet been declared eligible.

Whoever takes the reins at quarterback will have a terrific running back in senior Jaylen Jones (1,660 yards, 17 TD) to hand off to, along with top-notch receivers in JJ Ogbogu (915 yards, 13 TD) and Donovan Morris (625 yards, 8 TD). Andy Thompson, the potential quarterback, also had a terrific year catching the ball last season (876 yards, 6 TD) and could return to the receiver position.

The defensive side has the most questions, with several new starters and some others that were pressed into service last season due to injury. Lexington Catholic allowed 26 points per game last season and will need to see improvement from those new defenders in order to make a strong run at a state title.

3. Boyle County Rebels (11-2; 4A Region Runner-up)

Head Coach: Chuck Smith

Year two of the second Chuck Smith era promises to be better than his first “year two” when the Rebels went 2-8 in 1993. That team didn’t have an all-around athlete like Josiah Robbins under center. Robbins passed for 1,860 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and ran for another 592 yards and 6 scores. Look for those numbers to improve, especially since Boyle will have to replace last year’s leading rusher and top two receivers.

Boyle County defenses under Chuck Smith and coordinator Jeff Hester have always been strong and this season should be no different. The top three tacklers, Hagen Ellis, Eric Brown, and Mack Cox, all return and will anchor what should be a strong front seven.

Boyle moves back to 3A this season, a class where Boyle won three of their seven state titles. Moving with the Rebels are long-time rival Lexington Catholic. The Knights have ended Boyle’s season three times in the last four years. Boyle also rejoins a district with local rival Garrard County. The Rebels and Lions have not met on the football field since 2000.

4. Central Yellowjackets (10-5; 3A State Runner-up)

Head Coach: Ty Scroggins

Perhaps no school in Kentucky has benefited more from the KHSAA’s decision to move to six football classes in 2007 than Louisville Central. The Yellowjackets spent much of the late-1990s and early-2000s as a contender annually stuck behind someone better. The moves to six classes saw Central proceed to win five state titles and lose once in the championship game over the eight year period. Now Class 3A has been realigned and reignited with two powerhouses moving into the same region. Will Central remain among the big boys in Class 3A?

On offense it will be interesting to see how Central improves. Last year’s offense at times seemed disjointed and Coach Ty Scroggins couldn’t rely on the superstar running backs like he’s had so often in the past. Senior TeaWonn Ligon (429 yards, 7 TD) should be the feature back for Central this season. Senior Myron Norfleet will again run the offense and will look to improve on last year’s numbers (1,214 yards, 9 TD).

Defensively, Central’s strength has always been their ability to line up and defend nearly everyone. Their speed and strength have managed to slow down Belfry in past state title games. Will they be able to ward off more multi-dimensional offenses like Lexington Catholic and Boyle County in the earlier rounds of the postseason?

5. Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado (7-6; 3A Region Runner-up)

Head Coach: Mike Rogers

Coach Mike Rogers returns for a second season at Paducah with a large and talented senior class in tow. Last year, in their first year in Rogers’ Wing-T offense really began to click in district play. It could be argued, however, that that improvement was due in part to poor opponents and the Blue Tornado was shut out against South Warren in the regional final.

Senior quarterback Jessie Dunigan (1,692 yards, 20 TD) may be the best player in the district and should excel in his second year under Rogers. Dunigan will again have senior Sayveon McEwen (742 yards, 10 TD) to throw to. Will junior Aaron Draw (482 yards, 9 TD) emerge as a marquee back for Tilghman?

Last year Tilghman was small and weak in the trenches. Can Rogers and company develop a line that can consistently compete in a class that will be dominated by strong line play? If Tilghman can win the district they will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

6. Russell Red Devils (11-3; 3A State Semifinalist)

Head Coach: T.J. Maynard

You probably wouldn’t have said the Russell Red Devils were sputtering before last season, but the days of state championship contention in Flatwoods had begun to get smaller in the rearview mirror. Prior to last season, however, legendary coach Ivan McGlone and was replaced by Raceland coach TJ Maynard who promptly led the Red Devils to their first district championship since 2007 and a state semifinal appearance where they fell to Belfry.

Now the question is can Russell do more? Realignment sees Russell in a district almost exactly the same as last year, but in a region that includes powerhouse Belfry and up-and-comer Lawrence County. Russell will rely on dual-threat quarterback Jacob McKee (1,085 yards, 13 TD passing/1,010 yards, 9 TD rushing) to led an offense that looks quite different from McGlone’s old Wing-T.

7. Corbin Redhounds (11-2; 3A Region Runner-up)

Head Coach: Justin Haddix

When your season ends on Sportscenter, you’d like it to end with a victory. Unfortunately for new coach Justin Haddix and the Redhounds, two wild pass completions by Louisville Central saw Corbin’s season end in the regional championship game, a game Corbin all but had in the bag prior to the fourth quarter.

This year’s product should again put smiles on the faces of faces in Campbell Stadium. Corbin returns six starters on both sides of the ball. There are questions on offense as to who will take the reins at quarterback. Sophomore Cameron Sizemore, who threw for 88 yards and one touchdown in very limited playing time in 2014, is likely the favorite under center but reports are that competition for the spot is very strong.

The defensive side should see another strong unit led by Harley Lambert and Coby Cima, as well as linebacker Tucker Jewell. Corbin’s roster will have plenty of players but will be short on experience beyond the starting lineup. How well Haddix develops his reserves will play a major role in whether this team can win the region and possibly contend for a spot in Bowling Green.

8. Bell County Bobcats (9-3; 3A Second Round)

Head Coach: Wayne Mills

Sometimes drawing a new line can cure a whole lot of problems. Bell County didn’t move – Log Mountain is still there (and looking much better with the recent addition of Field Turf, by the way). But an adjustment in Class 3A district boundaries sees past nemesis Louisville Central no longer in the same region. Not only that, former nemesis Boyle County has moved back to 3A but they also aren’t in the same bracket as Bell. So there is no reason to think Bell County can’t be playing again on Thanksgiving this season – unless Corbin becomes the new roadblock.

Bell County fell to Corbin on a missed two-point conversion last season, costing the Bobcats a district crown. This year’s team is loaded with seniors and returns numerous starters on both sides of the ball. Versatile senior Chase Woolum (564 yards rushing, 3 TD; 182 yards receiving, 5 TD) should help to fill the void left by departing running back Austin Caldwell and will also anchor the defensive unit. Treyton Humfleet (582 yards, 9 TD) and Corey Swanner (284 yards, 4 TD) will also be threats in the backfield behind returning quarterback Peyton Collett who threw for 925 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014.

9. Garrard County Golden Lions (9-3; 3A Second Round)

Head Coach: Jerry Perry

Year one in round two of the Jerry Perry era in Lancaster was an unmitigated success for eleven and a half weeks, right up until a critical injury in a playoff loss to Bourbon County sent the district champion Lions home early. This year see the Lions return almost all of their skill players and a good segment of their linemen, but also sees two powers in Lexington Catholic and Boyle County join the district.

Garrard County returns two rushers who both cleared the 1,000 yard mark last season – juniors Jacob Foley and Devan Logan. A third running back, senior Mike Redmon, was the team’s leading rusher prior to being hurt in the fourth game of the season. All of those runners will be receiving the ball from senior Slade Crutchfield (771 yards passing, 10 TD; 322 yards rushing, 9 TD). Crutchfield’s top receiving target, senior Nick McCollum (582 yards, 7 TD) also returns.

On the defensive side of the ball, look for senior Davian Logan (6-3, 340) to improve on his all-state season last year. Also returning is linebacker Clay Shuey (6-2, 200) who recorded 119 tackles last season before being hurt just before halftime in the playoff loss to Bourbon. If Garrard can develop along the offensive and defensive lines, which will help move the ball in the type of offense Perry loves, this team could be a sleeper pick in District 4.

10. Lawrence County Bulldogs (9-4; 3A Region Runner-up)

Head Coach: Joey Cecil

If only Louisa wasn’t so close to Pike County you might be looking at a Lawrence County team that could make some serious noise in Class 3A. Lawrence competed well with Belfry in the regular season and early part of the playoff game but couldn’t match the size and depth of Belfry along the front lines.

Senior Grant Kiser (1,409 yards passing, 18 TD; 1,047 yards, 11 TD) returns under center and should again be a major threat with both his legs and arm. Junior Timmy Dalton (568 yards, 6 TD) will again be Kiser’s main weapon on the outside. Lawrence will rely on senior Cole Mosley (788 yards, 11 TD) running the football but will need to develop a breakaway threat.

Just Outside

11. Elizabethtown Panthers (7-4; 3A First Round)

Head Coach: Mark Brown

Elizabethtown was a major unknown for much of last season, winning games they should win and losing games they should lose. A first round playoff exit at the hands of Wayne County left many unsure if the Panthers were good or not, but there should be no questions this season. Coach Mark Brown’s 279 wins are no fluke and look for Elizabethtown to be the favorite in a much more friendly district.

12. Adair County Indians (9-3; 3A Second Round)

Head Coach: Travis Gay

How do you follow up the best season in school history? Bring back a ton of starters on both sides of the ball and do it all again in 2015. Adair County made tremendous progress last year but showed they were still far behind South Warren and Paducah Tilghman. With a new district that includes Elizabethtown, will quarterback Chance Melton (1,024 yards, 14 TD) and running back Jordan Lasley (1,070 yards, 17 TD) be enough to get the Indians deep in the playoffs?

13. Caldwell County Tigers (11-2; 2A Region Runner-up)

Head Coach: David Barnes

How will Caldwell respond after losing record setting quarterback Elijah Sindelar and running back Jaylen Boyd? If they answer is “fine,” then that will likely be because of the emergence of Dee Cain. Cain has primarily been a receiver for the Tigers but expect him to carry the ball more this season and perhaps even take some snaps behind center.

14. Bardstown Tigers (9-3; 2A Second Round)

Head Coach: David Clark

Bardstown has never played as high in class as they will this year. The move up will place the Tigers in a district with traditional power Louisville Central and across the region from Lexington Catholic, Boyle County, and Garrard County. Jarrett Dennison is the most explosive returner for Bardstown having led the team in receiving in 2014. Dennison is also a defensive standout and will be joined on the tackling side by standout Voshon Livers.

15. Trigg County Wildcats (7-5; 3A Second Round)

Head Coach: Coby Lewis

Trigg County finished last season strong and did so with several key players on the sidelines due to injury. How junior quarterback Tyreke Wilson improves and whether the Wildcats can find skill in the backfield will go a long way in determining whether Trigg can make some noise.

Next Five

16. Union County Braves (6-5; 2A First Round)

Head Coach: Josh Boston

Will a return to 3A be helpful or a hindrance? Some of the Braves’ best years were in 3A from 2007-10, but the new district is stout.

17. Breathitt County Bobcats (4-7; 3A First Round)

Head Coach: Kyle Moore

Coach Kyle Moore played a ton of youngsters last season and while they gained experience, the Bobcats also missed out on a district title for the first time since 2006. Now will those kids be able to convert experience to wins? The district is favorable.

18. Henry County Wildcats (7-4; 3A First Round)

Head Coach: Jason Spencer

Wildcats spent much of last season just on the edge of the Top 10 then were destroyed by Bell County in the first round. Bodie Clark returns but whom else? The new district isn’t awful, but Henry is behind Central and Bardstown.

19. West Carter Comets (5-6; 3A First Round)

Head Coach: Kevin Brown

This is a program that is improving but do they have enough? Offense is led by Braden Brown and Zach Walker and should put up big numbers but can they keep the numbers on the other side of the scoreboard small?

20. Casey County Rebels (5-6; 3A First Round)

Head Coach: Sam Marple

It’s been a slow build for Sam Marple in Liberty but the Rebels seem to be getting better. Last season’s season finale win over Adair County was a nice feather in the cap, but Bell and Corbin remain in the district and Casey still seems far behind those two.


1. Rayquan Horton, DT – Belfry

2. Josiah Robbins, QB – Boyle County

3. Dee Cain, ATH – Caldwell County

4. Jaylen Jones, RB – Lexington Catholic

5. Drew Yeager, OL/DL – Boyle County

6. Cole Bentley, TE/DT – Belfry

7. Davian Logan, DL – Garrard County

8. Jessie Dunigan, QB/DB – Paducah Tilghman

9. Hagen Ellis, OL/LB – Boyle County

10. J.J. Ogbogu, WR – Lexington Catholic

11. Aaron Duncan, LB – Central

12. T.J. Dotson, RB/DE – Belfry

13. Jacob McKee, QB/DB – Russell

14. Berneil Cecil, RB/DB – Elizabethtown

15. Nick McCollum, WR/DB – Garrard County

16. Sayveon McEwan, WR/RB/DB - Paducah Tilghman

17. Jordan Lasley, RB – Adair County

18. Timmy Dalton, WR/DB - Lawrence County

19. Braden Brown, QB/DB – West Carter

20. Tyreke Wilson, QB/DB - Trigg County

21. Chase Woolum, RB/LB - Bell County

22. Harley Lambert, DE – Corbin

23. Nick Conley, RB/DB – Russell

24. James Fletcher Collins, QB/DB – Breathitt County

25. Peyton Collett, QB - Bell County

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Without a doubt this will be the most exciting class to keep up with this season. Look at the Pedigree of the programs near the top...:scared: Belfry, Lex Cath, Boyle, Corbin, Central, Bell, Russell and Tilghman all are KY Football Bluebloods and add in a lot of other solid programs like Garrard, Lawrence, E-Town, Caldwell and others...this is going to be a fun year!

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The most excited I have been for a 3A season in a long time.


It also seems as if the top dogs in 3A this year all have awesome schedules as well.


Russell's schedule isn't exactly murderer's row..butlook at some of the Non-District foes of the other top teams




Johnson Central X 2

Cabell Midland, WV (WV's largest school and traditionally Top 5 best teams in the entire state)

Knoxville Catholic, TN (traditionally one of the top 15-20 team in the state overall)


Knox Central X 2


St. X


Central Hardin X 2

Danville X 2

Anderson County





Southwestern X 2

Mayfield X 2

McCracken County



Ironton, OH



Boyle County

Bell County

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3A is going to be awesome this year. AWESOME!!!!!


Boyle County and Garrard County will be better than people think.


Boyle County/Garrard County will be an awesome game.



I sure hope so. I hope this grows back to the rivalry that it once was. Makes things fun in this area. I think Boyle/Lincoln/Garrard/Danville should play each other every year. Since I'm on the chain gang at GC, it will sure be fun to hear my good friend Jeff Hester screaming on those sidelines once again.

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HOLY COW, this class is STACKED!!!


The way I see it, the top four are loaded and then there's a bit of a gap between them and everyone else. PT, Russell, Corbin, Bell Co. and a few others should have great seasons, but I'll be very surprised if this year's champion doesn't come from the top four.


Belfry plays the most challenging schedule in 3A this year, IMO. I count five school's(NCC, Pikeville, CAK, Cabell Midland & Johnson Central) on their schedule that are expected to contend for titles in their respective class/state. The Pirates might very well 3-peat this year, but can they finally achieve that elusive unbeaten season? I think that schedule hands them at least one loss.


The Boyle/LexCath/Garrard district has to be among the best in the state, regardless of class. One of those teams will go no further than the second round.


I'm looking for big things from my Red Devils this year. Unfortunately, I'm afraid they won't make it out of the region. They have the potential to be a better team this season, but not advance as far in the playoffs.


I'm eager to see if Corbin takes a big step forward this year, or is all that young talent I've been hearing about still another year away?


Among the players listed, I think Dalton has a chance to be the biggest mover by season's end. He gives Lawrence Co. one of 3A's premier weapons.

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I agree about Dalton


Belfry's defense was ON POINT once they became healthy in November and they shut down some very talented offensive players. Dalton though got his and was the most dynamic skill player on the field.


I actually think Lawrence sandbagged with Dalton a little last year until they played Belfry and spent most of their season trying to define themselves as a running team. LC has a very good QB in Kiser but their fortunes rest on how many ways they can get the ball in Dalton's hands.


Russell is going to be a very fine team. I agree it will be a tough go having Belfry in their region...but the Devils may be one of the very few 3A teams who can actually match up with the size Belfry brings. The key will neutralizing that monster Horton if the two teams match up. Horton disrupted the Devils line to a degree I am not sure has ever happened in that program's proud history.... If I know Maynard though he is reminding his guys on the Line of that every week.

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lol at 3A West. 11 of the Top 16.


Stap'em up.


Going to be an absolute bear... It is almost unfathomable the path that a team like Bardstown or Garrard County... legitimate Top 15 teams who would be Top 10 in most classes this year... will have to possibly see in the playoffs


Imagine this if you are Garrard and a 3 seed:

@ Bardstown

@ LexCath

@ Central/Boyle

@ Tilghman

vs. Belfry


You may literally face 5 Top 10 teams and 4/5 of the Top 5 teams without playing at home.

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Going to be an absolute bear... It is almost unfathomable the path that a team like Bardstown or Garrard County... legitimate Top 15 teams who would be Top 10 in most classes this year... will have to possibly see in the playoffs


Imagine this if you are Garrard and a 3 seed:

@ Bardstown

@ LexCath

@ Central/Boyle

@ Tilghman

vs. Belfry


You may literally face 5 Top 10 teams and 4/5 of the Top 5 teams without playing at home.




Whoever comes out of the West...they just need to give them a State Championship trophy, b/c the fact of the matter is...they have already won it a couple times as is.


Reminds me of Danville in '98. Lost to Caldwell County (who unbeknown to most outside of WKY was stacked, especially at the skill spots with their QB and RB both going to Murray State) in the finals, but Danville had already beaten the '97 Champ in Bourbon County in the 2nd Round, Lexington Catholic who was still the best team in AA that year during the region finals and Breathitt County in the semis (who was the '95 and '96 AA Champs). So, they had beaten the previous three year champs of the class and the best team (LexCath) en route to Louisville.

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