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Class 4A Football Notebook (9/8): The Status Quo


DragonFire
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OK, maybe the status quo is a little bit strong as there was some ranking movement, but for the second straight week the top 5 teams are the same, each team having taken care of their business advancing unscathed. 9 of the top 10 teams remained the same, as only North Oldham dropped out after a frankly stunning 38-0 whitewashing by Elizabethtown, the #8 team in 3A. The Mustangs managed only 14 passing yards and 163 total yards offensively against Elizabethtown. It was a stunning reversal as the predictions had been heavily on the side of North Oldham, state semifinalists last year.

 

Probably the most significant result in the class came right from the top. By a margin of 31-17, Bluegrasspreps voters picked Lexington Catholic, then the #3 team in 3A, to knock off top-ranked Johnson Central. That likely would have caused a change at the top, with South Warren waiting in the wings for the slightest waver. No worry, Johnson Central was more than up to the task in a 42-28 victory that was arguably not as close as the final score, as Johnson Central led 42-14 in the third quarter. The Golden Eagles racked up over 440 yards on the ground while not gaining a single one through the air. When you manage that kind of offense when the other team KNOWS you’re going to run it, that’s dominance and total control of the line of scrimmage. Connor Ratliff (113), Bryce Skaggs (111), and Bryce Workman (101) all gained over 100 yards on the ground. It’s a virtual certainty that Johnson Central will be unbeaten through their last two games of the year, and it will be all but impossible to knock them off the top line until then.

 

Ashland got a measure of revenge for an oh-so-close loss the year before to George Washington (WV). In 2014 the West Virginians knocked off Ashland by a score of 27-26 after a late touchdown return put them up. Different year, same score by Ashland, but they managed to survive a late two point conversion attempt that would have given the exact same score as the previous year. This time with 2:20 remaining in the game, Ashland got the stop it needed on the two point pass, and won 26-25. During the game, Quenton Baker became the all-time rushing leader at Ashland, and may top 5,000 career rushing yards in their next game. He toted it 29 times for 236 yards and 2 TDs against George Washington, just the kind of performance we’ve come to expect.

 

Scott and Hopkinsville continued their rapid rise of the ranks this week, with each team sliding up three spots. Scott knocked off Newport 61-6, and have still not allowed more than 7 points in a game. They’re averaging 35 points per game and an average margin of victory of four touchdowns. Hopkinsville, for their part, struggled a little early on against Fort Campbell, trailing 7-0. They reeled off 50 straight points to move to 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade. The Tigers are a team that have faced adversity that no program should have to, and the troubles have continued as Chris Jung of the Kentucky New Era reports that senior backs Vincent Brown and Rakeem Chambers are likely done for the year with separate injuries.

 

There are three games to really keep your eye on for the upcoming week. The first is the aforementioned Hopkinsville Tigers, as they face off against a Murray team that was humbled last week by Graves County. Hopkinsville rolled over Graves County week 1, but they’re already a different team now than they were then. The game also has trap potential as they have rival Christian County on deck. Second is John Hardin at Pleasure Ridge Park. The Bulldogs have rebounded nicely following their opening loss to South Warren, and perhaps the panic buttons have not been pressed quite as much in the past week. But PRP represents a good measuring stick for just how much progress has been made. The Panthers are ranked 9th in Class 6A, and so far this season the state’s largest class has absolutely owned the lower classes. Which brings us to South Warren hosting 6A #10 Central Hardin. The Bruins likely represent the largest hurdle between the Spartans and an unbeaten regular season. South Warren has been nigh-unstoppable, but have never faced a ranked team from the state’s largest class, and Central Hardin has already proven their mettle in a narrow loss to state power Boyle County, coached by South Warren HC Brandon Smith’s father Chuck. Central Hardin likes to run – South Warren LOVES to stop it.

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