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3A Notebook: Easy as A,B,C


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Adair, Bardstown, and Casey Proving Winning is Easy as A,B,C


Five schools in Class 3A have made it to mid-September without a loss. Two of those were no surprise, as #1 Belfry and #2 Corbin have earned their preseason rankings by knocking off a number of quality teams from multiple classes. The three other undefeateds, however, may have caught a few by surprise. Adair County, Bardstown, and Casey County have combined to start the season 13-0 and there is potential for more wins and postseason success as the year progresses.


Adair County has begun the last two seasons with long winning streaks so this year's five straight wins to open the season doesn't come as a surprise to those who follow Class 3A football. Adair started the 2014 season with six straight wins and began 2015 with another seven straight. This year's Indians, who will host Kentucky Country Day this Friday, have a new coach, Clay Stephens, but many of the same names from the past. Quarterback Chance Melton has thrown for 718 yards and ten touchdowns with only one interception through five games. Melton's favorite target is receive Cameron Lasley, who has caught all ten of the touchdown passes. The Adair running game has been very balanced, with Melton running for 331 yards while Lonnie Grant has ran for 353 and Jordan Lasley 232. Adair's bugaboo the last two seasons has been a superior district opponent (South Warren in 2014, Elizabethtown in 2015), which kept them from winning a district title and sent the Indians on the road in the second round where they fell by wide margins to Paducah Tilghman and Caldwell County, respectively. With Elizabethtown having graduated a significant number from last season and the rest of District 2 struggling to keep up, this could be the year Adair County wins their first district crown in school history.


Bardstown, meanwhile, has won their first four games for the first time since 2014 and with a win this Friday can be 5-0 for the first time since 2012. The Tigers, ranked among the top 20 programs in Kentucky history, have won 21 district titles and four state championships in their illustrious history, but haven't been district champions since 2009. This year saw Bardstown win their opener over a ranked 4A Spencer County club and then defeat Elizabethtown this past Friday. Bardstown will play two consecutive road games to start their district campaign, traveling to Henry County this Friday and to Waggener the following week. A home date with Central also looms on October 14. Any district title will certainly be earned.


Finally, Casey County is off to their best start since 2002 when they won their first five games. New coach Steve Stonebraker inherited a team full of offensive firepower and has put it to good use, with the Rebels scoring 43.3 points per game. Casey quarterback Breece Hayes has been fantastic thus far, completing an astounding 78% of his passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns without being picked off a single time. The Rebels are spreading the wealth, too, with eight players having scored at least one touchdown this season. Casey will look to remain undefeated this weekend when they travel to Warren Central High School to face Ballard Memorial, before playing district games with Bell County and Jackson County.


Corbin Outlasts the Weather and Southwestern


With about fifteen minutes left before kickoff of Friday night's much anticipated showdown between 3A #2 Corbin and 5A #6 Southwestern a lightning storm blew in, delaying the kickoff for nearly an hour and fifteen minutes. When the game finally commenced, Corbin (5-0) marched the length of the field and Dylan Brock put the Redhounds up 6-0 midway through the first. Southwestern would respond immediately when speedster Patric Edwards took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 78 yards, accounting for the Warriors' only touchdown on the night. While Corbin dominated the entire first half, they were unable to score again and Southwestern went to half up 8-6.


The second half saw Corbin continue to dominate defensively when seeking to move the ball on offense against the stout Southwestern defense. Quarterback Cameron Sizemore would run a touchdown from 20 yards out in the third quarter to make it 14-8 and would score again with 3:38 left in the fourth to set the final score at 20-8. Corbin held Southwestern to 123 yards of total offense on the evening.


Belfry Dominates Pikeville


Two years ago Belfry traveled to Pikeville and lost 29-20, one of only two blemishes on a championship season. The return visit to Pikeville would prove to be much more one-sided as Belfry cruised to a 56-13 victory. Belfry scored five times in the first quarter and a half, with five different Pirates (Cameron Catron, Taveon Hunter, Devin Varney, Austin Woolum, and Derek Wellman) crossing the goal line. Belfry had played three games so far this season and each game had a running clock. Interestingly, after scoring the fifth touchdown, Coach Philip Haywood chose to kick the extra point and take a 35 point lead instead of going for two to make it 36, which would have started the running clock. Perhaps Haywood was thinking his starting unit needed more repetitions.


Belfry (4-0) now must travel to Knoxville Catholic, a 4A school in Tennessee considered among the top five teams among all classes in the Volunteer State. They'll follow that with a home game against Cabell-Midland of West Virginia, a top 10 team in Class AAA (West Virginia's largest class) and the only team to knock off Belfry last season. While Belfry has been fantastic thus far, it will be interesting to see how they measure up against some of the best Kentucky's neighboring states have to offer.


Around the Rankings


#3 Lexington Catholic (1-4) fell at home to Madison Central, 27-14. The Knights have lost four straight games, all to quality opponents, but have seen improvements on the defensive side in the last two weeks.


#4 Caldwell County (2-3) won for the second week in a row, beating Henderson County 35-6. Quarterback Shane Burns threw for 311 yards and three scores, two to Jameer Riley.


#5 Boyle County (2-3) waited out a long storm before sealing the deal against 4A #10 Collins, winning 49-30. The Rebels seem to be hitting their stride on offense, having scored over 40 points each of the last two weeks.


#8 Waggener (3-1) pitched a second consecutive shutout, this time toppling Atherton 38-0. Quarterback Larry Harper was 14-of-20 for 213 yards and five touchdowns on the night.


#9 Russell (3-1) scored ten more points against Boyd County than they had scored in their first three games combined, whipping the Lions 37-0. The Red Devil defense continues to impress, having allowed only 20 points total in four games.


#10 Garrard County (3-2) had to ride out a storm, too, before knocking off East Jessamine 34-22. Golden Lions running back Jacob Foley ran for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the win.


Extra Points


Moore moved to 4-1 on the season with a 42-6 victory over Iroquois. The Mustangs, who will move to Class 4A next season, have won two nail-biters, a blowout, and a forfeit on the season. Quarterback Rae Von Vaden has led the way with 755 yards and seven touchdown passes this season.


Western Hills sealed the Franklin County championship on Friday evening with a 55-28 victory over Frankfort. This year marks the first time since 2009 that Western Hills (4-1) has beat both county rivals, Frankfort and Franklin County, in the same season.


Powell County, who won District 7 last season, picked up their first victory of the 2016 season with a 28-20 win at Lewis County. Powell (1-3) has back-to-back home games with Estill County and Morgan County to start district play.


Three to See

(Each week the 3A Notebook will preview the three best games featuring Class 3A teams for the coming week)


1. Belfry at Knoxville Catholic (TN). Belfry has dominated Kentucky competition but now must make the almost four hour trip to Knoxville to face the undefeated Fighting Irish of Knoxville Catholic. This should be the first chance for Belfry's starting unit to play an entire game this season.


2. Corbin vs. Mayfield @ Lindsey Wilson College. Two of Kentucky's best, one from eastern Kentucky and the other from the west, will meet roughly halfway for the second year in a row. Corbin and Mayfield are both 5-0 and Mayfield has won four consecutive state championships (3 in Class 1A, 1 in Class 2A).


3. Waggener at Central. Many have wondered if this would be the year Central's ten straight district championship streak would come to an end. The Yellowjackets are 0-4 on the season, albeit against a brutal schedule. Waggener is 3-1 and boasts several high profile college recruits, but were routed by Knox Central in their only game against a team with a winning record.


Just One More

(Tired of the same teams every week? Want to go off the beaten path for a 3A game this Friday night? Each week we'll look at an under-the-radar matchup to watch in Class 3A)


Knott County Central at Breathitt County. To the 3A Notebook's knowledge, Knott County Central (3-1) has never defeated Breathitt County (0-4). This year's Patriots, coached by former Breathitt assistant John Chapman, appear to have the upper hand behind quarterback Cameron Jones' 1,020 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. This game should also go a long way in determining which team in District 7 will host a playoff game in November.

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