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BluegrassPreps.com Class 4A Preseason Preview

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4A was quite possibly the most difficult class to get a handle on a season ago. 18 teams appeared in the top 10. Teams like Knox Central and Logan County weren’t exactly on the radar to begin with, but made incredibly strong runs as the season wore on to make believers of us all. Logan County in particular was a great story. It seemed that just about every time we thought we knew what was going to happen, some curveball was introduced. Late in the season, that curveball was an unexpected Johnson Central loss to Ashland, dethroning the team that had been #1 all year long. One Johnson Central got past Ashland in the rematch as well as their successor at #1 in Wayne County, we thought we knew that the back to back state title was in the bag against a Franklin-Simpson team they’d beaten senseless the season before. But Franklin-Simpson had other ideas. The Wildcats, a team that started 2-3, capped a ten game winning streak with a 35-21 win over the Golden Eagles, giving the new look 4A their fifth different champion in the last five seasons. There isn’t a single team in 4A that has won more than one title in the class since the move to six classes in 2006. But chances are, that is going to change after this year.


1. Johnson Central (2017: 12-3; State Runners-Up)

Head Coach: Jim Matney


4A has been very, very good to the Golden Eagles since the departure of Highlands and Covington Catholic after the 2014 season. After so many years of not getting past the second round because of the monsters in their way, they have now been to three straight state title games. It’s a testament to just how good they’ve been that while they are certainly not going to turn their nose up at a title and two runner-up finishes, they likely feel that they have left a title out on the field. Their 12-3 record last year was their worst record since 2012 when they were 9-3. 12-3, their worst record during that time. The Golden Eagles were prolific offensively a year ago, posting 43 PPG. They topped that mark in every one of their last 8 wins, but failed to score more than 21 in any of their three losses. The defense uncharacteristically allowed 17.5 PPG.


But enough about what was. The first thing to know is that RB Joe Jackson is back for his senior year. After suffering an injury in the first game of the year last season, it was thought he might return later on, but that never happened. That leaves him with a hunger to get back at it, and he will be a shot of adrenaline. It’s not often you get to re-add the experience of a player whose last full campaign went for over 2,000 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns. They do lose Blake Gamble, who was very good in his own right (1,907 yards and 25 TDs), but so long as he is healthy, Jackson is expected to go right back to being the workhorse. Gamble is the only offensive weapon who doesn’t return. JR QB Riley Preece will return to look to improve on a solid 1,284 yard campaign where he threw for 16 TDs and just 5 INTs. The #2- #4 rushers from last year return. The entire pass catching corps are back, including Seth Dalton, who led the team in receiving yards with 815 yards on 21 catches, 10 of them for TDs. They lose their tackles but return the entire interior of the offensive line. Guards Eddie Patrick, Noah Blankenship, and center Byron Pierce average around 6’3”, 280 lbs. BEEFY. In all, seven starters return on the offensive side of the ball, and they also lost only one backup from the two-deep chart from the state title game. I did mention that this was a team that scored 43 PPG last season – they are going to crush it offensively! Defensively the team took a step back last season, but should return to form this time around. They return 7 starters on that side of the ball as well, and every single backup from the two-deep. They do lose both Marcus Wells and Dawson Stalker off the defensive line, as well as the team’s leading tackler Tyler Tackett, but expect great things out of the linebacking corps which features Devin Johnson (90 tackles) and Matt Horn (Second team all-state, 89 tackles). With so much production coming back on both sides, it is fair to expect the Golden Eagles to absolutely bludgeon the opposition in most games.


Johnson Central opens with Capital (WV) as usual, who usually provide a tough test. That’s likely it in the challenging department until they close with Ashland and Belfry – both losses a year ago, but both at home. Home is where Johnson Central will be a lot this season. They feature seven games in front of their partisan crowd, and should they win district, they could conceivably play at home ELEVEN times prior to the state finals.


2. Franklin-Simpson (2017: 12-3; State Champions)

Head Coach: Doug Preston


The record may not have been quite as pretty as the 14-1 result the previous year, but the end result sure was sweeter for the Wildcats. Counting the loss in the 2016 state title game, Franklin lost four out of six games heading into week six a year ago. That included a frankly stunning three running clocks in those games. They didn’t look like a title contender at that point, but they would not lose again. Franklin reeled off ten wins in a row, averaging 43.2 PPG in those contests while allowing just 11.8 PPG, and were clutch when it was most needed. After falling behind 20-0 after one quarter to Hopkinsville, Franklin scored 35 in a row. After trailing entering the fourth quarter and again with just 2:41 to go, the Wildcats got a kickoff return to the six yard line and punched in the go ahead score against Collins en route to a 42-38 victory in the semifinals. And then in the finals, Franklin made sure you’d forget all about their drubbing in the previous year’s finals, never trailing on their way to leads of 21-0, 28-7, and 35-14 before settling in for a 35-21 win over Johnson Central, and their first state title since 1980.


Franklin will have to replace thirteen seniors off of that squad, including QB Rylan Thomas and one of their most versatile players in Saul Brady (1,126 yards rushing, 11 TDs, 3 INTs). Offensively, that’s most of what they lost. They return four offensive linemen, including Louisville commit Jack Randolph. Seven starters return, but the player that you should be most excited about is Tre Bass. Bass enters his senior year as one of the wings in Franklin’s Wing-T attack, after posting 1,457 yards on 104 rushes and 14 TDs last year. Do some quick math and you’ll see Bass averaged 14 yards per carry last year. Fourteen. Counting his receptions, he averaged a touchdown every 6.4 touches. He is absolute lightning on the field, a big play threat literally every time the ball is in his hands. He housed two INTs as well. Joining him in the backfield will be FB Carlos McKinney, who was more of a bruiser to the tune of 1,153 yards and 15 TDs on 181 carries. Experienced line, experienced runners are the best friend of a new QB. The news isn’t quite as friendly on the defensive side as only four starters return to a squad that allowed 17.2 PPG last year. Their top three in tackles from 2017 depart, and senior DE Collin Preston (99 tackles, 61 solo) will be expected to lead the line this time around. A lot of the backups on last year’s team do return, but many of them were already on the offensive side of the ball. Inexperience and depth will be challenging for the defense. They’ll likely take a few hits early on during the toughest part of their schedule, with road trips to Elizabethtown and Meade County (both losses a season ago), with a home game against bitter rival South Warren looming at the end of August. After that the sailing should get considerably smoother, as none of their final five opponents have managed a win over the Wildcats in their last three meetings. 7-3 is probably the floor for Franklin going into the playoffs, 9-1 the ceiling, and as it stands today, they are the favorite to return to a third straight title game.


3. Ashland (2017: 10-3; Region Runner-Up)

Head Coach: Tony Love


There was a lot to love last season from the Tomcats. They reached a second straight region final after they had previously failed to ever advance to that round in the six class system. They won their first district title since 2011, and grabbed their first win over Johnson Central since that same year, exorcising some demons of some close failures. Like 2016, you would not necessarily have thought after the first few games that the Tomcats were going to experience that success. A 1-2 start saw Ashland drop as low as 8th in the rankings, but it was a precursor to a nine-game winning streak which included the aforementioned win over Johnson Central as well as some crushing blowouts like a 67-0 win over Boyd County and 71-0 over East Carter (in back to back weeks). Ashland trailed just 35-27 to Johnson Central during the fourth quarter in their rematch before faltering late on their way to a 54-27 result. Still, all things considered, it was a solid year, leading into another expected solid year.


Fifteen seniors are gone from last season, none more damaging than Aroq Colburn. He led the team in rushing, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He accounted for over 1/3 of all receiving yards and touchdowns. That’s a big negative for the passing game, but the big positive is QB Braxton Ratliff returns for his third season as a starter. While the team tipped more back to a ground attack last year - as they were before he took the reins as a sophomore – he still posted a solid 1,745 yards through the air, posting a 58% completion percentage with 22 touchdowns and just 6 INTs. He was third on the team in rushing as well, just 11 yards behind Blake Hester, who returns at RB for his junior campaign. TE Russell Rogers (244 yards, 3 TDs) will look to pick up the slack for receiving in Colburn’s absence, as well as that of Isaac Caines (473 yards, 6 TDs), who will be out several weeks with a broken hand. Still, it seems likely this will continue to be the more classic 70/30 rushing split for the Tomcat offense. Defensively, standouts should be Hester in the secondary, defensive ends Caleb Skaggs and Ryan Bryant anchoring the ends of the line for their senior season, and LB Drew Fannin, the lone returner in the linebacking corps.


Ashland will look to get off to a better start this year than the past couple, taking their shots again at Harlan County, Raceland, and George Washington. Each has beaten them at least once in the last two seasons. Like most years, they are then expected to run the table until their machup against Johnson Central, though Greenup County gave them a game effort last season.


4. Knox Central (2017: 8-4; Second Round)

Head Coach: Fred Hoskins


Knox’s second year under Coach Hoskins was a return to form for the Panthers. After a disappointing 4-6-1 campaign in 2016 saw them exit in the first round, Knox rebounded with an 8-4 campaign. That included a regular season where their only losses came to Danville (undefeated 2A champions), Wayne County (12-2 4A state semifinalists), and Corbin (13-2 3A state runners-up). They averaged a strong 33 PPG prior to their last game of the postseason, and had big wins over district rival Rockcastle County and typically strong Franklin County. Knox was knocked from the playoffs in a 12-3 loss to Western that featured their lowest scoring and yardage of the year, but it’s fair to say that there was a good foundation laid.


One of the key components of that foundation was Brady Worley. His freshman campaign was a great success, posting 1,706 yards on 105/180 passing with 10 touchdowns. The multisport athlete helped bring almost perfect balance to the Panthers’ attack, with almost the exact same rushing and passing yardage gained (2,272 to 2,281). That contrasts to a 70/30 rushing lean in 2016. Despite splitting time at the position during portions of the season, he still finished 10th in 4A in per game passing. Worley is a cornerstone for the future of the Knox Central offense, and he has plenty around him. Three of the five starting offensive linemen return, and right tackle Brayden Roark is the oldest of that group, meaning the line will likely be intact for two more seasons. Ethan Mills will step up after the loss of Jermel Carton to graduation. Mills put up 644 yards on 91 rushes last season for an average of just over 7 yards per carry. Almost every member of the WR corps returns, headlined by Nick Martin (52 catches, 792 yards). Martin was 11th in 4A for receiving yardage per game in 2017. The corps is deep and experienced, which can be said of much of the team given that they graduated only six seniors. They did take a slight hit on the defensive side, losing three out of their front four on the line. However, they do return six starters to a team that led 4A in defensive yardage allowed. Tucker Holland is chief among those returning, leading the Panthers a year ago with 143 tackles – 110 credited as solo. He had six fumble recoveries on top of that. Dane Imel (7 INTs) and Blevin Campbell (5 INTs) headline a ballhawking secondary.


This could be a historic year for Knox Central. They will enter the season as slight favorite to win 4A Region 3, which matches District 4 and District 6 this year. If they were to win that region, it would be their first region title in the history of the school. A trio of games in October should tell a lot of the story as to how likely that is. They’ll host Wayne County on October 5th, in a game that may decide the district’s winner. On October 12th they’ll visit Franklin County, the slight favorite to win District 4. And then they’ll wrap up with a road trip to Rockcastle County in their district closer. Win all three, and they most definitely will enter the playoffs as favorites for a historic title.


5. Hopkinsville (2017: 6-7; Region Runner-Up)

Head Coach: Craig Clayton


There’s almost certainly no team in the state that has had the adversity that the Tigers have dealt with in the past few years. After tragically having a player die in practice in 2015, promising freshman Elijah Austin died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot at the midpoint of the year. The team at the time was just 1-6, suffering through a difficult schedule and a rocky offseason that saw the transfer of QB Jalen Johnson – the program’s all-time leading passer – and the decision not to play by Shorty Cager, their most dynamic athlete and leading returning receiver. Their loss on the field to Logan County just before Austin’s death condemned them to no better than third in the district, and it is easy to see where they could have simply called it a year. But the Tigers rallied for five straight wins, avenging their loss to Logan County in dominating 43-8 fashion, and led the eventual state champion Franklin-Simpson 20-0 in the second quarter before succumbing to the Wildcat onslaught. They may have had the most successful 6-7 ever with all they endured.


When simply considering who returned from last year, this rank may seem a bit premature. 16 seniors are gone from the 2017 campaign, representing 13 starting positions, including three two-way players. It does not seem to be a recipe for a top five ranking, and frankly, their record early on against the same tough schedule as last year may give pause to some. But the Tigers have shown to be closers in the past few years, and only Franklin-Simpson and South Warren have knocked them out of the playoffs during that time. That’s a pretty good pedigree. QB Javier Bland has a pretty good pedigree too, debuting with 2,148 yards passing and 22 touchdowns last year. It would be bold to say that the rising junior made everyone forget about Jalen Johnson, but he certainly eased the pain. The Tigers do lose their top three receivers from last season, but received a big boost in the transfer of Ellis Dunn, who had 42 receptions for 622 yards and 3 touchdowns a season ago at Christian County. Tashaun Barker (13 receptions 122 yards, 1 TD) also moved over from Trigg County. That’s a big boost for the offense which will operate behind an experienced line that replaces only center Wil Hawkins. A big point of focus this season should be to get the running game more established. It was missing in action in 2017, as Degenhardt led the team with just 390 yards. Jordan Hopson is the leading returning rusher with 73 rushes for 286 yards. The defense does not have as much to shout about, gutted to the tune of losing three of their front four, two linebackers (including team leader in tackles JaKevis Bryant), and a few in the secondary. LB Conner Lackey (49 tackles) and DE Denarius Barns are notable returning players. The Tigers are going to have to win some shootouts.


The schedule is the exact same as the one that Hopkinsville started 0-4 against last year. They open with South Warren, one of the 5A favorites, move right into Mayfield, the 2A favorites, before matching up with Caldwell County and Christian County, two teams that are expected to be in the top ten of their classes. It’s not an easy road. Following their bye week they’ll travel to Madisonville-North Hopkins, who dealt them a devastating 35-20 loss last season before a circled home game with Logan County that could decide the district.


6. Wayne County (2017: 12-2; State Semifinalist)

Head Coach: Shawn Thompson


Wayne County remained one of the most consistent programs in 4A in the 2017 season. They have posted double digit victories in five of their last six seasons, and have won their region in four of those six years. Last season’s two losses came to 3A champion Boyle County and 4A runner-up Johnson Central. But it’s that Johnson Central stonewall in the state semifinals that has ailed them the last three seasons. And with the loss of 15 seniors, they may find it difficult to overcome that obstacle, or bring home a fourth straight region title.


Offensively, the Cardinals will undergo an identity change. 4A player of the year Lorenzo Linsey is gone, as are their top three rushers. Braedon Sloan returns as leading rusher with 237 yards on 20 carries. Aubrey Weaver would be the team’s leading receiver returning, after posting 64 catches for 1,016 yards with 12 TDs a season ago, but may move over to QB in Linsey’s absence. That would leave the Cardinals replacing their top six receivers from 2017. The Cardinals will be boosted by three of five starters returning on the offensive line as they figure out their attack, but may return to a bit more of a running focus as they were before Linsey. Defensively, the secondary will be a strength. Weaver had three picks a season ago while playing on both sides of the ball, and DB Bryce Howard led the team with six INTs. Howard was also one of two of the team’s top seven tacklers from a year ago to return. The other is senior LB Chris Dunagan, who will be expected to carry even more after a campaign with 72 solo tackles. It’s a year of change for Wayne County, but Thompson has built a winning tradition, and they have an advantage that most teams in their region don’t – they know how to win in the playoffs. They’ll tackle an extremely tough early schedule, matching up against Freerick Douglas, Pulaski County, and Boyle County in three of their first four contests.


7. Logan County (2017: 11-1; Second Round)

Head Coach: Todd Adler


The greatest season in program history was the greatest story in the entire state last season, and earned Coach Adler coach of the year honors for the state. Logan County had lost 42 games in a row from 2012 through 2016, but after winning their last game of 2016, reeled off 11 in a row before falling to Hopkinsville in the playoffs. It’s frankly one of the most stunning turnarounds this state has ever witnessed, and included heartstopping wins over district rivals Hopkinsville (13-12) and Madisonville-North Hopkins (23-21). And they have the personnel for an encore.


A mere nine seniors depart off that transcendent team. The Cougars return every single skill player on offense, with nine starters coming back for a Logan County team that averaged almost 33 PPG. They do lose both their starting guards on the line, but return their anchor Caden McKinnis at the center position. McKinnis is a two-way player that is the returning district player of the year. Tyler Ezell completed 56.5% of his passes last season, posting 1,611 yards, 19 TDs against 11 INTs, and ran for 606 yards with ten scores. He is just a junior, as is his workhorse running mate in the backfield Gary Hardy. Hardy averaged 6 YPC while running for 1,261 yards and 9 TDs. Certainly Logan County can’t make the leap they made from 2016 to 2017, but the improvement this year should continue to be evident. Defensively the news is still good, though not quite as good. They lose a pair in the linebacking corps that were #2 and #4 on the team in tackles, as well as two off the defensive line. McKinnis was the team leader in tackles, and the entire secondary returns, though they were rarely tested. They allowed 17% of their season’s total passing yardage in their loss to Hopkinsville. The schedule remains Charmin-soft, so it is expected that they will have no less than 7 wins. Their games to circle are a home game on September 7th against rival Russellville, and then the critical back to back games in October at Hopkinsville (10/5) and home against Madisonville (10/12). They won’t sneak up on anyone this year, but they may not have to worry about that.


8. Madisonville-North Hopkins (2017: 7-5; Second Round)

Head Coach: Jay Burgett


In most ways, 2017 was a step in the right direction for Madisonville. They improved by three wins, advanced a round further than 2016, and earned a home game. But there is no doubt they will look back at their loss to Logan County as a missed opportunity for more. A win in that game would have given them a district title and homefield advantage for the entire playoffs. They led 21-14 at home with 5:15 left in the game, and still 21-20 with 3:40 to go. But they allowed an onside kick recovery and a fourth down conversion on the decisive drive in a 23-21 loss, dooming them to run into Franklin-Simpson in the second round. They watched #3 seed Hoptown go to the region title game instead. And they’ll have a battle to get back to the same position this year with both the Tigers and Cougars rated ahead of them.


The great news is that Madisonville’s offense remains more or less intact. They were a rushing powerhouse a year ago, averaging 284.75 yards per game on the ground. They should not step back from that at all, returning the duo of Jariah Hightower (1,528 yards, 15 TDs) and Aaron Miller (958 yards, 12 TDs). In all, the top five rushers from a season ago return from a team that dropped only 11 seniors. QB Hayden Reynolds wasn’t asked to throw much, attempting only 104 passes while completing 45 for 648 yards and 9 scores, but it never hurts to have the guy under center back for another campaign. Four starting offensive linemen return, with monster 6’6”, 300 lbs guard Roberto Cruz a standout. This team will make no bones about how they intend to beat you – running straight at you. Defensively, the team needs to improve, having allowed over 22 PPG last season. They’ll have to replace Hernandez and Reed off their defensive line, but return their linebacking corps as well as standout James Gilbert in the secondary. LB Krey Cunningham led the team in tackles last season with 78, and the lone returnee on the D-Line Blacke Moody was second with 67. In all, a majority returns defensively, and their improvement will be the key to how far the Maroons can go. Their schedule sets up slightly more favorably than their district rivals, with Hopkinsville visiting Madisonville after their brutal opening slate, and then a bye week preceding their other crucial district contest against Logan County on October 12th. It is likely that they’d be favored against any District 2 team in the playoffs other than Franklin-Simpson, but a top seed would go a long way towards real success in the postseason.


9. Greenup County (2017: 6-5; First Round)

Head Coach: Scott Grizzle


Greenup County failed to win a playoff game for the first time since 2014 a season ago, but the program has still continued to trend in the right direction. The Musketeers have had 6 wins or more in each of the last three seasons, after failing to reach that win total every season from 2003-2014. They’re not far removed from a winless season in 2011 and only avoided the same feat in 2012 thanks to a forfeit of what had been a 72-0 loss. And while they’ve struggled to hang with Johnson Central, they have shown great promise in their games against Ashland, giving hope that if things can just bounce their way, they might play up to a 2 seed.


There’s a whole lot to like from this Greenup team to continue their progression. Chief among them is Eli Sammons, one of the state’s best quarterbacks, fresh off a 2,432 yard campaign with 27 touchdowns. He’s just a junior entering his third year starting, meaning they’ll have the benefit of him in 2019 as well. He spread the ball out quite a bit a year ago, with five receivers logging 21 or more receptions. Of those, only Isaiah Greene graduated. Patrick Kelly led the team with 55 receptions for 726 yards and 7 TDs, and figures to lead the team again in his senior year. Dalton Halstead also returns at RB, posting 1,189 yards for 13 TDs a season ago. Workhorse running back, mostly intact WR corps, experience at QB – all checks. Offensively Greenup looks set. Defensively there are some holes on the line and in the secondary, but the linebacking corps should be a strength, led by Brecken Thomas. The Musketeers allowed over 22 PPG last season, something they’ll have to tighten up to contend.


10. Scott (2017: 8-4; Second Round)

Head Coach: Dan Woolley


Since they dropped to 4A for the 2015 season, their playoff runs have had one thing in common – they end whenever they run into Johnson Central. The Eagles suffered a blowout 64-16 loss to end the year at home against Johnson Central, but otherwise much more resembled their 2015 team than the two-win 2016 edition. A perfect 4-0 district record earned them two home games in the playoffs, and after a 2-2 start they won six of their next seven games, laying the foundation for 2018.


Scott graduated a relatively modest class of 10 from last season. The linemen on both sides were hardest hit, especially on the offensive line where they lost four of their front six. Defensively the line employed a bit more of a rotation, which should ease the pain of experience lost. Skill-wise they do lose Nelson Perrin, but Quincy Perrin returns at wingback. Likely the best player in the district, he rushed for 1,441 yards and 16 TDs last season, and he will be complimented by the return of David Patrick (67/414/9) at the other wing. Chad Ohmer keeps the backfield steady, passing enough to keep the opposition honest with just over 1,000 yards last season. Jared Kelsay is a standout defensively, with 80 solo tackles in 2017. Roughly half the starters return for Scott on each side of the ball. If the trenches come together, they should be favored to win the district and perhaps put together a region final run if the cards fall right.


Just Outside


11. Bourbon County (2017: 7-5; Second Round)

Head Coach: John Hodge


The Colonels could never manage to string together more than two wins in a row last season, but fell just 29-20 to eventual district champion Scott on the road. They’ll have that crucial game at home this year, which they might parlay into a title. Dalen Landrum returns at QB after posting 2,107 yards and 20 TDs last season, though his best WRs are lost to graduation. Thankfully, he’ll work behind a sizable offensive line to compensate, and he’ll have the services of Camarr Myers, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in 2017. Defensively they must make up for the loss of their top three tacklers, including Dalton Williams.


12. Franklin County (2017: 5-6; First Round)

Head Coach: Eddie James


Just nine seniors graduate from last season, but quarterback Jesse Thurman will look to have his team in contention for the district title. He threw for 1,419 yards and 13 TDs last season, and led the team in rushing as well with 586 yards and 6 scores. Tre Simmons is a player that the Flyers like to move around, and he combined for 1,263 yards on the ground and receiving. Franklin County will have a tall task in replacing Chad Holleran (147.5 tackles), but six of their top ten tacklers return, including promising sophomore Frank Turner. The linebacker was second on the team to Hollerand with 93 tackles, 58 of them solo. The Flyers were second in the district by a substantial margin last season (both above and below them), but with that experience coming back, it much more likely that they will run down Collins than that another team will catch up behind them.


13. Rockcastle County (2017: 8-4; Second Round)

Head Coach: Scott Parkey


The Rockets were hit hard by graduation, with 14 seniors departing from a roster that listed only 35 in the sophomore through senior classes. Critically, they return Jaden Payne, their best player on both sides of the ball. Payne posted 1,425 yards and 17 TDs on 198 rushes a season ago, and led the team in tackles with 45 solos. Rockcastle will have to figure out how to deal with the loss of seven starters on the defensive side and roughly half of what was essentially a seven man offensive line. That’s in addition to QB Brent Lovell and Holdan Barnett, the second leading rusher. There are definitely some question marks, but the Rockets have proven able to remain consistent thanks to a steady diet of running power, and they figure to do so again by leaning on Payne. It will be tough for them to catch up to Knox Central or Wayne County.


14. Taylor County (2017: 7-4; First Round)

Head Coach: Jason Foley


District 5 has somewhat been the red-headed stepchild of 4A, but with their cross bracket matchup with District 3 this season, the opportunity is there for Taylor County to make a run at a region crown. Like Rockcastle County, they graduated a sizable senior class relative to the size of their sophomore and junior classes (14 seniors, 22 combined in sophomore and junior crops). Unlike Rockcastle, they return a lot more at the skill positions on offense. Leading rushers Wes Oliver (1,004 yards, 18 TDs) and Tre Goodin (467 yards, 4 TDs) return, as does Grant McQueary (33/63, 451 yards, 5 TDs), who had the most attempts through the air from a team that had three players attempt more than 23 passes. Cameron Kosid (16 receptions, 282 yards, 2 TDs) and DeJhon Irvin (14 receptions, 224 yards, 2 TDs) are also back in the receiving corps. Logan Parker will anchor the defensive line, where he logged 80 tackles a season ago. The Cardinals have not won a playoff game since 2008 – a decade seems long enough.


15. Shelby County (2017: 7-5; Second Round)

Head Coach: Todd Shipley


The Rockets never make any secret of their offensive identity – they run the ball. A LOT. Last year they ran for nearly 2,600 yards while throwing for just 689. So it’s a bit of faith in their ability to replace players that the loss of Caleb Morehead’s 1,239 yards doesn’t send Shelby County out of the rankings. William Davis seems the most likely to step up for a Shelby County team that lost their top three rushers. Davis had 315 yards on just 45 rushes last season, posting a strong 7 yards per carry. He was the team’s leading pass catcher as well, with 172 yards and two scores on 15 receptions. With just two departures off the offensive line, the Rockets should remain offensively potent. The early season schedule is favorable to work out youth and inexperience, but Shelby County needs to be ready by September 21st, when they host Franklin County in a crucial district game.

Edited by DragonFire

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Great job DF!


I think Hopkinsville is the x-factor in 4A this year. If they play up to their talent level, they could disrupt the plans of the teams on the top line. Their schedule will certainly have them battle tested.

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Kevionte Turner doesn’t play for Knox Central anymore. He moved to Tennessee close to a month ago. That’s a big loss for the Panthers.

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Kevionte Turner doesn’t play for Knox Central anymore. He moved to Tennessee close to a month ago. That’s a big loss for the Panthers.


Thanks for the update! Definitely a big loss on both sides of the ball.

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Collins doesn't make the list? That is surprising. They have quite a few really good looking athletes.

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