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BluegrassPreps.com Mr. Football Watchlist (10/18)


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"The Natural" Concludes His Nine Week Run Atop The Box Office

Let's go ahead and get the bad news out of the way… reports indicate that Mitchell Berger's athletic career in a Beechwood uniform has come to a premature end. The Tigers put away a scrappy Lloyd Memorial side, but lost their Mr. Football candidate in the process. His beginning and end against the Juggernauts occurred at polar opposite ends of the spectrum. He got things rolling with a pair of touchdown runs on his first two carries, netting 100+ yards, and closed it out with an apparent season ending knee injury. The fallout from this extends far beyond the scope of an individual award. It weakens Beechwood's grip on its position as class 2A favorite. They may very well end up hoisting another trophy at season's end, but they'll have to do it without the services of their workhorse ball carrier, high impact linebacker, and virtually automatic kicker/punter all rolled into one. 

This is never how you want it to end. It's a sobering reminder of the ugly side of a beautiful sport and how abruptly it can all be taken away. On the bright side, there's nothing to suggest Berger won't make a full recovery and enjoy a successful athletic career at the collegiate level. Post recovery, he has a roster spot waiting for him on EKU's baseball team. That's right, the Mr. Football candidate will play college baseball. That's how it works out sometimes for a natural.

 

5A's Fantastic 4

No class has been repped in the watchlist this year more than 5A and it's been the most decorated of the six classes over the last nine years, producing four Mr. Football winners. The unfortunate demise of Berger's season takes a king off the chess board and greatly increases the chances that 5A could make it five in ten years. A few of the class's best and brightest had standout performances this week. Among them:

- Woodford County has stared down the top two quarterback contenders for Mr. Football in consecutive weeks and lived to tell about it. After handcuffing Jacob Jones in the second half two weeks ago, Wofo took Kenyon Goodin's best shot in Shelbyville. The Titans fared better under Goodin's guidance, pushing Woodford into the fourth quarter behind 363 total yards and four touchdowns, plus two interceptions from his safety position. It goes down as a loss for Collins, but a win for Goodin. This was arguably his best game of the year when factoring in the opponent. 

- At this point, it's not a matter of if Chandler Godby takes over the game, but when. With Pulaski County looking flat and trailing Bell County by two scores, he caught touchdowns less than a minute of game action apart - at the end of the first half and beginning of the second - to pull the Maroons even. He added a third score later on and clinched the win with a last minute interception. The three touchdowns put him within striking distance of the single season state record and he strengthened his hold on the triple crown with a 5/121/3 line on Log Mountain. 

- It was dark by kickoff in Park Hills, but there was no mistaking what time it was on the turf at Griffin Stadium. Seven years of frustration for Highlands were washed away when the clock struck "Noon" for Covington Catholic. Charlie Noon burned the Colonels for two touchdowns, including a kickoff return that put the Birds in front for good. He's put the "special" in special teams this year, contributing huge chunks of hidden yardage in the return game.

- As Owensboro toiled away in scheduling purgatory for the better part of a month, Kenyata Carbon's Mr. Football campaign was briefly suspended. It's back in full swing after he posted 164 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries against Graves County, including torching the Eagles for a 65 yard all-out sprint to the endzone. This pushed him over the thousand yard mark for the season at ten yards a pop.

 

Thriving In The Long Shadow Of The 'Birch' Tree

The lineage of Pikeville running backs may be unrivaled in the mountains, but Hazard has its own rich history of ball carriers to be proud of. Max Johnson is the latest back to etch his name in Bulldog lore. If you're reading about Johnson for the first time, it's likely for one of two reasons: 

1. The watchlist has egregiously overlooked him until now.

2. He's operating in the shadow of Blake Birchfield.

In defense of the watchlist, #1 and #2 go hand in hand. The Pikeville star had a sizeable head start on his Hazard counterpart after a monster junior campaign and Birchfield has done nothing lately to lose ground. It's up to Johnson to make up the stagger. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon, so time is on his side. He also has a head to head encounter with his district rival this week. He's posted two games of 200+ yards in the last three weeks, including 238 yards and four touchdowns in his most recent outing against Sayre. He accounted for all of Hazard's scores and salted the game away with a late fourth quarter interception. 

Speaking of Blake Birchfield...

Russellville completed the longest recorded execution walk in history - some two plus hours from Russellville to Somerset - to meet Pikeville on neutral ground. When they arrived, the executioner was wearing #12 in maroon, and he proceeded to swing the axe with extreme precision and efficiency. Only one of his four carries failed to reach paydirt and he coasted to 112 yards. A far cry from the 30 totes required of him to best Russellville for the 1A crown last year.

 

Odds And Ends

- Most years, Berger's injury would leave a void in the "Mr. Versatility" category, unlikely to be filled. That's not necessarily so, this season. Max DeGraff assumes the mantle from here on. He could just as easily make All-State at kicker as he could wide receiver, an unusual combo. Performances like he had last week against Bourbon County - 122 receiving yards and 7/7 on extra points - are why he ranks third in the state in receiving yards and top ten in points after touchdown. DeGraff's kickoffs seldom fail to reach the endzone and he's tied for second in the state for touchdown receptions. The receiver he's tied with?....

- Manual coach Donnie Stoner referred to Jakob Dixon as a "bad dude" following the Crimsons' come from behind win over PRP. The Panthers utilized Dixon in the short and intermediate passing game to work the sticks, resulting in a Julian Edelman-esque 12 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Players Highlighted This Week

Mitchell Berger (RB/LB/K/P, Beechwood)

Season to date: 121 rushes for 1,119 yards and 21 touchdowns | 19 receptions for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns | 1 forced fumble and 2 recovered | 19/19 on extra points | 1/1 on field goals

 

Kenyon Goodin (QB/DB, Collins)

Season to date: 99/169 for 1,410 yards and 17 touchdowns with 4 interceptions | 896 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns | 35 tackles | 3 interceptions and 1 pick-six | 1 forced fumble and 1 recovered 

Highlights: vs. Wofo

 

Chandler Godby (WR, Pulaski County)

Season to date: 72 receptions for 1,307 yards and 23 touchdowns | 3 interceptions, including 1 pick-six | 1 kick return touchdown

Highlights: vs. Bell County

 

Charlie Noon (ATH, Highlands)

Season to date: 42 receptions for 667 yards and 8 touchdowns | 190 rushing yards | 2 kick return touchdowns

Highlights: vs. CovCath

 

Kenyata Carbon (ATH, Owensboro)

2021: 102 carries for 1,003 yards and 18 touchdowns | 124 receiving yards and 1 touchdown | 1 interception

Highlights: vs. Graves County

 

Max Johnson (ATH, Hazard)

Season to date: 140 carries for 1,189 yards and 13 touchdowns | 19 receptions for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns | 64 tackles  | 6 interceptions | 1 scoop and score 

 

Blake Birchfield (RB, Pikeville)

Season to date: 124 carries for 1,112 yards and 19 touchdowns | 1 interception

 

Max DeGraff (WR/K, Lexington Catholic

Season to date: 37 receptions for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns | 35/36 on extra points | 4/5 on field goals

 

Jakob Dixon (WR, Pleasure Ridge Park)

Season to date: 45 receptions for 797 yards and 12 touchdowns

Highlights: vs. Manual

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  • Jumper_Dad changed the title to BluegrassPreps.com Mr. Football Watchlist (10/18)

TY Bryant of Frederick Douglass Football out of Lexington. 

🏈 ESPN’s #1 Safety prospect
🏈 16 quarters played (total of 4 games)
🏈 148 rushing yards 
🏈 6 rushing touchdowns 
🏈 11 yards per rush 
🏈 2.3 rushes per touchdown 
🏈 2 punt return touchdowns 
🏈 1 forced fumble 
🏈 7 tackles 
🏈 2 tackles for loss (TFL)
🏈 1 interception 

This is a problem for the kids that play at Douglass because of their schedule that they don’t have any control over only 1 game per year. Really hurst them in putting up huge numbers. It’s great that colleges can see the film and not just look at stats. I really think this kid is going to shine out for the Wildcats. 

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16 hours ago, 16thBBall Fan said:

TY Bryant of Frederick Douglass Football out of Lexington. 

🏈 ESPN’s #1 Safety prospect
🏈 16 quarters played (total of 4 games)
🏈 148 rushing yards 
🏈 6 rushing touchdowns 
🏈 11 yards per rush 
🏈 2.3 rushes per touchdown 
🏈 2 punt return touchdowns 
🏈 1 forced fumble 
🏈 7 tackles 
🏈 2 tackles for loss (TFL)
🏈 1 interception 

This is a problem for the kids that play at Douglass because of their schedule that they don’t have any control over only 1 game per year. Really hurst them in putting up huge numbers. It’s great that colleges can see the film and not just look at stats. I really think this kid is going to shine out for the Wildcats. 

Douglass also has a variety of options to make plays on both sides of the ball. It breeds competition. Everybody's going hard for that loose ball or tipped pass. There's so much talent around Bryant, he has to work harder than most for his slice of the pie. 

This might surprise anyone that reads the watchlist weekly, but I'm not a huge numbers guy at heart. Stats are essential to the watchlist and they're the easiest way to represent a good or bad game to people that didn't watch it, but numbers alone don't paint the whole picture of a player's impact. 

I've always been partial to the eye test. It should at least be half of the equation. You have to actually watch a player week after week, specifically against their best competition, to accurately judge their worth between the lines. Realistically, no one is going to do that. Despite streaming becoming more widespread, it's still not going to happen at the high school level. Even Heisman voters aren't watching every snap of every game.

Players like Ty Bryant suffer because of that. If we're focusing on numbers alone, he's been left in the dust at this point. But the Douglass star can finish with a postseason flurry. They're favored to play for a title, and as we saw last year, what you do on championship weekend can swing the vote. In this case, last impressions are more important than first.

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16 hours ago, MaddenCurse44 said:

Simon Kenton Sr. RB Jayden Lawson has played 3 games and 1 qtr in the first game of the season. His stats are 77 rushes 721 yards 10 tds.

Lawson has a lot of ground to make up. The next two games will allow him a chance to do just that. He needs to capitalize. 

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2 hours ago, DanvilleFan said:

Has there even been a Mr. Football who wasn't able to finish the season due to injuries?

Not to the same degree as Berger, but Kash Daniel missed his last game at Paintsville in 2015 nursing an injury. 

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45 minutes ago, DevilMayCare said:

Not to the same degree as Berger, but Kash Daniel missed his last game at Paintsville in 2015 nursing an injury. 

Kash was a beast. He and I graduated the same year. My teammates and I would watch his highlights week to week and ask each other “how is he the same age as us?”. 

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Travis Egan should now be put back into the conversation where he should have been all along. The complaint against him all season was strength of schedule and now he just had a career day playing both ways in a prime time 6A football game against Male and won. He should be thrust into the top of the conversation. 

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18 hours ago, BlueRaider said:

Travis Egan should now be put back into the conversation where he should have been all along. The complaint against him all season was strength of schedule and now he just had a career day playing both ways in a prime time 6A football game against Male and won. He should be thrust into the top of the conversation. 

Travis is a True Athlete!!!  Kid is a quality QB with strong passing numbers. He also can do damage running the ball. Has played some Defense with 9 tackles and 1 Interception.  If you like stats here are his numbers:

Rushes - 67 for 486 yards. 7.3 yards per carry. 11 TD.

Passing - #1 ranked QB in 6A. 125 of 194 for 64.4% completion rate. 1758 yards. 19 TD. 195 yard per game.

*

He has led Bullitt East to a 8-1 record this season. On a 7 game winning streak. BE Defeated Male last week while Travis played both sides of the ball.

As far as an Athlete goes, he plays Basketball and runs Track. With no training he stepped on the track last year twice and split 49 seconds on the second leg of a 4 x 400 relay.

*

If BE makes a deep run in the playoffs, there is no doubt he should be considered for Mr. Football. 

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