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2011 Kentucky High School Football Preview - Class 3A


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1. Central - Coach Ty Scroggins has a unique recipe for success. Start with a horde of talented freshman and sophomore Jimmy’s & Joe’s. Inject some key upperclassmen. Add a load of discipline and fundamental coaching. Provide “tough love” development by scheduling seven 6A teams. Then rebuild your team’s confidence by cruising through your 3A district and playoffs. With ten sophomores and two freshmen starting, the Yellowjackets went only 1-6 against 6A opponents, but then steamed through each of their 3A opponents, without a loss. It was their third championship in the last four years. Mr. Football candidate, Anthony Wales returns, after romping for 2,994 yards and 37 touchdowns. Returning QB Tajh Milliken will have two excellent 6’-3” receivers to target. In addition, OL/DL Jordan Thurman (6’-3’’, 290) has transferred in from St. Xavier, and will help out on the lines. Lookout 3A: with almost everyone returning, the Yellowjackets have upped the ante on their recipe by adding experience. Can you say, “four out of five?”

 

2. Bell County - The sidelines on Log Mountain will have a new look this year, as Dudley Hilton is no longer calling the shots for the Bobcats. Wayne Mills has moved down the road from Knox Central and taken over a Bobcat machine that has been purring like a kitten in recent years. Will Mills be able to pick up where the legendary coach left off? They drop down to Class 3A, finally escaping the grasp of their nemesis, Boyle County. Mills has running back Cory Davenport returning, after a breakout junior season; however, replacing quarterback Ben Madon will be a tough chore. Junior Ryan Collett will attempt to take over the backfield slot left vacant by the graduation of John Dudley Hilton. Senior Eric Miller headlines a defense that recorded four shutouts last year and allowed only five opponents to reach double figures. The drop in class may be coming at a good time for the Bobcats, especially if the transition to a new coach gets off to a rough start. Then again, the playoff path that formerly included Boyle County has now been replaced with one that includes the likes of Paducah Tilghman and Central, which may mean an even tougher road to Bowling Green.

 

3. Paducah Tilghman - The Tornado's last four seasons have produced an unlikely state championship and shown them to be the only team in the old 3A capable of posing a consistent challenge to three-time state champion Central. Tilghman again has a speed-laden club, headlined by receiver J.D. Harmon (a state champion in track), who is drawing plenty of Division I interest. If new quarterback Tyler Presnell, a transfer from Lone Oak, lives up to his billing, the Tornado will be able to spread the field and exploit one-on-one matchups, and James Hill (a transfer from North Carolina) could emerge as a big-play running back. Defensive end DeCardia Key, cornerback Darius Spivey-Nunn and linebacker Shaquille Jordan lead a small, but quick defense that swarms to the football.

 

4. Belfry – For the last couple of years, the Pond Creek Nation has looked towards 2011 as the best chance for their Pirates to compete for a state championship. The 2010 team was the youngest in recent memory, and they stumbled a few times, limping to a 6-4 regular season record. In the playoffs, they righted the ship and overachieved their way to a fourth state championship appearance in eight years. But the ship went down on the rocky shores of Bowling Green, as they were blasted by the guns of a far superior Central team. And it wasn’t even close. Can the Bucs shake off that loss and compete with the best teams of 3A in 2011? They return 14 starters, including nearly all the skill positions, but they will need to patch a lot of holes in both the offensive and defensive lines. By season’s end, they will be battle tested. They’ll play in the toughest 3A district, and face non-district battles with 6A Henry Clay as well as 4A powers, Johnson Central and Ashland. The Pirates hope that will ready them well enough to face the eastern half of 3A and get them back to the finals. There, looming large, will likely be the winner of the three-headed monster that is Central, Bell County and Paducah Tilghman.

 

5. Mason County - Mason County has won 38 games in the past four seasons, but has only four playoff wins to show for it. The Royals haven't advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2003. Head coach David Buchanan and his young, but talented, squad will try to end that streak. No team in Class 3A may have benefitted more from the new alignment than Mason County, who will likely have only Russell standing in the way of a region title. Seniors Josh Harris and Tyler Black could play a number of positions, including quarterback, where the graduation of Neal Pawsat has left a huge void. The combination of talent and a new district should mean deeper playoff runs than what Mason County has seen in recent years.

 

6. Sheldon Clark - Sheldon Clark has made a nice turnaround in the past few years, but the loss of 16 seniors, including the quarterback, could mean some rebuilding for head coach Shawn Hager. The main offensive weapon returning for the Cardinals will be 1,100-yard rusher, Kristian Skyles. The biggest losses were on the line, where Sheldon Clark is hoping some young talent will mature quickly. While Sheldon Clark has upgraded their schedule, they still share a district with their nemesis, Belfry. How quickly the young talent produces will determine if Sheldon Clark is a factor in 3A this year.

 

7. Corbin - Steve Jewell’s Corbin Redhounds return two starters on offense and three on defense from a squad that fell one game short of reaching the Class 2A title game in 2010. The Redhounds will move up to Class 3A, along with a newly aligned district — joining rival Bell County, Wayne County, Casey County and McCreary Central. Corbin has been dominant in district play, dating back to the 2001 season. The Redhounds are riding a 45-game district win streak, which also includes ten consecutive district championships. Tailback Brady Foley will be Corbin’s top returning player on the offensive side of the ball, while Mitchell Frederick and his team-high seven interceptions returns in the secondary.

 

8. Fort Campbell - The Falcons are one of several new additions to a Class 3A that has beefed up in overall depth. When Fort Campbell went on their recent state title run, it was a common belief that the Falcons were head and shoulders above the other 3A finalists; so 2011 will tell us a lot. The loss of Mr. Football, their offensive coordinator, and a ton of leadership contributed to the three-time Class 2A state champs slipping to a disappointing 5-7 last year. However, the Falcons have everyone they expected back from last year’s team, plus a couple of newcomers who could make a difference. Quarterback Aaron Hills accounted for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns last year, and he welcomes back his top three receivers from a season ago. The Falcons also have some experience returning up front, led by junior Koty Hix. Realignment has bumped the Falcons into the same 3A district as Paducah Tilghman and Trigg County, which means they will likely meet one of them again for the region title.

 

9. Lawrence County – A lot of questions are being asked about the Bulldogs, who went 21-4 over the last two seasons, and won three playoff games in Class 4A. But many of those wins came against a soft schedule. The program underwent a coaching change, and running back Caleb Bentley went down with a knee injury. The Bulldogs will face early challenges from Ashland, Prestonsburg and Perry Central, which will prepare them for a move into one of 3A's better districts. Marshall commitment, Tyler Combs anchors the offensive line, but Bentley's loss puts more of a burden on quarterback Hayden Kiser, who threw for 20 touchdowns a year ago.

 

10. Breathitt County – In 2010, Breathitt County's 8-5 season went about the way you would expect. They beat the teams they should have and struggled against the better teams. After losing just three starters on each side of the football, the Bobcats could make a long playoff run. The new Class 3A alignment has dropped Bell County to the west. Quarterback Richard Trent proved to be a dual threat last year, and should benefit from the return of William Collins, Ryan Cox, and Josh Fletcher at the skill spots. The main issue for Breathitt County will be up front, where they must replace three starters. Expectations in Jackson this year are higher than they have been in a while. And with their toughest region competition in District 8, the Bobcats could make a strong run for their fourth state title.

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8. Fort Campbell - The Falcons are one of several new additions to a Class 3A that has beefed up in overall depth. When Fort Campbell went on their recent state title run, it was a common belief that the Falcons were head and shoulders above the other 3A finalists; so 2011 will tell us a lot. The loss of Mr. Football, their offensive coordinator, and a ton of leadership contributed to the three-time Class 2A state champs slipping to a disappointing 5-7 last year. However, the Falcons have everyone they expected back from last year’s team, plus a couple of newcomers who could make a difference. Quarterback Aaron Hills accounted for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns last year, and he welcomes back his top three receivers from a season ago. The Falcons also have some experience returning up front, led by junior Koty Hix. Realignment has bumped the Falcons into the same 3A district as Paducah Tilghman and Trigg County, which means they will likely meet one of them again for the region title.

 

Good assessment, thanks for posting. I know that this FC Falcon fan is ready for some football......and seeing them compete at this level!

 

Later.

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