District 1 Seeding
Union County Braves (3-4)
Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado (3-3)
Trigg County Wildcats (3-6)
Webster County Trojans (2-4)
District 1 Storylines
One of the more surprising results in Class 3A came when Union County routed Paducah Tilghman, 49-7, on October 16. After four competitive losses against high quality opponents to start the season, the Braves ended the campaign with three district victories. Union opens with Webster and with a win would host in the second round.
Youth and inexperience have been bugaboos at times for Paducah Tilghman. Freshman quarterback Jack James has had both positive and negative moments this season, passing for eight touchdowns but also five interceptions. The offense struggled in consecutive outings against Mayfield and Union County, scoring a combined thirteen points. Tilghman hasn't played since October 16.
District 1 Prediction
Union County is the favorite but Paducah Tilghman has more big game experience. Union hasn't been past the second round since 2008, while Tilghman was a quarterfinalist last season. Expect a much closer matchup in the second meeting, but Union County prevails again.
District 2 Seeding
Taylor County Cardinals (7-1)
Glasgow Scotties (5-2)
Adair County Indians (2-3)
Hart County Raiders (1-4)
District 2 Storylines
It was a slow start but fast finish for Taylor County. Fresh off a state semifinal appearance in 2019, the Cardinals struggled with Green County in the opener and fell to Mercer County the next week, before reeling off six consecutive wins. Taylor will again ride running back Wes Oliver (1,382 yards, 18 touchdowns); however, quarterback Ethan Coghill has been impressive as well, passing for nine touchdowns on the season.
Glasgow isn't as talented as last season but the Scotties have still managed five wins in seven outings. Offense was a problem early for Glasgow. Back-to-back forty plus point games to end the season gives Glasgow something to be excited about. They'll open with Adair County, a district opponent twice postponed during the regular season due to Covid.
District 2 Prediction
Taylor County should have little trouble with Hart County in round one and should be favored in a second round meeting with Glasgow. Taylor ran for over 200 yards as a team in the first meeting and passed for three touchdowns, to boot.
District 3 Seeding
Elizabethtown Panthers (8-0)
Bardstown Tigers (6-1)
Larue County Hawks (4-2)
Thomas Nelson Generals (1-6)
District 3 Storylines
Elizabethtown could be the best team in Kentucky that no one is talking about this year. Ross Brown took over the head coaching duties from his father, Mark, in the offseason and has compiled an undefeated first season. Offense has been a juggernaut, averaging 45 points per game. The defense had been nearly as dominant before giving up 41 points in the regular season finale with North Bullitt.
Bardstown and Larue County square off in what should be one of the best first round matchups in Class 3A. Bardstown won big in the first meeting, but several turnovers in the third quarter by Larue let a close game get out of hand. Bardstown quarterback Brady Clark has been magnificent this season, passing for 1,176 yards and 24 touchdowns in seven games. The seventh game, however, was a nightmare performance against Elizabethtown on October 24. Can the Tigers shake off the stink of that performance or will the stench linger, inviting Larue County to pull an upset victory?
District 3 Prediction
Elizabethtown is the favorite and any result besides a Panther district championship would be a surprise. The RPI number for E'town is through the roof with the Panthers set to host any postseason game they play in. But remember last year when Elizabethtown beat Bardstown in the regular season only to fall in the playoffs?
District 4 Seeding
Mercer County Scotties (6-1)
Christian Academy-Louisville Centurions (4-2)
DeSales Colts (3-2)
Henry County Wildcats (4-4)
District 4 Storylines
Mercer County coach David Buchanan has never shied away from a challenge. After an opening night loss to Boyle County, his Titans posted impressive victories over Taylor County and Christian Academy-Louisville. However, with Covid rampant, numerous games in District 4 were not played. Because of that, plus a favorable RPI, gave Mercer the top seed and a playoff home opener with Henry County.
Christian Academy-Louisville will host DeSales in a game that could not be played in the regular season. Covid caused nightmares for DeSales and kept the Colts off the field for the better part of a month. When DeSales returned, they romped over Western Hills. CAL, meanwhile, has won three straight games since a late-September loss to Mercer. DeSales won last year's playoff meeting, but CAL has won three straight before 2019.
District 4 Prediction
The RPI isn't kind to DeSales but the talent is absolutely there in spades. Look for the Colts to win two road games in two weeks and roar into the quarterfinals. It is almost assured this team won't play a home game this postseason. It is quite possible, however, that they'll be playing for a state championship.
District 5 Seeding
Rockcastle County Rockets (4-2)
Bell County Bobcats (4-3)
McCreary Central Raiders (3-2)
Garrard County, Estill County, and Jackson County each opted out of postseason play
District 5 Storylines
One of the more unfortunate districts in Kentucky gave us surprises nearly every week. Rockcastle County bested longtime rival Bell County on October 2, which ultimately locked up home field advantage for the first two rounds. There will be no first round for Rockcastle, however, as three teams chose not to participate in the postseason. Garrard County canceled their season after four games due to Covid issues; Estill County made the team decision to hang it up after a regular season in which the Engineers played no district games; Jackson County provided one of the best moments of the season when they won at Shawnee in a game played amidst the strife of the Breonna Taylor situation in Louisville. Shawnee had numerous opponents choose not to come to Louisville, but Jackson County coach John Hallock took his Generals to the River City for the first of what hopefully will be a long runner city-mountain rivalry.
Bell County, state runners-up in 2019, are far from the offensive machine of last season. When the offense clicks, the Bobcats win. But in their three losses they've managed a total of just seven points.
District 5 Prediction
Rockcastle County won in the regular season and will host Bell County in the second round. However, when we last saw the Rockets they were being routed by Lincoln County and they've played just once since October 9. Look for Bell County to reverse the first meeting with a close playoff victory.
District 6 Seeding
Fleming County Panthers (3-3)
Mason County Royals (4-3)
Pendleton County Wildcats (4-4)
Powell County Pirates (2-4)
District 6 Storyline
One year after losing do-everything quarterback Jonathan Maher to graduation, the Panthers again find themselves in the top perch of District 6. The effort was collective, with a balanced rushing and passing attack. Fleming should be favored over Powell County in round one, but the first meeting only an eleven point game.
Mason County seemed primed to take the district's top seed this season but fell to Fleming County, 7-6. Mason's four wins are against low-rated clubs, but one of those was an easy victory over Pendleton County, who the Royals will meet in the first round. And congratulations to Pendleton County, making back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since going three years in a row between 2007-09.
District 6 Prediction
Whichever team advances from District 6 will be a huge underdog in the quarterfinals. That doesn't make the goal of a district title any less inviting, though. Expect another classic between long-time rivals Fleming and Mason, with Fleming County again advancing on a squeaker.
District 7 Seeding
Ashland Tomcats (6-0)
Russell Red Devils (6-2)
East Carter Raiders (4-2)
Greenup County Musketeers (2-3)
District 7 Storylines
Ashland has turned in one of the most dominant regular seasons in years in Class 3A. Stunted by a late start due to Covid, the Tomcats won all six regular season games by an average of nearly forty points per game. Running back Keontae Pittman has been the star, rushing for 744 yards and 14 touchdowns behind a terrific offensive line.
Russell had their moment on October 16 against Ashland and made an absolute mess of the situation, falling 41-7 to the neighboring Tomcats. Russell would lose again the next week before righting the ship in the season finale at Raceland. Running back Nathan Conley, who missed the Ashland game with an injury, was back against Raceland, scoring two touchdowns. If he's healthy, Russell is a completely different team.
District 7 Prediction
If Conley is back to his full health, then Russell is much more likely to compete with Ashland. However, the Tomcats seem to be very good this season. With a monster RPI, Ashland could be looking at a home game with Belfry in the state semifinals. It's all in front of the Tomcats for their first state championship since 1990.
District 8 Seeding
Belfry Pirates (5-3)
Lawrence County Bulldogs (3-1)
Pike County Central Hawks (4-4)
Magoffin County Hornets (3-3)
District 8 Storylines
It isn't vintage Belfry. The line isn't as good and the fullback position has been questioned. But it is still Belfry and it is still November and it is still Philip Haywood so pick against the Pirates at your own risk. Losses have come against Pikeville, North Hardin, and Johnson Central - each state championship contenders in their respective classes. Isaac Dixon has been a superstar, rushing for 1,290 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. Miami (OH) commit Brett Coleman has been great, too. Belfry should have no trouble in round one with Magoffin County, but a huge shoutout to the Hornets who will make their triumphant return to the postseason for the first time since 2014.
The is no truth to the rumor that Lawrence County and Pike County Central are playing on Thursday instead of Friday because they know it will take until Friday night to finish the game. Two mountain rivals who almost always play high scoring games that come down to the wire will contest what may be the best first round game of the year in Class 3A. Lawrence started extremely late due to Covid and hasn't played since October 23. Pike County Central has been up and down all season, having scored 70, 50, 82, and 54 in their wins and just 23, 15, 28, and 7 in their losses. One of those losses was by a single point to Lawrence County.
District 8 Prediction
Belfry wins this with little competition. Scoreboard watching could become a hobby on Pond Creek over the next month, as the RPI will play a big role in whether the Pirates are at home or on the road. Losses by Elizabethtown, Mercer County, and Taylor County could mean the championship once again runs through Pike County.