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  1. WEST So how did we get here? In District 1, Mayfield did exactly what you would expect Mayfield to do. The Cardinals did not necessarily explode out of the gates against Murray, but once they got going it was an avalanche of points that ensued as Mayfield polished off the Tigers 56-24. Jayden Stinson was superb throwing for over 300 yards and 6 TD's. Moving to District 2, we got the playoff upset we all love seeing. McLean County shocked Owensboro Catholic by following the blueprint laid out last week in The Notebook to secure a 36-36 shocker. The Cougars had two backs eclipse the 100-yard mark and QB Peyton Caraway made his two completions count with 101 pass yards on them including a TD. McLean turned Owensboro Catholic over three times helping their case. District 3 was predictably exciting. As expected, defense ruled the day. In the end QB Jon Smith proved the difference for Edmonson County in their 17-13 win over Clinton County. Smith got a ground score and also connected with Chance Lucas on a 40-yard TD pass. Clinton County put up a valiant fight, but in the end Edmonson was left standing once the dust finally settled in the most exciting District race of 2019 in Class 2A. Then there was this little game in District 4 that may have been on everyone's radar between Somerset and LCA. The regular season meeting was perhaps the best game of the year in Class 2A and the re-match did not disappoint. Somerset got off the mat for a big win in the game that mattered the most 28-26, with QB Kaiya Sheron coming up big. Sheron connected with Kade Grundy for a TD but his ground prowess was the game-breaker, rushing for 104 yards and three huge scores. Dearious Smith was superb for LCA, but in the end a Tate Madden interception ended the drama. Round 3 Showdowns: #4 Edmonson County (6-6) at #1 Mayfield (11-1) Out of the pond and into the ocean. Edmonson County may have won the most dramatic 2A District, but they also won the District most agree was the weakest. The Wildcats must take a significant step up in class heading to Mayfield and don't expect them to simply have enough artillery to stand up to the heavyweight incumbent. Mayfield's offensive explosion and Defensive big play ability should allow the Cardinals to press the accelerator once they get a lead. Edmonson County will play with pride, but expect this one to snow ball Prediction: Mayfield 56 Edmonson County 12 #3 McLean County (8-4) at #2 Somerset (11-1) McLean will make the long trip to the Briar Patch where the mighty Purple and Gold await them. Somerset's biggest enemy will be let down. After winning a game that might have the potential to prove to be a pseudo-State Championship, it will be easy to overlook a team most did not expect to still be playing. McLean can play and has great Senior experience. They used this to upset O'Cath and you can bet they are only thinking of victory as they take the long bus trip. With that said, their run-heavy offense will be a Catch 22 against a strong Somerset Front 7. If McLean can chew clock and keep themselves in the game it gives them a puncher's chance, but if they get behind they will struggle to be able to come back. Expect McLean to earn respect, but Somerset is just too good. Prediction: Somerset 46 McLean County 20 EAST So how did we get here? Walton-Verona just continues to reign over their District competition in the Coach Barth era. Owen County made some big plays, but in the end the Bearcat defense ruled the day 48-20 by completely stonewalling Owen's rushing game. Walton-Verona racked up over 300 total yards as they kept the time of possession in hand and broke Owen County's will. Newport's Cinderella season struck midnight in Fort Mitchell as Beechwood simply outclassed them 38-19. Cameron Hergott did his thing and so did the Tiger D, well sort of. Newport actually out-gained the Tigers by a fair clip, but Beechwood simply bent but never broke. Breathitt County kept their express train rolling. The Bobcats scored early and often on their way to a 50-15 win. Outside of two games which were mercifully shortened from the start with a running clock, the Bobcats have scored over 40 points in every game and only had one outcome that did not feature a running clock. West Carter continues to fly under the radar and their District 8 Championship demonstrated that you should take the Comets lightly at your own peril. West Carter ambushed Shelby Valley 50-12 with surprising balance. Perry Orr threw for over 200 yards and 5 scores in his best performance of the season. Round 3 Showdowns: #4 Walton-Verona (8-4) at #1 Breathitt County (12-0) A year ago Walton-Verona shocked the State by knocking off one-loss Glasgow and securing a spot in the Semi's for the first time in school history. The Bearcats hope to do it again, but this time it will have to be on the road in hostile Jackson. The good news is not only will Walton-Verona be Breathitt's toughest opponent to date, they also play the style that is most conducive to an upset if W-V can keep it close. The ground and pound offense and stingy defensive approach is the recipe, but unlike 2018 Walton-Verona may not have enough ingredients in their pantry. Charles Collins had been looking for a breakout opportunity with limited reps needed, and this may be his platform. Breathitt's big play ability may simply be too much as the Bobcats should get the job done up front. Prediction: Breathitt County 50 Walton-Verona 22 #3 West Carter (9-3) at #2 Beechwood (7-5) Many will judge this game off name alone. One team is one of Kentucky's most storied programs ripe with State Titles and post-season success, the other is a relative unknown with very few trips to even this very round. Judge on the past at your own caution. Beechwood should be the favorite in this game and should be the better class of opponent. West Carter's style of play and Beechwood's sometime sluggish offensive efficiency should make this one a tough game. West Carter will battle the Tigers up front and will be able to move the ball at times. One big question will be whether this game will pivot on the play of an established great player (Hergott) or an upcoming great player in West Carter's LeeTavious Cline. Cline will need to shine. Any Comet upset bid begins with him making key conversions and finding the end zone. Expect this one to be tight throughout. At the end of the day, many Tiger players have been in games this big in the past seasons and West Carter has not. Additionally, the Tigers' brutal regular season schedule was put together for a reason and it should pay dividends here. Prediction: Beechwood 24 West Carter 20 Projected Semi-Final Games: #4 Beechwood (0.62970) at #1 Mayfield (0.75316) #3 Breathitt County (0.65959) at #2 Somerset (0.75279)
  2. An Auto-psy Of the Class With a second child on the way my Saturday consisted of a trip to the auto dealership after extensive research to find the best vehicle for my growing family. As I searched numerous listings from numerous manufacturers, it occurred to me that there are some comparisons that can be made to some of the best teams in 2A as we stretch past the halfway point and into the heart of District play. Without further ado, here are some of those comps as we have a light-hearted look at the Class 2A Notebook on one of the slower weeks of games. Somerset- Ford F150 King Ranch At their core they are designed to be rough and tough, but this model does not lack of flash and all the little options you want in an upscale ride. Just as comfortable in the mud and towing a heavy load, it also shines up well and can turn heads on a Friday Night under the lights. Mayfield- Chevrolet Corvette This is a ride designed to run fast and fun. A candy apple red Corvette is a classic and the envy of many a person. There is plenty of excitement and explosion under the hood, but the horsepower and torque is nothing to sleep on. Lexington Christian Academy- Audi R8 Though the Audi may not be familiar or iconic as the Corvette, it has every bit the speed and flash. This is a sleek and finely tuned machine that doesn't get justice meandering in sluggish traffic or slow country roads, this is a machine built to be let loose. There is a question of how it will hold up in Winter conditions. Beechwood- Jeep Wrangler Another iconic ride that will always have a huge following and a sense of nostalgia, the Wrangler has been a consistent performer for years. Known for being rugged and tough, the Wrangler is built for when the conditions are not favorable and other rides can't take the beating. There is question if quality is beginning to lack a little though. Murray- Dodge Challenger This sweet ride has plenty of history but kind of disappeared off the map for a while before making it's return. A muscle car with some serious curves, but by comparison it usually is not preferred or even in the same breathe when compared to the Corvette (Mayfield). Breathitt County- Ford Ranger Speaking of a familiar make and model that almost disappeared but is making a reemergence, the jury is still out if this one is back for good or just making a brief appearance that has many people happy to see it. How "Ford Tough" is this truck? The jury is still out and we may not know until the going gets tough. Danville- Ford Mustang There is no denying the name of this ride holds a lot of weight and probably always will, but there is also no denying that the popularity of this ride and market power is starting to take a significant hit and dark clouds around it's future is starting to form. Will the brand re-invent itself? Walton-Verona- Nissan Titan You might not be familiar with this particular model as it does not have the brand recognition as some of the more well known establishments, but it is consistently getting attention as one of the best values and most underrated trucks on the market. Does it have all the options and versatility to be considered the best? Probably not yet. Washington County- Kia Cadenza It is easy to pass judgment based on the name and the lack of History behind the brand, but this is one of those rides that leaves you asking "What kind of car is that again?". A sharp ride without the fanfare, but one that impresses those who see the effort being put to make the band relevant. Three Games We Can't Forget to Mention Taft too Tough Beechwood losing to Taft from Cincinnati is not necessarily a result that should have been unexpected. Taft is a consistently stout public school with no shortage of talent and accustomed to playing strong competition. What does cause a bit of concern is "how" Beechwood lost in their 7-3 defeat. The Tigers Offense reverted back to some negative habits, namely a lack of play-making ability or semblance of a consistent run game. Outside of the Corbin game, the Tiger Offense has yet to score more than 2 TD's in a game. The Defense is showing improvement, but any big picture plans need a foundation of finding more weapons. The First of the Trilogy District 1 is no joke. Not only is Mayfield residing there as we are accustomed to seeing, but Murray is certainly a team capable of big things, and the addition of Caldwell County makes this arguably the toughest path in the Class. Earning the number one seed in this new playoff system is paramount, as otherwise a Top 10 team will be sitting at home after Round 1. The first of the three huge games will be this weekend when Caldwell County hosts Mayfield. The Sheldon Clark, err, Martin County Revival For a period from the late 90's until around 2010, Sheldon Clark was actually a consistently steady and strong small school program. The Cardinals, now going by Martin County High School, fell on very lean times in the past stretch of years as the economy of the area was hit hard and some internal changes re-shaped the face of the program and the feeder system.At the lowest points, the Cardinals even withdrew from District competition. The Cardinals seem to be getting their feet back under Coach Josh Muncy and should be a considerable favorite against East ridge. A win means that Martin County will improve to 5-1. The last time Sheldon Clark had a .500 or better regular season was 2010.
  3. Breaking Down the New RPI Ratings and What to Expect With Friday's games in the books here is your updated Class 2A Top 15: 1. Somerset- 0.790 2. Mayfield- 0.746 3. Caldwell County- 0.725 4. Newport- 0.722 5. Lexington Christian Academy- 0.720 6. Washington County- 0.674 7. Beechwood- 0.668 8. Murray- 0.663 9. Owensboro Catholic- 0.655 10. Middlesboro- 0.649 11. Shelby Valley- 0.646 12. Breathitt County- 0.645 13. Lloyd Memorial- 0.642 14. Martin County- 0.597 15. Walton-Verona- 0.566 ** KHSAA DOES NOT SHOW THEIR LOSS FROM LAST NIGHT What have we learned so far about the RPI? Wins are king, but wins over other winning teams from Kentucky are King Supreme! The best case study is comparing Todd Central (5-0), Washington County (3-2), Shelby Valley (4-1), and Newport (5-0). Newport illustrates the value of a win in this system. Though the Wildcats have yet to defeat a team that has a winning record, all of their wins excluding Bracken County have been teams who have posted two wins of their own. Todd County Central is undefeated but outside of the Top 15. The reason being that they have defeated three winless teams and one team with only a win. Five wins certainly help their resume, but those lack of Oppponents' Wins dings them, especially when you compare it to what Newport has done. If You Are Going to Play Out of State Teams, You Better Win Shelby Valley illustrates the role out of state opponents play. The Wildcats have four wins including a pretty solid win over Pike Central (3-1). The lone loss for Shelby Valley was a Ridgeview, VA team that is undefeated and ranked in their state. Unfortunately, this loss simply does not factor heavily though it was by far the best team they have played. Losses Can Help, As Long as the Team You Lose to Wins a Lot in Kentucky Washington County scores really highly despite two losses. Their resume of wins compares very similarly to Shelby Valley, but it is their losses that separate them from the Wildcats. Both losses were to in-state teams with a ton of wins in Bardstown and Kentucky Country Day. Despite the fact Ridgeview may be a better team than either of those schools, the fact they are Kentucky teams weigh heavier in this system it appears. The RPI is simply a work in progress and at this point in time it is probably unfair to either praise it or condemn it. In the span of one week's worth of games from the time it was released it significantly changed, and for all intents of purposes, seemingly improved. There are flaws that have been well documented and discussed. It is still undetermined how those flaws will ultimately effect the system big picture, but at the core of the RPI it does seem to be doing what it is intended. It is rewarding teams for winning and it is rewarding teams from playing other winning teams. We will continue to monitor it, but as of now the best way to describe the system is that it "Is What It Is". Hate or love it, it is the standard and for teams who want to improve their score one simple rule reigns above all others. Just Win Baby! District 4 Will be a District War! Through five weeks there is no question that District 4 is going to be an absolute treat to follow. Somerset, the top-ranked team in Bluegrasspreps' rankings, continues to look like a buzzsaw. The Briarjumpers continued their dominant run by pulling away from a heavily ranked 1A Williamsburg for 41-13 win on the road. The 28 point margin of victory is actually their closest of the season. Somerset has been consistently strong on both sides of the football. They have not allowed a team to score more than twice, and their Offense has maintained great balance. Lexington Christian Academy made the biggest headlines of the week by shocking Central Kentucky and perhaps the entire state by knocking off 4A Lexington Catholic 43-42 in an instant classic. Jayden Barnhardt was superb! The nimble Quarterback threw for 200 yards and three scores, but it was his feet that proved the difference. Barnhardt not only extended plays, but toted the mail 24 times for a team high 126 yards and three TD's. The Eagle's Offense has been lethal early this season and they have done it a variety of ways according to the scheme of the teams they are playing. Though Lexington Catholic lit the scoreboard up, LCA has gotten enough plays from their Defense to win games. Mattie Lebryk and Andrew Long both came through with key tackles and plays. Washington County took down Marion County and has been continuing the trend of Offensive firepower. Excluding their loss to Bardstown, the Commanders have averaged just shy of 50 points in their other four games. Surprisingly enough, it is a traditional powerhouse who may be staring down the 4th seed.Danville has been the victim of a brutal schedule and their heartbreaking one point loss to Hazard resulted in their fourth straight loss. The tunnel still seems dark, with Wayne County up next and Allen County-Scottsville it is not out of the realm of possibilities that the Admirals may enter District play at 1-6. Will the East be Won? It is hard to imagine that the District Champions in two District may be settled before the end of September, but that may very well be the case this Friday for both District 7 and District 8. It is a huge game in District 8 when Shelby Valley treks to Olive Hill to take on 2A newcomer West Carter. The Comets have played a more challenging schedule against more larger schools and enter 2-2, but the Wildcats from Robinson Creek have the confidence of four wins under their belt and an Offense that seems to be finding it's groove. QB Dalton Meade and RB Ethan Bentley will test a West Carter team that for the most part has been pretty solid defensively. We documented the turnaround season Middlesboro is having a couple weeks ago, and the Yellowjackets have now improved to 4-1 with their latest victory a 20-19 win over upstart Pineville. With Leslie County suddenly struggling to find a Defensive identity, the Yellowjackets will take aim at District 7 front-runner Breathitt County as they host the Bobcats at perhaps the biggest game at Lee Majors Field in several years. Breathitt County will certainly enter as the favorite, led by an Offense that has been chewing up opponents to an average final score of 48-8 so far. Any hopes of a Yellowjacket upset will hinge on slowing down RB CA Collins and QB Braxton OHara. The 1-2 combo are accounting for over 250 yards per game. The Fork in the Road We are officially at the Halfway point and both Todd County Central and Newport sit at perfect 5-0 marks. Todd County Central defeated Caverna 57-27 for their best start in recent memory. The Rebels started 4-0 in 2017 previously, but you would have to search hard for the last time the Rebels were assured not to have a losing regular season before the conclusion of September. Newport had a challenge but was able to grind out a win against 4A Holmes 27-12. RB Giaunte Jackson came up huge with 159 yards and two scores as star QB Kaleal Davis was held relatively in check. For both teams perhaps their stiffest regular season tests will both come this week. Todd County Central will host Owensboro Catholic. Drew Hartz has been putting up video game numbers this season and the Rebels will better hope they can find a way to cloud his vision to have a chance. Newport will look to claim bragging rights for their shared homefield as they take on Newport Central Catholic. The Thoroughbreds have rebounded from a two game skid to win their last two, but may be the more vulnerable option for the Wildcats to improve to 6-0. Quick Hitters: - Caldwell County and Murray both turned in impressive performances for the second consecutive week. Murray romped previously unbeaten 3A Trigg County 64-27 led by Charvelle McAllister's 237 All-Purpose yards and 4 TD's. Caldwell County pummeled Union County 50-13. - If you were trying to find out how Walton-Verona did, the KHSAA scoreboard might not be of help. The Bearcats added a late game to the schedule and traveled to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Walton-Verona was no match for the Eagles and fell 42-7. If the Ohio team sounds familiar, LCA defeated them on September 6th 47-37. - Leslie County was over matched and outscored by 4A Clay County 47-30. The Eagles have allowed 91 points their past two games. They hope to get the ship turned around in an unusual matchup with fellow 2A Owen County.
  4. 10 Questions, 10 Answers. What We Know and Don't Know About the Class' Top Teams Somerset Answer- We know that the Briarjumpers are a balanced and complete team so far. Somerset has maintained a great Offensive balance, but have also proven to be a consistently stout Defense and sound Special Teams unit. The Briarjumpers may not be the "best" at any grouping, but you can argue they are one of the Top 5 teams in essentially each discipline. Question- What will the aftermath of Friday's game against Hazard reveal? The Bulldogs gave the blueprint for beating the Jumpers and even more concerning was an apparently significant leg injury to Somerset star RB Alex Miller. The Jumpers have other backs in the stable, but Miller was special and also brought an experience factor that will be very hard to replace. Mayfield Answer- The Cardinals certainly do not lack for any explosion on Offense. With a pace for almost 5000 Offensive yards the Cards have big play ability all over the field and their ability to explode at any point will make them a tough match-up for even the stiffest of Defenses. Question- Will Mayfield be able to hold up in the Secondary if the planets align and things aren't clicking? There is no shortage of great QB's and passing Offenses in Class 2A and to this point the Cardinals have not exactly been the Legion of Boom reinvented in their back half. It may come down to match-ups, the RPI is a wildcard that could give or take away from the Cards. As crazy as it may seem, Mayfield may prefer a long road trip to Breathitt County or Beechwood over hosting a LCA or Somerset. Lexington Christian Academy Answer- The Eagles may very well have the best collection of game changers in Class 2A. QB Jayden Barnhardt, RB Xavier Brown, WR Dearious Smith, and DE Andrew Long are each capable of completely changing the complexion of a game on any snap. Almost each player can do it in a multitude of ways as well and the Eagle staff is smart enough to scheme around this ability with creative looks. Question- Can the Eagles win ugly? As the weather cools and as the games mean more and fundamental errors are less prevalent, it will be curious to see what happens when LCA is not aided by blown coverages, missed tackles on the perimeter, or a loss of contain. At some point it is going to come down to relying on their Defense and interior run game to come through. Beechwood Answer- The Tigers will not be surprised by any talent level at this point. It can't get much harder than what Beechwood has already seen. Playing by far the toughest S.O.S of any Class 2A team it has certainly made an impact on their Win-Loss record, but the ultimate hope is it will pay off in November. Question- Can someone not named Cameron Hergott take over the game on Offense? Entering Friday's game against Beechwood there was not a single Tiger besides Hergott who had contributed more than a single TD. With the number of proficient Offenses in the class, at some point the Tigers are going to have to score more than 20 points to win a State Title. Who can step up and provide that secondary option? Murray Answer- In a Class full of really good QB's, Hunter Utley is the most underrated. The prototype sized QB has been the picture of efficiency with a 7:1 TD to INT ratio, a 15 yard per completion average, and a 69% completion percentage. Roughly one out of every five passes he completes ends up going for a TD as well. The kid can play. Question- Have they scheduled hard enough to prepare them for Mayfield? There is no secret that District 1 will run through Cardinal Country, and this may be the best shot Murray has had in recent years at the Red Helmets. To date Murray ha splayed no teams currently ranked in the Bluegrasspreps Polls and with the exception of Caldwell County (a team Mayfield just crushed), they most likely won't have a game of note prior to their October 25th showdown. It is hard to prepare for the speed and explosion Mayfield brings without having seen it across the other side of the field previously. Owensboro Catholic Answer- The Aces have found their bread and butter to accompany Hartz in the passing game. There was no question Drew Hartz had every tool to have a big year in the O'Cath pass happy Offensive system. The question was who would step up and be his primary targets. Hagen Edge and Braden Mundy are each on pace for 1000-yard receiving seasons and Edge may put up an astounding 20+ TD year catching the ball. Dre Thurston has been efficient and effective both as a runner and a receiver. Thurston may put up over 1300+ yards of all-purpose performance. Question- Will the Defense be able to help the Offense out? Truth be told the Aces have played a substantially lighter non-district slate than we are accustomed to seeing and their District mates all are not exactly a fearsome lot. The lone game against a ranked foe was 5A Owensboro, the Aces suffered a season low of points and a season high for points allowed. In fact their Offense that has averaged over 50 points in games since, managed only a lone score. Breathitt County Answer- It will be shocking if the Bobcats are not 12-0 entering the seeded Quarterfinals. Breathitt has been a buzz-saw posting running clocks in every single game (some even starting at kickoff), and this trend may very well continue with their season finale against Pike Central potentially being the only game capable of breaking the trend. CA Collins has been stellar. The Senior has toyed with defenses so far. Question- What in the world will happen when Breathitt finally plays a team expected to have some post-season success? Even the most ardent Bobcat fans will tell you that this schedule has done them no favors for their Title hopes with the exception of potentially helping to keep the risk of injury down. The Breathitt Strength of Schedule to this point is in the bottom 10% of teams in the State. Where this may play out the most is on the Offensive and Defensive Lines. To be blunt, we still have no clue how good Breathitt is up front because the teams they have played have simply been unable to compete up front. Caldwell County Answer- Unfortunately for Caldwell, it is clear they are now in a second tier of teams following their losses they have suffered. There is no shame in losing to Mayfield and Hopkinsvile, two teams certainly capable of still playing in the Semi-Finals. With that said, losing by a combined score of 87-21 certainly speaks volumes that the Tigers just may not have the firepower to string together multiple wins of teams of a similar likeness. Question- Can they play spoiler? In a District with three Top-10 teams, the Tigers still may be able to have a dramatic impact on the Class 2A race. It might be too steep of a hill to ask them to potentially beat four consecutive top teams, but if they can just disrupt Mayfield and Murray and create a little chaos it could potentially have a major impact with the new playoff system and seeding. Lloyd Memorial Answer- A team though to be deficient of playmakers have found them. When you lose over 80% of your Offensive production it is fair to wonder if the dropoff should be expected, but Lloyd has actually done an admirable job of finding guys who could step into new roles and get the job done. Dakota Thiel has been more than serviceable at RB, Jacob Davidson has managed the game well at QB and added some additional options in the ground game, and Treshawn Cody is a matchup problem at WR. Question- Can the Juggs peak at the right time? Three of their last four games are all Top-10 teams including two huge District contests that will determine seeding. With Beechwood's Offensive struggles the brass ring is there for the taking, but Lloyd Memorial will need to put complete games together and with the new RPI system they ideally need to go 4-0 to help their potential seeding. In their two previous losses the Defense played "good" and their offense showed signs, but they have yet to put the puzzle together. Newport Wildcats Answer- This is definitely not a fluke that Newport is 6-1. The Wildcats are off to their best start in several years and have shown marked improvement from 2018 alone. Their lone loss was deceiving as they were in the game against Newport Central Catholic until some late breaks did not go their way. Kaleal Davis has been outstanding in every capacity and the Wildcats have a handful of supporting cast members who have carried their own weight as well. Question- What happens if the worst case occurs? It is easy to stay hot when momentum is on your side, but lets say that Newport falls by one point or by forty points to Lloyd and Beechwood. Will the Wildcats spirit be broke? Newport has the weapons to beat either team if the ball bounces the right way and they execute flawlessly, but it will be very hard to do it on the road in back to back rounds with a prior loss already fresh in their minds. The Forgotten Districts: District 3 Rundown- For many fans it would be a tall task even to list the teams in District 3 without a resource, let alone have an idea who is going to win the District Title for the regular season. Edmonson County (2-5) seemingly had a massive win by handling Monroe County (3-4), 33-0 in Brownsville. In fact, I would be lying if I didn't see the score and automatically assume this made the Wildcats the favorite to win the District Title. The truth is it is actually (1-6) Metcalfe County who is sitting in the catbird seat! The Hornets' lone win of the year was big one as they defeated Edmonson County 22-20 in Overtime back on September 20th and now control their own destiny. The Hornets are off this week but can clinch the District when they play Monroe County on 10-18. District 8 Rundown- The story-line right now is Class Droppers. In a District featuring three teams dropping down from Class 3A, two teams are still alive to potentially take the prize, one more surprising than the other. West Carter (4-2) has lived up to expectations and their dominating win over Shelby Valley (5-2) two weeks ago may prove to be the defacto District Title game. The Wildcats may finish 8-2, but their hopes hinge exclusively on surprising Martin County (5-1). Shelby Valley has to travel to Inez to beat the Cardinals and then hope the Cards can shock the Comets forcing a three-way tie. For Martin County, if they can knock off the Wildcats this week they control their own destiny. Something no one may have predicted entering the year. District 5 Rundown- Not much to see here. Walton-Verona (4-3) hosted Carroll County (3-3) this past Friday and came away with a convincing 33-14 victory. The Bearcats technically have work to do, but with the remaining District foes a combined 2-9, anything short of a DubVee District title will be shocking to say the least. The Bearcats seemingly have a lot of work to do come November to hang with the rest of the class, so expect the next five weeks to be focused on fine tuning their Offense that has yet to find it's stride.
  5. District 1 #4 Fort Campbell Falcons (1-9) at #1 Mayfield Cardinals (9-1) Previous Meeting: Mayfield 42-0 on 9/27 Let's not waste words on this one. The Falcons are just happy to be here after winning their way in against Ballard Memorial, but this one is going to be over early. The Cardinals have their eyes on greater things and should be able to impose their will from the jump in all disciplines. Prediction: Mayfield 49 Fort Campbell 0 #3 Murray Tigers (7-3) at #2 Caldwell County Tigers (8-2) Previous Meeting: Caldwell County 42-40 on 10/18 The first meeting of these two teams was one of the best match-ups featuring two teams in Class 2A as the back and forth tussle came down to the very end. Murray may not be with their star QB Hunter Utley who was superb in the previous meeting before getting injured the next week versus Mayfield. Without Utley the Caldwell County Tigers are certainly the team to beat. Prediction: Caldwell County 36 Murray 28 District 1 Championship Projected District 1 Championship: #2 Caldwell County at #1 Mayfield Previous Meeting: Mayfield 45-7 on 10/4 District Championship Prediction: Mayfield 42 Caldwell County 20 District 2 #4 Todd County Central Rebels (6-4) at #1 Owensboro Catholic Aces (8-2) Previous Meeting: Owensboro Catholic 48-24 on 9/27 When these two teams collided in September, Todd Central entered on their highest water mark and played with great confidence early. Ultimately, Owensboro Catholic just had way too many weapons and pulled away. The Rebels have had some confidence bruisers along the way and although O'Cath enters still smarting from a rough loss to Apollo, the Aces should take care of business here. Prediction: Owensboro Catholic 56 Todd Central 14 #3 Hancock County Hornets (3-7) at #2 McLean County Cougars (6-4) Previous Meeting: McLean County 34-13 on 10/25 McLean County has turned their season into a solid showing very quietly and enter November with wins in 6 of their last 7 games. The Cougars three headed rushing attack has found their footing and will continue to propel them in Round 1 against a Hancock County team seemingly going the wrong way. It may not be Halloween anymore, but Andrew Munster will be mashing the Hornets. Prediction: McLean County 40 Hancock County 14 District 2 Championship Projected District 2 Championship: #2 McLean County at #1 Owensboro Catholic Previous Meeting: Owensboro Catholic 55-21 on 10/4 District Championship Prediction: Owensboro Catholic 48 McLean County 28 District 3 #4 Green County Dragons (1-9) at #1 Edmonson County Wildcats (4-6) Previous Meeting: Edmonson County 39-8 on 10/18 In the wild and dramatic District 3, it was Edmonson County who came out on top. The Wildcats had a shocking loss to Metcalfe County but outside of that went undefeated against the other teams. QB Jon Smith may have a plain name, but it will be his skill-set that determines how far the Wildcats go. Expect Smith to take care of business against Green County. The Wildcats simply are the better team. Prediction: Edmonson County 33 Green County 6 #3 Clinton County Bulldogs (6-3) at #2 Monroe County Falcons (5-5) Previous Meeting: Monroe County 28-14 on 9/20 Monroe County really wishes they could have October 3rd back. The Falcons laid an egg against Edmonson County and the game wound up being much worse than it should have been. Since that night the Falcons have played pretty good football and seem to have found a nice offensive rhythm. The receivers have really started to develop timing with QB Curtis Petett and it should give them enough to overcome a pretty stout challenge from Clinton County. Prediction: Monroe County 28 Clinton County 20 District 3 Championship Projected District 3 Championship: #2 Monroe County at #1 Edmonson County Previous Meeting: Edmonson County 33-0 on 10/3 District Championship Prediction: Monroe County 28 Edmonson County 26 District 4 #4 Washington County Commanders (5-5) at #1 Lexington Christian Academy Eagles (9-1) Previous Meeting: LCA 36-0 on 10/11 LCA may be one of the hottest teams in Kentucky. After losing in Week 2 at Belfry, the Eagles have been flying high and lighting up the scoreboard in the process. LCA boasts the top overall seed in the RPI and have homefield advantage at their disposal. The Commanders have great pieces, but a brutal schedule has taken the wind out of their sails as they enter November. Perhaps no team wishes the old system still existed more than Washington County, as a sweep of District 3 would be a real possibility if so. Prediction: Lexington Christian Academy 42 Washington County 6 #3 Danville Admirals (3-6) at #2 Somerset Briarjumpers (9-1) Previous Meeting: Somerset 40-21 on 10/11 Is this a trap game? Somerset has been one of the elite teams in Class 2A all season and are entering the playoffs as a top threat to take home the Title. Well... if they can avenge their loss to LCA and win District 4. Danville may be the most improved team in Class 2A from the start of September until now as their young team is getting battle hardened each week. This is a game Somerset needs to play in the present instead of looking forward to what may come in Round 2. If Somerset stays to task they win. Prediction: Somerset 38 Danville 20 District 4 Championship Projected District 4 Championship: #2 Somerset at #1 Lexington Christian Academy Previous Meeting: LCA 35-24 on 10/18 District Championship Prediction: Somerset 34 Lexington Christian Academy 28 District 5 #4 Gallatin County Wildcats (1-9) at #1 Walton-Verona Bearcats (6-4) Previous Meeting: Walton-Verona 48-0 on 9/27 Walton-Verona is the clear cut above in this District and have been in recent years as well. Gallatin County just do not have the horses in their barn to match up at the line of scrimmage and will struggle to stop the Bearcats' "ground and pound". Prediction: Walton-Verona 42 Gallatin County 0 #3 Owen County Rebels (3-7) at #2 Carroll County Panthers (7-3) Previous Meeting: Carroll County 48-18 on 10/18 Carroll County is quietly 7-3 and have done a very good job of navigating their light schedule. Dual-Threat QB Andre Mumphrey has been consistently solid all season and in the previous meeting he orchestrated a game-plan that resulted in three Panthers rushing for over 100 yards. Owen County should be able to keep this within reach through the first 3/4 of the game, but expect Carroll to simply deliver too many body blows to a Rebel team lacking depth. Prediction: Carroll County 38 Owen County 14 District 5 Championship Projected District 5 Championship: #2 Carroll County at #1 Walton-Verona Previous Meeting: Walton-Verona 33-14 on 10/4 District Championship Prediction: Walton-Verona 28 Carroll County 14 District 6 #4 Covington Holy Cross Indians (2-8) at #1 Beechwood Tigers (5-5) Previous Meeting: Beechwood 68-6 on 10/11 Of all the First Round mis-matches, no team probably welcomes the opportunity more than Beechwood. The Tigers used the first meeting to springboard their offense and carry them with newfound confidence through District play after sputtering all season. Beechwood took a tough luck loss in the season finale to 1A Newport Central Catholic in a game where old habits reared their head. The Tigers need to get back to feeling good about themselves against the porous Holy Cross defense. Prediction: Beechwood 56 Covington Holy Cross 13 #3 Newport Wildcats (7-3) at #2 Lloyd Memorial Juggernauts (6-4) Previous Meeting: Lloyd Memorial 26-7 on 10/11 The first meeting ended up being a three score margin, but it was a nip and tuck affair until the 4th Quarter. The Juggernauts made the big plays and just seemed to be the more battle tested team. Kaleal Davis was rendered to being a non-factor while Lloyd RB Jacob Davidson ground out yardage and key scores. The Wildcats have the luxury of a Week 11 BYE entering this game while Lloyd took a tough loss in a physical game against a stout 3A Elizabethtown. Call me crazy, but in a Class where First Round upsets seem unlikely, this might be a shocker. Prediction: Newport 20 Lloyd Memorial 16 District 6 Championship Projected District 6 Championship: #3 Newport at #1 Beechwood Previous Meeting: Beechwood 38-0 on 10/25 District Championship Prediction: Beechwood 37 Newport 6 District 7 #4 Knott County Central Patriots (2-8) at #1 Breathitt County Bobcats (10-0) Previous Meeting: Breathitt County 56-8 on 10/18 Welcome to the Breathitt County Sacrificial District. Much like the regular season where it was seldom seen a game where Breathitt did not have the game firmly in hand by the end of the 1st quarter, expect more of the same for the first two rounds. The Bobcats will begin their tour of terror by over matching Knott Central. Prediction: Breathitt County 54 Knott Central 6 #3 Leslie County Eagles (5-4) at #2 Middlesboro Yellowjackets (7-3) Previous Meeting: Middlesboro 28-27 on 10/4 This should be a fun game for an opener. The Yellowjackets were a single point better in Hyden the first go round in what has proven to be a watershed for a Middlesboro team who had lost a ton of games in recent years. Leslie County has the ability to win this game, but with the battlefield set for Middlesboro, this will be a tough task for the Eagles. Prediction: Middlesboro 36 Leslie County 28 District 7 Championship Projected District 7 Championship: #2 Middlesboro at #1 Breathitt County Previous Meeting: Breathitt County 57-7 on 9/27 District Championship Prediction: Breathitt County 56 Middlesboro 14 District 8 #4 Bath County Wildcats (4-6) at #1 West Carter Comets (7-3) Previous Meeting: West Carter 26-6 on 10/4 The two class droppers had different fortunes in their inaugural 2A campaigns. West Carter rode their defense to the top seed following the regular season as Bath County's defense never could get them enough stops. The Comets are a bit of a sleep team if they can continue to win against their District foes. If they compete like they did against 3A Russell in their season finale they may be in position to surprise someone. Prediction: West Carter 33 Bath County 0 #3 Martin County Cardinals (7-3) at #2 Shelby Valley Wildcats (8-2) Previous Meeting: Shelby Valley 41-12 on 10/11 Regardless of the outcome it has been a feel good type of season for the boys from Inez. Martin County dropped to 2A and exceeded expectations en route to a winning season. Unfortunately, they just don't match up well with the bigger and more physical Wildcats and the yard churning offense it creates. Shelby Valley has a chip on their shoulder after getting embarrassed by West Carter and should take care of business here. Prediction: Shelby Valley 46 Martin County 20 District 8 Championship Projected District 8 Championship: #2 Shelby Valley at #1 West Carter Previous Meeting: West Carter 33-7 on 9/27 District Championship Prediction: West Carter 20 Shelby Valley 7 Projected Remaining Teams- West (Round 3 Projections): (4) Monroe County- 0.45121 at (1) Mayfield- 0.75316 (3) Owensboro Catholic- 0.64483 at (2) Somerset- 0.75279 Projected Remaining Teams- East (Round 3 Projections): (4) Walton-Verona- 0.54003 at (1) Breathitt County- 0.65959 (3) West Carter- 0.58113 at (2) Beechwood- 0.62970
  6. How We Got Here: Mayfield 58 Edmonson County 14- There was no phase of the game that Edmonson County was expected to be able to outshine the Cardinals, and that played out to form as Mayfield made short work of an outgunned Wildcat squad. Somerset 41 McLean County 6- Second verse, same as the first. McLean County put up a stronger resistance, but Somerset was just the supreme team in every discipline and made sure there was little doubt as they took down the Cougars. Kaiya Sheron was efficient, only mis-firing on two passes, and Kade Grundy was unstoppable. Breathitt County 57 Walton-Verona 28- After taking a 3-0 lead on their first possession, it seemed Walton-Verona may be up to the challenge of the mysterious Bobcats. That hope quickly faded as Breathitt exploded to a big lead led by their game-breaking ability of C.A. Collins. Walton-Verona was able to sustain success moving the ball, but Breathitt simply was too powerful. Beechwood 42 West Carter 7- The lone game that seemed to play out different than what was expected was Beechwood putting a dominating win on West Carter.It was a statement for the Tigers that they are peaking at the right time and their offense is starting to gel. Beechwood showed great balance by amassing over 350 total yards and the Tiger D stymied the Comet run game. The Semi-Finals: #4 Beechwood Tigers (8-5) at #1 Mayfield Cardinals (12-1) Three Keys: 1. Chunk vs. Change- The way these two teams make their hay on Offense is inherently a contrast. Beechwood relies on moving the sticks and wearing down the opposing Defense with body blows. Mayfield wants to hurt you with game changing big plays. The Cards have explosion all over the field and a QB who can set them up. Whoever can get the other off their mar will have a big advantage. 2. Make the Statement Immediately- The First Quarter may be as important as the 4th Quarter this week. With Beechwood making the long trek and both teams preferring to set the pace instead of being the team having to come from behind, the ability to set the table will be huge. Whichever team can best game-plan to exploit the other's weaknesses will be hard to catch if they can establish a lead. 3. Fail Forward- Mistakes will happen and errors will occur when you play a good football team and a great coaching staff who is specifically trying to force the issue. The key is not to let yourself get beat multiple times but instead to let the time you do get beat on a play to allow for a sharper counter punch later. Adjustments will be paramount, but adjustments and utilizing them at the right time may be a difference maker. Prediction: The real Beechwood is exactly what we all expected them to be entering the 2A scene. The Beechwood team who beat Corbin, destroyed West Carter, and defeated Newport and Lloyd 75-0 in successive weeks can play with Mayfield and even beat them. The problem is there is another Beechwood team that continues to show up. This team lost to Newport Central Catholic, got outgained significantly by Newport in the playoffs, and was a non-factor against Somerset. Mayfield needs to be Mayfield. If the real Beechwood shows up Mayfield can still win but it will be a battle, if the Cardinals take care of themselves they should be able to walk away from this game victorious. Don't let Beechwood have reason to step their game up, put the heat on them early and often. Mayfield 36 Beechwood 17 #3 Breathitt County Bobcats (13-0) at #2 Somerset Briarjumpers (12-1) Three Keys: 1. Who Has the Bigger Play? - Both teams have guys capable of taking it to the house on any given snap from any part of the field. Somerset's law firm of Sheron, Gilmore, and Grundy are a fly pattern away from six at any given flick of the wrist. C.A. Collins and Brandyn Slaughter need the slightest separation and they are going to make you pay. The team who best opens up opportunities for their stars to explode on the scene will be best served. 2. Experience vs. Expectation- Breathitt County is a confident team. There will be no wide eyes or contentment just being on the field Friday, Breathitt County expects to win. The position where confidence matters the most is QB, and this is probably the one spot with the greatest variation or unpredictability of what might happen. We know what Somerset is bringing to the table as Kaiya Sheron is a proven commodity as a Junior and has played in numerous big games. Jaylen Turner and Braxton O'Hara alone are a question as to who will have the ball in their hands when it matters, but neither has faced a team like Somerset.on defense. Will they sink or swim? 3. Break Out or Break Down- If you don't know who C.A. Collins is, it is time to learn. The Bobcat RB is a bonafide star and probably would be a 2000 yard rusher if he saw more Second Half action. This is the moment he has been waiting for all season. He finally sees a defense viewed as top tier and the pressure cannot be greater. Simply put Breathitt cannot win this game without Collins going off. If Collins leads Breathitt to a win his name immediately should rise in the All-State voters' ballots. Prediction: We still don't know who Breathitt is, but we are getting the picture and after this week we will know for sure. The Bobcats did prove they are a strong team by hammering Walton-Verona, but we still have not seen them play a team capable of beating them. Breathitt will enter with a fire in their belly and feeling dis-respected. Somerset has to know it is coming and have to be ready to rebound if Breathitt rides the momentum to an early lead. Somerset has been here before and knows what it takes to rally. Breathitt does not. If Somerset can pull ahead in the Second Half they will be hard to un-seat. Somerset 40 Breathitt County 28
  7. District 1: Mayfield 56 Fort Campbell 13 Reaction: It was business as usual for the Cardinals as they jumped out to an early lead and coasted to a running clock victory as expected. Mayfield should be well rested and ready for the District Championship. Murray 34 Caldwell County 17 Reaction: It was a masterful coaching performance from the Murray staff as they threw some key wrinkles and took advantage of the film from the previous meeting to completely change the outcome and the complexion. Rowdy Sokolowski did an exceptional job in place of Hunter Utley, with Tommy Waldrop continuing his monster season with 167 yards and 3 TD's. District 1 Championship: Murray at Mayfield Preview: The Tiger staff proved their mettle and now draw an even steeper hill to climb as they prepare for Mayfield. The Cardinals dominated every facet of the previous meeting and will enter as a substantial favorite playing at home. Any hope of a Murray upset hinges directly with their ability to slow down the Cardinal Offense. Murray not only needs to find a way to put the Cardinals behind the sticks, they need also to turn Mayfield over and that is something most teams have struggled to do. Murray has been able to play the Cards tighter than expected in November, but unless they can get some unexpected points gifted to them expect a Cardinal Victory Prediction: Mayfield 40 Murray 14 District 2: Owenboro Catholic 46 Todd Central 22 The Hartz/Edge dramatic duo did what we have become to expect of them. The two combined for a major statline as Hartz surpassed 300 yards passing and Edge accounted for nearly half of those yards while adding an Interception on defense as well. It was a concerning effort from the Aces' defense as Todd County rolled up over 300 yards rushing, though a good bit came with the game comfortably at hand. McLean County 36 Hancock County 8 The Cougar triple option proved too much for Hancock to handle. Landen Capps pased the Cougars as they jumped out to a comfortable Halftime lead and continued to grind out First Down and points while making the Hornets more one dimensional along the way. District 2 Championship: McLean County at Owensboro Catholic Preview: In a game featuring contrasting styles, it will be a matter of pride that McLean County's upset hopes hinge on. In the first meeting the Aces rolled up over 600 yards of total Offense as the Cougars had no answers whatsoever for any capacity of the OCath game plan. Simply put, McLean will not be able to "out-athlete" Catholic. The Cougars need to establish their ground and pound style and exploit a vulnerable Ace defense and keep the clock running and limit the number of possessions Hartz has to go to work. They need to keep everything in front of them and force the Aces to beat them by driving the football, also allowing over 100 rushing yards will be a killer. It is a tall task against one of Class 2A's top offensive teams, and one that would be a major upset if they can pull off. Prediction: Owensboro Catholic 48 McLean County 20 District 3: Edmonson County 45 Green County 18 The top-seeded Wildcats handled their business as expected against the one-win Dragons. The Wildcat offense may not be high powered like some of the top teams in 2A, but it is improving each week and this bodes well as they host Round 2. Clinton County 14 Monroe County 7 It was the Bulldog defense that ruled the cold night as they stepped up to avenge an earlier season defeat to Falcons and get the win on the road. Clinton County makes history with the win; this is their first ever playoff win and their first ever 2nd Round birth in program history. District 3 Championship: Clinton County at Edmonson County Preview: No game will resemble what we just previewed in District 2 less than what you can anticipate in Brownsville this week. The previous meeting was a defensive struggle on by the Wildcats 13-0, and with the stingy Clinton County defense and lack of Bulldog firepower, expect this one to hold similar form. The key play in the first game was a 85-yard scoring strike from Jon Smith to Isaiah Johnson. Expect this to be a similar recipe as both teams will most likely struggle to sustain traction when on offense, so a single big play may be the difference in a win or loss. Edmonson County is just a little better equipped to make this happen with Smith at QB and Matthew Shaw running the ball. With an anticipated low scoring game, an upset certainly is possible and with the way District 3 has went it might actually be expected at this point. Prediction: Edmonson County 19 Clinton County 6 District 4: Lexington Christian Academy 43 Washington County 14 The hard luck path for the Commanders continues as they just cannot escape being in Districts with the biggest heavyweights of Class 2A surrounding them. LCA checked all the boxes and kept this game comfortably in hand from the outset to set up the most anticipated 2nd Round game in 2A in quiet some time. Somerset 34 Danville 14 Danville battled valiantly, but Somerset just had way too many weapons. Somerset made it a point to establish their ground game as they ran the ball 31 times led by Freshman Jerrod Smith. Kaiya Sherron was not especially his sharpest, but he hit on numerous big plays as the Jumper play-makers helped them extend their lead and close it out. District 4 Championship: Somerset at Lexington Christian Academy Preview: Well this is what we all have been waiting on since the first one came to a conclusion. In the first meeting LCA really bothered Smoerset with edge pressure and exposed some weaknesses. In recent games the Jumpers have been working on counter punches to help alleviate this pressure, namely an increased focus on the interior run and a new focus on timing and intermediate passing as well as an increased role of throwing to backs in the flats. It is also worth noting that LCA had plenty of room for improvement themselves after somerset exposed them over the top several time and also really stymied the Eagle passing game. The winner of this game will be whoever self-scouted the best and can make necessary adjustments to pivot in the re-match. Dearious Smith was suspiciously quite in the first meeting and will need to be the X-factor this week for LCA. Conversely, the success the Jumpers have in the middle of the field with their interior run game and quick release passing game will be key to setting up the things they enjoy doing the most. At the end of the day, it seems everyone believes Somerset is the team to beat in the re-match and that makes me think LCA still has something left to show. Prediction: LCA 34 Somerset 28 District 5: Walton-Verona 41 Gallatin County 6 Nothing to see here. In a game featuring two mis-matched foes the better team won convincingly. Walton-Verona winning the First Round is now an expectation for their program. Owen County 39 Carroll County 22 Here is an under the radar First Round surprise. The Rebels complete a 47-point turnaround from their 30-point loss in the regular season. Matthew Young had one of the best playoff performances for a single Half as you will find in Owen County's history. The Senior scored 5 TD's as the Rebs jumped out to an early lead and polished off the mild upset. District 5 Championship: Owen County at Walton-Verona Preview: For Owen County this is a pleasant surprise, but rest assured the Rebels should not just rest on their laurels as Walton-Verona is far from a Leviathan than cannot be toppled. It will be a very tall task, the Bearcats simply do not lose District games under Coach Barth. The road map for an upset is similar to what they did against Carroll County. Get early momentum and an early lead of multiple scores and force the extremely ground heavy Bearcats to feel the pressure of a ticking clock in the Second Half and hopefully make them try things they are not accustomed to. Unfortunately for Owen County, Walton-Verona is a better team on defense and less likely to help the Rebels out with unforced errors. This one may be interesting for a while as momentum and optimism fuels Owen County, but in the end Walton-Verona is just a better class of team. Prediction: Walton-Verona 46 Owen County 18 District 6 Beechwood 63 Covington Holy Cross 0 Much like the first meeting, the perfect prescription for an out of sync Beechwood offense is a very thin Holy Cross defense. The Tigers rolled with ease and got any and everything they wanted. Hopefully this serves as a confidence booster like the first outcome did. Newport 28 Lloyd Memorial 16 Newport relied on the big play and a pesky defense to avenge their earlier loss this season and take down the Juggernauts. Kaleal Davis did his best "Most Interesting Man in the World" impression. He may only complete five passes but when he does, they go for TD's! Thre eof his five completions found the endzone and he added a team high 57 rushing yards and another score. The Wildcats also picked off four passes (Davis also had one of those for good measure) as their Defense simply shut down Lloyd. District 6 Championship: Newport at Beechwood Preview: This is a tricky game for Beechwood. The Tigers rolled Newport in the previous meeting and they should be a noted favorite for a reason. With that said, there is minimal room for error on the Beechwood front. The Tigers may enter with a bit of fool's gold and Newport certainly is a tram than can make this game ugly and has just enough athleticism to pop a random big play in a close game. It will be very easy for Beechwood to start "RPI watching" and planning who they will be hosting for Round 3, but with the Tigers' struggles to maintain consistency they need to simply stay focus on the task at hand and eliminate nay hopes of a Newport upset from the jump. This may be feast or famine. If Beechwood leads by two scores in the First Half they should be too hard to catch, but if this one is ugly the Wildcats may shock Class 2A. Prediction: Beechwood 26 Newport 6 District 7: Breathitt County 48 Knott Central 6 Noone expected this to be close and noone felt surprised when Breathitt put this away early and locked in cruise control. The Bobcats simply are two steps ahead of every other team in their District. Middlesboro 57 Leslie County 22 Jabari Kyle is one of the best players in Class 2A you are not familiar with. He single handily took control of the game with six TD's, an Interception, and an on-side kick recovery as Middlesboro left little doubt and eliminated the Eagles. District 7 Championship: Middlesboro at Breathitt County Preview: The good news for Midddlesboro is things can't get much worse than what happened when Breathitt won 57-7 and forced four turnovers. Middlesboro met a buzzsaw that night and though their odds of winning certainly do not look good, expect a better showing as Coach French will make some tweaks. Expect more creative ways to get the ball in Jabari Kyle's hands this go around and with that, a reduced risk of turnover which caused the first game to snowball. Breathitt can use a little more competition as well, but at the end of the day they are the supreme team and should be able to take this comfortably. Prediction: Breathitt County 56 Middlesboro 20 District 8: West Carter 36 Bath County 0 The Comets' Defense is their calling card and a shutout to open the playoffs is exactly what they wanted to see. The Comets gave up negative rushing yards and Leetavious Cline paced the O. Shelby Valley 41 Martin County 24 The Wildcats only attempted one pass and rolled up 447 rushing yards as they simply dominated Martin County at the line of scrimmage. The Cats have some reckoning with West Carter as they feel the first meeting was not an indication of how close these two teams are. District 8 Championship: Shelby Valley at West Carter Preview: Irresistible force meets immovable object. It is the Shelby Valley rushing game against the West Carter rush defense. The first game when the Comets' way as they did not stonewall Shelby Valley, but did get the key stops and Cline ran wild himself. This game will be won on First Down. The team that can consistently stay ahead of the sticks and impose their will ultimately will also have the best chance to open up a big play when the opponent is left stuck on their heels. For Shelby Valley, Dalton Meade has to play the game of his life and find explosive plays. The Comets have seen other teams with equal or better talent and that will prove fruitful. Shelby Valley will tighten the screws on this one and tighten the margin in the process, but expect the Comet Defense to come thru in the clutch. Prediction: West Carter 28 Shelby Valley 20
  8. The Puzzle Pieces Come Together This past July I did something with my niece and nephew on vacation I had not done since I was a kid myself. Over the span of the week, with whatever free time became open at lunch or at night before bed, we worked on a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. It was an especially daunting challenge at first as it seemed overwhelming with so many pieces looking the same, but the old tried and true rule of feeling in the corners and framing the picture allowed us to get going and once the patterns became noticeable and the pieces thinned out, we wrapped it up much quicker in the end. With two weeks remaining in the season, the Class 2A puzzle has now been framed and the pieces continue to come together rapidly. Let's go District by District and see what we have figured out and re-set for the final District vs. District portion of the season. District 1- "Just needs that last piece to fit" Three cheers for Caldwell County! We previewed their game last week and eluded to how the Offense needed to make big plays and that was exactly what they did in their 42-40 win over Murray.In a game with over 900 yards of total Offense the Caldwell Tigers had the last laugh and broke Murray's heart. It will be a tall task for Murray to defeat Mayfield, but it could be another shootout as Hunter Utley was far from the reason Murray lost. Mayfield will look to exploit their Defense again which struggled with Caldwell's balance. Fort Campbell and Ballard Memorial match up in an elimination game this week. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Mayfield (0.736, 3rd) 2. Caldwell County (0.681, 5th) 3. Murray (0.635, 9th) 4. Ballard Memorial (0.400, 28th) District 2- "That one last center piece" Owensboro Catholic is in cruise control. They have already bested the lot and only have last place Butler County remaining. Conversely, the 4th seed is already determined as Todd County Central has the week off and their District schedule completed. The story right now is will it be McLean County or Hancock County who gets the First Round playoff game? The Cougars from McLean County got the big win against Todd Central as they have won four of their last five games. Hancock will have the benefit of playing at home. This may be one of the most even Class 2A games of the week. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Owensboro Catholic (0.710, 4th) 2. McLean County (0.537, 17th) 3. Hancock County (0.450, 24th) 4. Todd Central (0.507, 20th) District 3- "Umm, I think we are missing a few pieces. Check the box" Alright, now we have some drama. Let's start here: Monroe County is done playing District foes after defeating Metcalfe County. They are the leader in the clubhouse with a 3-1 District record and a win over Clinton County. Clinton County's only loss was to Monroe so their game against Edmonson County will be the pivot point. A win by Clinton County makes Monroe the top-seed but gives the Bulldogs a home game. A win by Edmonson and the Wildcats win the pot outright, a loss and they potentially fall all the way to the 4-seed if Metcalfe County can beat Green County somehow. If Green COunty gets their First win of the season Metcalfe gets left out in the cold. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Monroe County (0.458, 23rd) 2. Clinton County (0.482, 21st) 3. Edmonson County (0.377, 31st) 4. Green County (0.310, 35th) District 4- "Can we build it again, please?" On the polar opposite end of the spectrum when comparing District 3 is District 4. This powerhouse District is not only more straight lined to figure out, but the quality of teams has made it a truly special lot. Lexington Christian Academy and Somerset locked horns in what had potential to be "must see TV" and did that game ever live up to the hype! Behind a gritty effort by Xavier Brown and pivotal plays by the Eagle defense, LCA was able to win by a single point and for all intents of purposes appear on their way to the top-seed. Danville was also busy on Friday in their own key game and defeated Washington County as the young Admirals seemingly improve every week. The Commanders have now lost four of their last six games and will most likely see that add another loss tally this week against an angry Briarjumper squad. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Lexington Christian Academy (0.783, 1st) 2. Somerset (0.739, 2nd) 3. Danville (0.563, 15th) 4. Washington County (0.583, 14th) District 5- "Well at least this part is done." Walton-Verona has become a fixture to win this District and once again had little resistance as they did just that. Carroll County was the only team to make them break a sweat, and they also outclassed Owen County to sure up their homefield advantage in Round 1. Owen County has essentially claimed the 3rd spot when they romped Gallatin County, and the Wildcats secured their first win in a battle of winless teams against Shawnee last week. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Walton-Verona (0.552, 16th) 2. Carroll County (0.480, 22nd) 3. Owen County (0.387, 30th) 4. Gallatin County (0.297, 38th) District 6- "Oh look! A Beechwood appeared!" Beechwood is finding their form and that is a scary proposition! The Tigers Defense continues to play well and their Offense found their footing against Lloyd Memorial and have now posted 105 points in the past two weeks after only scoring 74 points in the six prior games. The Juggernauts can only hold on to the thin hope Newport can shock Beechwood and force a 3-way tie, but don't get your hopes up. Once the buzzer sounds in Fort Mitchell this one will be all set with Covington Holy Cross bringing up the distant rear. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Beechwood (0.640, 7th) 2. Lloyd Memorial (0.638, 8th) 3. Newport (0.606, 12th) 4. Covington Holy Cross (0.446, 25th) District 7- "I don't even need to put these rest of these pieces together, I know how it should look." Welcome to Breathitt County sacrificial win padding District. The Bobcats have literally toyed with everyone in District 7 and will most likely do so until they are the only team left after Round 2. Leslie County and Middlesboro are the only two teams who have shown an ability to even compete in short spurts. The Eagles will be the last team to fall to Breathitt in the regular season and will fall to 3rd once the dust settles. Middlesboro beat them by a point in a great game so at the very least the playoff rematch will be fun to watch. Knott County Central's win over Morgan County at the end of September will be what gets them into the playoffs. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. Breathitt County (0.655, 6th) 2. Middlesboro (0.603, 13th) 3. Leslie County (0.515, 19th) 4. Knott County Central (0.388, 29th) District 8- "That was better than I expected" West Carter has wrapped up the top seed. The Comets didn't exactly look the part of the eventual top team when they started 1-2, or even when they only beat hapless Prestonsburg 19-0, but when the games mattered the most they played great defeating Shelby Valley and Martin County 70-13 combined. Shelby Valley will wrap up an 8-2 season if they defeat Bath County this week and will lock up a #2 seed. Martin County has been a pleasant surprise with five wins and can end Prestonsburg's playoff hopes with a victory. If the Blackcats can rally for a win it will be a three-way tie for the Final two spots. In that event, it will be very difficult for the Blackcats to even get in unless they can win this week with only one Non-District win over a weak Powell County squad. Martin County's 5 wins will be tough to top and Bath County owns the second tie-breaker. Projected Finish (With Current PRI's): 1. West Carter (0.609, 11th) 2. Shelby Valley (0.611, 10th) 3. Martin County (0.532, 18th) 4. Bath County (0.434, 26th)
  9. The Undercard: Caldwell County at Murray Key #1- Keep it Balanced, Keep it Moving Murray is a team with great Offensive weaponry, particularly in the passing game led by hunter Utley and his dynamic receivers Tommy Waldrop, Jaiden Jackson, and Jorden Duffy. There is no question the Tigers have the proficiency to win a game through the air, but on Friday it may be prudent to be mindful of their running game. Caldwell County has allowed almost equal yardage in both the run and passing games and in both of their losses the run game being established helped to open up the pass and keep Caldwell off balance. Charvelle McCallister is more than capable of moving the sticks and every 20 yards he gains may equate to opening up a 20 yard pitch and catch. Key #2- Take BIG Chances Any hope of a Caldwell County upset begins and ends with taking risks, specifically risks deep. The boys from Princeton simply cannot get into a shootout with Murray and their Offense has not shown enough consistency to maintain drives and and sustain success. Caldwell may not have the elite athleticism they have displayed in the past on the outside, but there is still talent there and Murray's biggest vulnerability has been to teams capable of taking the top off their Defense. Caldwell will need to show some new wrinkles and dialing up the big play may give the best chance to steal points and keep them in the game. Key #3- Covet Thy Football Each team relies heavily on creating turnovers with their Defense to mask issues. Both defenses are very adept at creating opportunities and have each capitalized when those chances are before them. Murray to this point has done a very good job of protecting the football whereas Caldwell has had some issues with leaving empty possessions. Simply put, if the turnover margin is even or favors Murray it will be very difficult for Caldwell to win this game. The Blue Tigers need a positive turnover margin and moreover needs at least one of those turnovers to directly lead to points. It is also worth noting that if Caldwell turns it over it cannot be a Defensive TD the other way. With Murray's great athletes sudden points could be killer. The Pre-Cursor: Beechwood at Lloyd Memorial Key #1- One Dimension or None Dimension Neither team enters this game on the verge of breaking Offensive Efficiency records. Both Head Coaches would be quick to point out that their teams have struggled at times to find or maintain an identity and have had stretches in nearly every competitive game where their Offense has put the Defense behind the 8-Ball. With that said, both teams also subscribe to the theory of forcing balance even when that balance is struggling to be established. This is a game with serious long ranging ramifications so it is important to "scratch the itch" when it presents itself. Both Defenses are solid and in a game where 3rd and Distance will be hard to consistently overcome, the team who find what works on Offense and sticks with it may very well have the upper hand. Key #2- Make Them Sweat As previously alluded, it will not be easy for either team to consistently piece together 10+ play or long sustained drives due to both the Defensive ability of the opponent and the inconsistent nature of the Offenses. Both teams have to use this to their advantage and also capitalize when the few opportunities for a "shot" play presents itself. For Lloyd, use Treshawn Cody's length to try and create a mis-match and flip the field with a single jump ball. For Beechwood, set up some designed deep routes on play action out of the R.P.O. look. Lloyd will be heavily keyed on Hergott's legs and intermediate passing ability, force them to play deep. Key #3- Be Special in the Third Phase Field position and not leaving points off the board will be paramount. The team who can consistently shorten the field and subsequently force the opposition to have to gain an extra two or three First Downs will have a major advantage in this game. Prudence and patience on 4th Down may very well be a game changer and play every bit the role of a turnover. One huge advantage entering this game is at the Place Kicker position and it leans toward Beechwood. Colin Graman gives Beechwood a consistent ability to make the most of extra points and also gives them the freedom to post three points when drives stall in opposing territory. Lloyd Memorial has lived and died by the 2-point conversion and the 4th Down conversion, only attempting 8 PAT's with Half of those failing and no Field Goals. The Main Event: Somerset at Lexington Christian Academy Key #1- Contain and Maintain This is a game with an abundance of talent. There is no denying that and anyone who has followed Class 2A should know that at this point. In a game where weaponry is nothing short of locked and loaded, it is often who uses the most understated parts of their arsenal that often benefits the most. Both signal callers are well known for their passing ability, but it may very well be their ability to extend plays and make something out of nothing that proves the biggest key. Both QB's have the ability to put up sneaky rushing stats and in their biggest Offensive performances this rushing ability has proven vital to their success. With both defenses keyed up and desperate for the big play, it is very important to maintain fundamental football and keep contain. A missed sack opportunity could be a net difference of twenty to thirty yards if they allow either Sheron or Barnhardt the ability to scramble for the sticks and get to the second level. Key #2- Adapt, Improvise, Overcome Perhaps the most impressive thing on film about these teams this season has been each team's respective coaching staff's ability to game-plan and then subsequently pivot on that game-plan once the advantage has ran it's course. Both staffs have an incredible aptitude and do schemes that are more advanced than typical High School teams run. The chess match in the film room and then the overflow to the pressbox will play almost as big of a role as the great talent taking the field. At this point there are no secrets to what either team wants to establish and where they go when they need a big play, so it will be very curious to see which team comes out with the better recipe and then subsequently which team is the first to make a crucial adjustment. One particular aspect that will be especially telling is if Somerset can make strides in their RB production from last week. In the wake of the Alex Miller injury they relied on a heavier dose of Cam Austin against Danville and the Admirals actually did a pretty solid job of keeping him contained, only allowing around 3.3 yard per carry. The Briarjumpers need at least a 5 yard average from the RB spot this week. Key #3- Don't Lose Yourself in the Moment It's easy to fall into a trap with both of these Offenses. Seeing the explosion, individual talent, and big play ability it is easy to scheme for the worst case scenario or do things to try and prevent it from happening. The truth of the matter is in a game with two very good teams, it often comes down to the team who does the basics the best. Block, Tackle, Hold on to the Ball, and Do Your Job. Dearious Smith and Xavier Brown can toast you one on one or make a highlight reel play out of nothing. Kaiya Sheron may make a perfect deep ball to Kade Grundy after evading pressure. Big players make big plays. What you can't do though is help them do those things by simply playing bad football. The team who simply calms down and plays fundamental football the sooner will be the team most prepared to jump to an early lead. Furthermore, the under stated Defensive stars may play the biggest role on a night filled with Offensive superstars. Jase Bruner and Mikey Garland for Somerset and Andrew Long and Mattie Lebryk for LCA.
  10. Handicapping the Worst Case and Best Case Outcome for Select Season Finale's Lexington Christian Academy vs. Paintsville Worst Case: This will not be an easy game. Period. The Tigers may be small in numbers but are big on grit and have played a brutal schedule and been consistently stout on Defense. Ask Beechwood what Paintsville can do when they make it a low scoring affair. The worst case is LCA not only takes a RPI hit with a loss that hurts them down the road, but they lose a key playmaker. Best Case: For all the teams Paintsville have faced, LCA will bring the most unique look from an athleticism and skill standpoint. LCA capitalizes on big plays early and builds a nice lead and the Tiger staff gears down and both teams escape without injury. In the process, LCA gets another win to help bolster their RPI case and Mayfield takes a loss locking in the #1 overall seed. Somerset vs. 4A Corbin Worst Case: Simply put, the Briarjumpers need to remember the long game. Whether you are a 2-seed or not, the RPI seeds do not care. A loss here coupled with several big wins around them and Somerset may have to take their talents on the road after Round 1. They also need to protect their RB stable from injury. Best Case: They catch a Redhound team still smarting from their shocking loss and get not only a big win, but a class jump bonus that might give them all they need to take the top seed if LCA falters against Paintsville. Then it is simply a case of beating LCA in Round 2 and the playoff path opens up for Somerset favorably. Mayfield vs. Madisonville-North Hopkins Worst Case: After all the positive momentum and progress on Defense, Jeriah Hightower does what he has done so well and goes off and exploits weaknesses in the Cardinals' armor and subsequently cost them any shot at the #1 overall seed. Best Case: Win and Somerset will probably not have a chance to pass you for the top seed. Additionally, LCA is playing down as the Cards play up in Classification, so a victory means it will be possible to gain ground regardless if LCA wins or not. If Mayfield can secure the big momentum win, get some favorable breaks from their past opponents, and have a couple LCA failures from their wins... maybe just maybe War Memorial will host the first four rounds of the playoffs. Beechwood vs. Newport Central Catholic Worst Case: This is a game you simply cannot lose at this point if you are Beechwood. The Tigers have found a groove and found confidence and a loss here would totally submarine that progress. Additionally, a loss might cost them the top seed in the East. Best Case: In terms of moving up in the RPI, there really is not much to gain here. The #1 and #2 seeds overall seem pretty locked in, this is a game about self development. Beechwood needs their Offense to continue to hum and this could be a nice springboard into November. Breathitt County vs. Pike Central Worst Case: This is the only non-District team Breathitt will play with a winning record potentially. If the Bobcats somehow drop this game it will be a catastrophic loss and a harbinger of things to come. This is a game they should win, and a game that all of the top teams would win in the Class. Best Case: This is exactly the tune up Breathitt needs entering the playoffs and their starters actually get some additional reps and can put some window dressing on film. Pike Centrla should be a nice RPI boost and if Beechwood falters against NewCath, it might help them get the top seed in the East. Murray vs. Fulton County Worst Case: The worst possible scenario is a negative prognosis for Hunter Utley that costs him the rest of the season. In addition to that, between the hangover of back to back losses, the loss of their star QB, and possibly overlooking a vastly improved Fulton County team, the unthinkable happens and they get shocked. Best Case: Murray desperately needs a redound and something to pick their spirits up. A win here and their entire perception changes heading into a Round 1 rematch with Caldwell County that they know they can go toe to toe with. Lloyd Memorial vs. Elizabethtown Worst Case: Lloyd has not exactly been sharp in the past few weeks and with a blowout loss to Beechwood still weighing on their mind, following that up with a lopsided loss to Elizabethtown might strain their confidence and expose them to a potential upset against a Newport team who played them closer than the scoreboard suggested. Best Case: Lloyd can pass Breathitt County most likely if they win this game in terms of RPI seeding. They still have to dodge the elephant in the room Beechwood, but how many wonders would it do to have this huge upset under their belts heading into November knowing that a win against the Tigers in Round 2 gives them a favorable Round 3 game at home? West Carter vs. Russell Worst Case: West Carter has the distinction of being the one eyed man in the land of the blind right now. A loss here would really dampen a lot of the good things they have done, it also could open the door for Walton-Verona to leapfrog them and make them the 4-seed. There is a chance Beechwood may get shocked and not be there come Round 3. Slim... but a chance. There is no chance Breathitt County isn't standing. Being a 3-seed at least gives an opportunity to have a fairly evenly matched foe. Best Case: This one is all psychological. Beating a very heavily touted 3A team would do wonders for their confidence and let them know they can play with anyone they see in Round 3. There is no way Walton-Verona can jump them if they win and then if some chaos plays out, who knows! Walton-Verona vs. Louisville Holy Cross Worst Case: The Bearcat Offense, no longer in weak District play, relapses and suddenly they find themselves struggling to move the ball like times early in the season. They get locked into the 4-seed in the East and see a steep hill ahead. Best Case: Basically see everything written about West Carter's best case above. This would be their best win of the year and proof that they are trending up into November. A confident team is a scary team. Revenge of the 0'Fers Ballard Memorial was the heavy favorite to close out the playoff field for District 1, but Fort Campbell had other ideas. The Falcons secured their first win of the season in impressive fashion by grounding the Bombers 28-0. We mentioned last week about the wild and crazy District 3 drama and it was not done yet. All Metcalfe County needed to do to reach the playoffs was beat winless Green County. The Dragons had other ideas though and took down Metcalfe 14-6 in overtime led by RB Noah Grey who scored both TD's and added an impressive night leading their Defense. Speaking of District 3, the field is now set after the rare two way tie. Though Edmonson County lost to the one team who missed the playoffs entirely, the Wildcats secured the top seed by way of defeating Monroe County head to head for the Falcons' only loss in District play. Clinton County will settle into the third seed. The Hartz Edge= Unbelievable Statistics Owensboro Catholic has kind of flown under the radar this year. the Aces' kind of softened their schedule a bit and with some headliner acts taking the spotlight, it is easy to miss the Aces sitting at 8-1 entering their finale with 6A Apollo. As it stands, if you have not been following Owensboro Catholic, you have been missing out on an aerial display that makes even the Blue Angels stare in awe. QB Drew Hartz and WR Hagan Edge are putting up downright astounding numbers. Edge is averaging 120.7 receiving yards per game and has posted a remarkable 19 receiving scores. He has a bonus as well! He has also supplemented the running game for an additional 210 yards and 3 more scores, and also threw in a Pick 6 for the cherry on top. It is the gunslinger Hartz who really has stole the show though. The Senior has thrown for 3140 yards already including an eye popping 44 passing TD's. What can make that number sizzle any more? Well how about the 22:1 TD to Interception ratio? Hartz worst performance was the Aces' lone loss to Owensboro. In that game he threw both of his INT's. If you remove that game he would average a sterling 372 yards per game and 5 TD's per outing without a single pick. Expect the numbers to only grow. Apollo is an improved team from Week 1, but Defense is not their strong suit. The Eagles are allowing nearly 45 points per game and were lit up for 81 points by McCracken County earlier this year. In fact, the Eagles have not allowed less than 20 points all season and only had three games where they held their opponents under 40.
  11. There will be two notebook entries this week. Here is the first. Using the same format as the All-BGP Team, here are the superlatives for the 2019 Class 2A Season. OFFENSE QB - Jayden Stinson, Mayfield RB - C.A. Collins, Breathitt County RB - DeEric Hollowell, Caldwell County OL - Tre Arnold, Mayfield OL - Peyton Blackburn, Shelby Valley OL - Anthony Johns, LCA OL - William Long, Breathitt County OL - Ben Simmons, Somerset WR - Hagan Edge, Owensboro Catholic WR - Kade Neely, Mayfield WR - Dearious Smith, LCA K/P - Colin Graman, Beechwood DEFENSE DL - Nick Harless, Martin County DL - Sebastian Lawrence, Murray DL - Eian Leadingham, West Carter DL - Andrew Long, LCA DL - Darrian Bell, Danville LB - Chris Boarman, Owensboro Catholic LB - Jase Bruner, Somerset LB - Mattie Lebryk, LCA DB - Kaleal Davis, Newport DB - Gage Leadingham, West Carter DB - Brandon McClendon, Covington Holy Cross DB - Mason Williams, Beechwood ATHLETES ATH - Xavier Brown, LCA ATH - Jatavion Churchill, Washington County ATH - Leetavious Cline, West Carter ATH - Kade Grundy, Somerset ATH - Jabari Kyle, Middlesboro ATH - Dalton Meade, Shelby Valley ATH - Andre Mumphrey, Carroll County ATH - Braden Mundy, Owensboro Catholic ATH - Andrew Munster, McLean County ATH - Kaiya Sheron, Somerset ATH - Brandyn Slaughter, Breathitt County ATH - Tommy Waldrop, Murray PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kaiya Sheron, Somerset COACH OF THE YEAR: Noel Rash, Beechwood
  12. In the very first Notebook of the 2019 season, which was also the Pre-Season preview, the very first words mentioned about the 2019 Class 2A Season was as follows: QB1 is Storyline Number One Class 2A has not exactly lacked for solid QB play over in recent years, but it has never been as deep and rich in talent as what we will see in 2019. In fact, you can argue there might not be another Class in all of the Commonwealth with the wealth of riches that will be on display at the signal caller position from Mayfield to Jackson. As the 2019 State Finals fall upon us, no words have proven more prophetic as it was truly a special year of witnessing the QB position and the play of these signal callers certainly molded the landscape of where we are today. There is no surprise that as we narrow the field to the final two teams, arguably the top Senior and top Junior QB are the ones left standing. Before we dive deep into what is to come on Saturday, let's first showcase how Mayfield and Somerset reached this pinnacle. MAYFIELD 35 BEECHWOOD 7 Entering the week, the big question would be if Beechwood could rise to the occasion and go toe to toe with Mayfield's explosive offense. It didn't take long for the Cardinals to make a statement that they planned to do what they have done all season long, an 80-yard scoring strike from Jayden Stinson to Kade Neely, quickly gave Mayfield a 7-0 lead and forced Beechwood to have to play catch up. The star of the night proved to be Mayfield RB Kylan Galbreath. The Junior has slowly matured into one of the best backs in the Class, and he added his own 80-yard statement via the terrestrial route allowing Mayfield to jump out to a 14-0 lead which would prove insurmountable. Stinson and Neely's chemistry produced their 20th TD combo on the season and the Cardinals led 21-0. Beechwood would get a 43-yard scoring toss from Cameron Hergott to Parker Mason, but the hole was already too deep. With a comfortable lead in hand, and Beechwood struggling to sustain success on offense, Mayfield went with a very ground heavy attack in the final 24:00. Galbreath would add a Third Quarter score to break Beechwood's back, and then add his second 80-yard sprint to pay-dirt to get the small town travel agents booking hotel stays in Lexington. All told, Galbretah would tote the mail for 252 yards. Nelly would finish with another 150+ yard receiving performance and added an Interception for good measure on defense. Mayfield limited Beechwood to a meager 156 yards of total offense. SOMERSET 40 BREATHITT COUNTY 25 In last week's notebook it was foretold that Breathitt County would come out with vinegar in their veins and try to make a statement early, but ultimately the more battle tested and veteran Briarjumper team would steady themselves and ultimately take care of business. That is exactly what happened in the Briar Patch. The first two plays on offense for Breathitt County quickly produced two scores and a 13-0 lead. A long TD pass on play action to Jacob Noble from Jaylen Turner followed by a lengthy TD jaunt by C.A. Collins had the Bobcats stirring. Somerset answered with a lengthy and efficient drive that stilled the nerves and made a statement. Jase Bruner ultimately would punch it in from shy of the 10 yard line. Bruner was not finished. On the ensuing posession he snagged pivotal Interception. The ensuing play on offense was a Kaiya Sheron to Kade Grundy fade that quickly resulted in Somerset's first lead at 14-13. Somerset would extend their lead when Grundy turned a short pass into a 75-yard sprint to the endzone. Breathitt refused to break, another Collins TD would cap off their next drive following the score that brought the Bobcats within two points at 21-19 early in the 2nd Quarter. Somerset made their biggest statement in how they closed out the Half. Another impressive drive mixing the pass and run concluded with a Mikey Garland score. After the second pass by Turner to be picked off, the Jumper two-minute offense went to work and secured a 34-19 lead at the break after Sheron located Carson Gurthie for a short scoring strike from the 8-yard line. Somerset had a chance to put the game out of reach coming out of the break but lost a fumble and gave Breathitt new life. C.A. Collins continued to showcase why he was the top RB in Class 2A by capping off the drive for his third score bringing the Bobcats back within striking distance at 34-25. Garland would add his second score on the ground early in the 4th Quarter to set what would be the final margin at 40-25. Breathitt's fate was then sealed with the third picked off pass, Tate Madden's second, and it was a matter of milking the clock from there on. The ever versatile and efficient Sheron did what he has done all season. He paced the Jumpers with 316 total yards, throwing for over 200 and rushing or over 100, and accounting for three scores. Kade Grundy would snag 10 passes and gain 145 yards in a mostly possession based role outside of his 75-yard score. MAYFIELD VS. SOMERSET So it all comes down to this. Perhaps the two most balanced and advanced offensive teams in Class 2A, as well as perhaps two of the most opportunistic defenses, squaring off with the hardware on the line. So where do we start when handicapping what to expect come Saturday? Here are the Three Keys for each team: SOMERSET 1. Spread Them Thin- The teams who have sustained the most success against the Cardinal defense this season has done so by forcing the Cardinal LB's and Secondary to play sideline to sideline and down the seams. Mayfield is a vastly improved defense after some early season hiccups, but they still are not exactly the Legion of Boom in the back half. Somerset needs to utilize their athleticism and size and create some jump ball situations as well as use some short passes in the flats to open up the intermediate stuff in the middle of the field and lanes to run. 2. Don't be Sheron the Football- It would be easy for Sheron to rely on his talent and be a gunslinger with his skill-set, but the Junior has been a model of consistency and needs to continue that in the Finals. The last thing you want against Mayfield is to give them extra opportunities to score points, so protecting the football and making decisive moves will be key. When Sheron does choose to scramble, it is paramount to take what is given to him and not jeopardize a fumble or injury looking for the extra yard. Mayfield is good enough to beat you, don't give them an edge. 3. Selective Amnesia- Mayfield will hit big plays. It is a foregone conclusion. Outside of some of the big class teams remaining, this would be the case against nearly any team in Kentucky, let alone Class 2A. They are geared to do this and have the personnel to pull it off. The key for Somerset is to accept that big plays will happen, but don't let them haunt you r force you out of your game plan. With every deep fly or post is an opportunity for a big gain, but also an opportunity for Somerset's excellent talent to make their own big play. Play every down in the present and just try to equal the amount of big plays Mayfield makes, and let your offense do their consistent thing. MAYFIELD 1. Do That Thing You Just Did- The best way to beat Somerset is to beat them at their own game. LCA handed Somerset their lone loss and gave them a heck of a battle following this recipe. Be efficient on offense, control the clock, and pick your battles to go for a big play on both sides of the ball. The model Mayfield exhibited most of the game against Beechwood is perfect. The Cardinals established the run and leaned on it, while picking spots to attack for the big play using Stinson, Neely, and the lot. 2. Win Special Teams- By and large, both teams are pretty even and similar in most regards in the two primary disciplines. Somerset is not a weak team in Special Teams, but they are not a dominant team. The Jumpers have had some inconsistencies and Mayfield has a chance to make some ground up in this discipline. Micah Haley has been ultra consistent in his place kicking duties and his ability to hit a Field Goal could be an added bonus in a game where every point matters. Diaz Perry is a very under the radar Cardinal athlete, if he can make some magic in the return game it could be a catalyst. 3. Livin' on the Edge- The single biggest battle to watch when seeing Somerset's defensive strategy may very well be how the Jumpers set the edge and keep contain against Sheron's scrambling ability. Frankly put, Sheron's feet are every bit as dangerous on 3rd and Distance as his arm. The teams who have made Somerset the most uncomfortable have been the teams who have done the best job of pressuring Sheron off the edge while avoiding allowing him to scramble into the second level. Mayfield has to be strategic on when they choose to bring pressure because between Sheron's elusiveness and Grundy's ability to dominate single coverage, it could be a recipe for disaster or the key in getting them off the field. PREDICTION Expect a great one. These are two very entertaining teams with loads of star power and big play ability. The small details will add up in this one, so the team who simply executes the best in every discipline will ultimately be in the best position. Call it a sentimental pick, but Somerset's great tradition simply has not matched their trophy case for many years. This may be Somerset's best chance to get that elusive title and it also may be Kaiya Sheron's ultimate "Look at Me" moment and his platform for a 2020 Mr. Football push. Somerset 36 Mayfield 35
  13. Top-Ranked Cardinals Scrape by Tigers It was an uncomfortable feeling that Mayfield fans simply are not accustomed to. Not only were the Cardinals trailing in the Second Half, it was to an unranked team, and one from the Western part of the State. That combination simply has not seemed plausible over the tenure of Mayfield’s historic past, let alone when the Cardinals entered as the #1 team in their respective class. Trailing 16-14 to Hopkinsville heading into the 4th Quarter and facing a Tiger Offense that simply continued to make plays and convert 3rd Downs, Cardinal fans certainly had to wonder if this was the night they would be unseated as the top-ranked team in Class 2A. Jayden Stinson made sure to get the Cardinals on the right track. Stinson would ultimately throw two huge 2nd Half TD’s, three in total for the game, as he topped the 300-yard mark once again. Stinson would hit Kade Neely on a short pass and Neely would do the rest sprinting for a 85-yard scoring strike to finally give the Cardinals the advantage. Mayfield would add a pretty 63-yard pitch and catch to Alonzo Daniel to extend their lead to 27-16. Hopkinsville refused to die; the Tigers closed the gap to 27-22 on a 50-yard pass to Reece Jesse from Jay Bland. The Cardinals would get enough plays to run out the final two minutes and secure the win over the 4A Tigers. Up next, Mayfield will play a monster rivalry game against 3A Paducah Tilghman. The Blue Tornado are ranked in 3A’s Top-10 and have one of the tougher teams they have fielded in recent years. Beechwood Loses More Than Just a Game to Paintsville Beechwood lost a regular season game to a Class 1A team? Believe it or not, this was the case Friday as Beechwood took a 19-14 loss on the chin to Paintsville on a neutral site at Georgetown College. The last time the Tigers lost a regular season game to a Kentucky 1A school was 2005 when Bellevue defeated them 27-21. The Tigers' Offense seemingly had a good thing going early as Beechwood clawed to a 14-0 lead behind a pair of Cameron Hergott scoring runs. That lead would last into the Second Half where Paintsville RB John Walker Phelps would hit pay-dirt to pull Paintsville within a point. The Tigers in Blue would then get QB Jake Hyden’s second scoring toss, an 86-yard catch-and-run to Karsten Poe, to set the eventual Final Score. Beechwood showed resiliency and put together a drive into Paintsville territory with the clock winding under 2:00 to go in the game. Hyden had one last trick up his sleeve, this time on Defense, by high pointing a 4th Down pass for the game sealing Interception. The loss was made even more painful for the Tigers as they lost a pair of players with apparent concussion symptoms and may have lost one of their top players in RB/LB Josh Derry to an injury that may have multiple weeks of recovery. The Tigers have a murderer’s row of a schedule ahead for them. They will take on #2 Somerset next week and then draw heavily ranked 3A Corbin, 5A Covington Catholic, and uber athletic Cincinnati school Taft. The potential for an 0-5 start is very real. District 4 Drama Somerset is simply dominant early in the season. The only negative in Somerset’s 75-13 blitzkrieg of 5A Montgomery County will be the criticism of “running the score up”. Somerset’s Offense is clicking on all-cylinders the Bunnies left zero doubt on the road that they are firmly in the picture as a Class 2 Title contender. Next week they have a chance to cement their spot and even make a claim for the top spot when they bring Beechwood to the Briar Patch. Lexington Christian Academy fell to 1-1, but you can file their 39-20 loss to 3A powerhouse Belfry on the road under “Quality Loss, Quality Performance”. The Eagles showed no fear and brought the fight to Belfry trailing only 26-20 entering the 4th Quarter. The undersized Eagles executed very well at the Line of Scrimmage and gave Belfry fits, but ultimately some fine coaching by Philip Haywood and Belfry’s explosive backfield put the game away around the midnight mark. Danville’s convincing Week 1 win over John Hardin could not propel them to a 2nd straight when over a team from the Bluegrass Parkway area. Bardstown is a sleeper team in Class 3A with good size, athleticism, and experience and the Tigers simply outlasted the young Admirals for a 28-7 win that will jeopardize the Admirals falling out of the Top 10. Danville broke a scoreless tie in the 3rd Quarter to take a 7-0 lead on Brady Morse to Corydon Crawford scoring toss, but the ensuing kickoff would quickly equalize the score and suffocate whatever momentum the Admirals had mustered. A pair of big plays by the Bardstown Offense put the game within their grasp, and a late Pick-6 put it on ice. Breathitt Backs It Breathitt County, as a new edition to thee Class 2A picture, is a team with a lot of eyes on them. The Bobcats have a lot of hype and expectations, but for many there is still a question of validation for a team that has yet to really prove they are a threat on the field. The say that the Bobcats’ schedule leaves a lot to be desired is an understatement. As far as Top 10 teams go, it may be the lightest in Class 2A. One of the better challenges to gauge the Bobcats appeared to be 5A South Laurel. The Cardinals are not exactly a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination, but they are expected to be a solid enough team. The Bobcats left little doubt that they are in fact a team that has improved leaps and bounds by ambushing South Laurel on their way to a 43-8 victory. Breathitt led 28-0 at the Half and extended the lead to 43-0 before the Cardinals added a late score on the running clock. Churchill Is Running Washington County has exploded onto the scene in 2019 with a pair of wins over larger classification opponents by a combined score of 104-0. The latest victim was 5A Atherton, who left little challenge for the Commanders in a 48-0 pounding. The story so far has been the Commander Defense which has stonewalled both opponents and Senior dual-threat QB Jatavian Churchill who has looked phenomenal. Against the Rebels, Churchill accounted for 228 all-purpose yards and 3 TD’s. Through the first two games he already has 7 TD’s and almost 500 total yards while averaging over 22 yards per rushing attempt. The Commanders have also benefited from a new face. Junior RB Mike Ellery has also been superb in his own regard with 9 carries for 223 yards and 6 TD’s. That is a staggering average of nearly 25 yards per carry in his own regard. The Commanders will step up in competition the next two weeks with a solid 1A Kentucky Country Day and then a huge game against a very respectable 3A Bardstown. If these two can keep a similar pace, there may be big things happening this year in Commander Country. Quick Kicks: - Not only will Mayfield draw a notable game against their historic rival Paducah Tilghman, two other Class 2A teams will face rivalry games against powerhouses from higher classes. Danville takes on 4A Boyle County in the Battle for Title Town. Owensboro Catholic challenges 5A Owensboro for the right to be the toast of Daviess County. - Leslie County will have one of their biggest challenges of the regular season when they travel to the Cumberland River valley to take on 1A Williamsburg. The Yellowjackets are an Offensive machine led by human highlight reel QB Dalton Ponder. Last season Williamsburg won in Hyden 40-30. - Newport and Carroll County have one of the more low-key intriguing games on the early season. Newport is 2-0 after punishing Bishop Brossart 38-6 behind Kaleal Davis’ 299 all-purpose yards. Carroll County posted their second straight win by a two-point margin by knocking off 3A Henry County 28-26. The Panthers have their own dual threat standout in Andre Mumphrey.
  14. Two Rivers Moving in The Opposite Direction… A watershed is the geographical area where the flow of water literally is defined. Depending on which side of the watershed you are on, you could find the same rainstorm flowing in two opposite directions. Friday night Class 2A may have found a watershed moment between two of its top teams, Somerset and Beechwood, as the two faced off in a battle of Pre-Season Top 3 ranked teams. Beechwood entered the year as the new kid on the block with all the popularity coming with them. The Tigers were the three-time reigning 1A Champs and from reputation alone was expected to perhaps be the top threat to challenge Pre-Season #1 Mayfield. Somerset was the trendy team that has only seen one trip to the State Finals in recent memory but returned enough of a core of talent and some promising underclassmen stardom to generate positive buzz. Following the Briarjumpers’ 46-14 win, there is no question which stream seems to be flowing toward the promised land. Beechwood seemed to be moving the right direction when the opening kickoff was taken to the house by Parker Mason to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. That lead would last deep into the First Quarter, then the flood gate opened. The turning point came on Somerset’s second scoring drive. The Briarjumpers were at the pinnacle of their second deep drive and seemingly had Beechwood on the ropes but faced a 4th and Goal at the 1. A fumble temporarily seemed to be just the luck the Tigers needed for second win, but instead Somerset would recover and punch it in to take a 13-7 lead. The very next Somerset possession Kade Grundy would take a short pass and turn it into a crippling 78-yard sprint for a 20-7 lead that Beechwood would never threaten. The Briarjumpers would post nearly 500 total Offensive yards and would even get a kick return for a score of their own just to make sure it was clear they were the superior team in all disciplines. The Briarjumpers physically dominated the line of scrimmage and simply imposed their will in an impressive manner. The ineffectiveness at the line of scrimmage is an ominous sign for Beechwood. The Tigers knew that outside of Cameron Hergott they would have a lot of youth at the skill positions entering the 2019 season, but traditionally it has been the Tigers’ consistent advantage up front that has allowed Beechwood to hold court against many if not all small schools. With an unrelenting schedule featuring 4A Corbin, 5A Covington Catholic, 6A Dixie Heights, and perennially solid Cincinnati Taft it is not within reason that an 0-6 start Is a legitimate possibility. To avoid this becoming a reality the Tigers will have to find some assistance for Hergott, specifically in the running game. On the other side of the coin, Somerset is already 3-0 and with three Class 1A teams ahead of them, a 6-0 record entering District play is certainly the most likely scenario. Where Beechwood has lacked secondary options, the Briarjumpers has overflowed with riches: RB Alex Miller has been superb and the 1-2 punch of Grundy and Jayden Gilmore at receiver has been unrelenting on opposing Defenses. French Renaissance In Middlesboro, Kentucky? Larry French might not be on the Mount Rushmore of Kentucky Coaching Legends, but his Hall of Fame career is certainly one that the vast majority of coaches in the Commonwealth wish they had. French has a proven track record of taking programs that are trending downward and revitalizing them. In his time he has taken Meade County and Boyle County to the State Finals, with Boyle winning two titles. He has surpassed the 300-win mark and is among the Top 10 coaches for All-Time victories in the State, and is currently 4th among active coaches. French left Southwestern after bringing the Warriors to a consistent Regional Final and State Semi-Finalist contender level in a somewhat abrupt and surprising move, choosing to go to Middlesboro. The Yellowjackets, a once feared small-school program, were 1-10 in 2018, and entered the season with a 5-39 record since the start of the 2015 season. Middlesboro collected their first win over a ranked Non-District opponent in a lengthy amount of time by outlasting Lynn Camp 28-27 in Overtime. With the victory, the Yellowjackets have already doubled their win total from 2018 and seem poised to match to finish the year with more than the five wins mentioned above. Middlesboro is still a long way away from the heights of Kenny Roark's glory days, but French certainly has changed the trajectory of the program and has the entire team believing. It also doesn't hurt having an Athlete like Jabari Kyle. The Senior has rushed for 496 yards and 10 TD's, he has also added 191 receiving yards and a pair of scores as well. The performance of Kyle also underlies another significance to having French. Kyle did not play last year at Middlesboro as he was focusing on basketball, the ability of French to look within his own hallways to maximize talent on his roster is certainly going to be vital to turning the ship around. So what does the future hold for Middlesboro? Middlesboro has winnable games against Harlan and Pineville coming up before huge showdowns with Breathitt County and Leslie County. The new alignment has moved Middlesboro out of their previous gauntlet of a District, but they will have their playoff ceiling quickly defined with the two top teams awaiting. If Middlesboro can somehow emerge as one of the Top 2 teams, they have a strong chance to gain further momentum with three more winnable games to close out the regular season. Once again, this might not be the year the Jackets sting the East, but if Coach French's past history is any indication that day may be coming. Quick Hitters: - Newport makes their debut in the Bluegrasspreps' Top 10 rankings on the heels of a 42-0 beat down of Carroll County. The Wildcats have a definite chance at being 5-0 heading into a rivalry game September 27th against Newport Central Catholic. Kaleal Davis has been superb early in the season. - The most entertaining game of the week went to Washington County and Kentucky Country Day. The 1A Bearcats defeated Washington County 41-39 after the Commanders fumbled in the final seconds in a game with over 900 yards of total Offense. The Notebook highlighted Jatavian Churchill last week and he continued his jaw dropping performances with 359 total yards and accounted for three TD's on the ground. Things do not get easier for the Commanders with a very stout 3A Bardstown up next. - Dearious Smith hauled in a ridiculous 12 catches for 243 yards in LCA's 47-37 win over Cincinnati Hills Christian. Smith is having a breakout year and will need to show up again for the Eagles against 6A Madison Central. Another WR having an impressive early season is Lloyd Memorial's Treshawn Cody. Cody had a key TD reception in Lloyd's 22-14 win over Boone County. - Murray's DL Sebastian Lawrence is off to a great start. He had a monster game in the Tigers' 58-7 win over Calloway County with 9 solo tackles, 5 TFL, and 3 sacks. He added a forced fumble for good measure. The Tigers will take on a veteran 3A Union County in a game that they will want for RPI rating purposes.
  15. McCracken County Stuns Mayfield I don't think anyone who truly knows High School Football would say that 6A McCracken County had no shot against Top-Ranked Mayfield. The Mustangs are always a respectable team filled with athleticism and play making ability, but the Cardinals have had the larger school's number and was favored for good reason. What was truly shocking was the manner in which McCracken won the game, on Mayfield's home field where they enjoyed a 31-game winning streak, in an Offensive explosion that the Cardinals simply could not even slow down. Mustang QB Elijah Wheat may have provided the blueprint to beat the Cardinals, err, or at least they perfected the blueprint. Wheat threw for 368 yards and 4 TD's, the brunt of that impact being hauled in by Franklin Hayes who went off for 275 yards and three of those scores, as Mayfield's secondary simply could not get off the field. The frustrating part for Mayfield is they may have seen this coming. Putting the Lausanne Collegiate and Paducah Tilghman games aside, two teams who prefer making their paydays on the ground, the Cardinals' narrow escape over Hopkinsville certainly should have waved red flags. The Tigers also eclipsed the 300-yard mark and their star WR Reece Jesse was too tall of a task for the Cardinals to cover as he hauled in 9 catches for 171 yards and 2 TD's. With two teams that have vandalized the Mayfield Defense it certainly should cause a bit of optimism for the rest of the class against a team that was the unanimous favorite entering the year. With Class 2A enjoying a bumper crop of QB talent, pass heavy teams have to be thinking at least they have a puncher's chance if they can find some points through the air. The Notebook will be quick to remind everyone, don't expect this to be doom and gloom in Cardinal Country. Mayfield has had "slow" starts on Defense under Coach Morris in the past and still rallied to put it together and get the hardware when it was all said and done. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 the Mustangs also put up a ton of points early in the year on the Cardinal Defense, all three years ended with a Mayfield State Title. In particular, 2015 the Mustangs also defeated Mayfield 37-31. The Cardinals would only allow 20+ points one more time that year. Fly Eagles, Fly One team in particular who is not afraid to air out the football is Lexington Christian Academy. The Eagles have settled in nicely since the midpoint of last season with Jayden Barnhardt at QB1, and the results have started to come. Madison Central may not be at the same level as their 2018 6A Semi-Finalist team, but anytime a 2A team can handle a 6A team 45-15 on a neutral field, it certainly merits attention. Barnhardt was tremendous throwing for 309 yards and 4 TD's while also pacing their ground game as the leading rusher. It is pretty clear that he has found his security blanket in Dearious Smith, who added yet another 100+ yard receiving night. What should have Defensive Coordinators nervous is Barnhardt is starting to find more opportunities to use the explosive Xavier Brown as a receiving threat out of the backfield. Brown had 7 catches for 129 yards and two scores, and simply kept the Indian Defense in a constant state of confusion. Brown and Smith have quickly became one of the most explosive duos in Class 2A and have already surpassed 1000 total yards between the two of them through only 4 games. They will need these two to keep their big plays coming as the Eagles' next foe is the red hot Lexington Catholic Knights with Fayette County Private School Supremacy on the Line. Last season Lexington Catholic dismantled LCA 54-13 and left little doubt. Expect this year's match-up, win or lose, to serve as a measuring stick to where the Eagles have come. Ater watching Beau Allen carve them up a year ago, this is a prime opportunity to show they have improved Defensively and are simply put a better team than a year ago. If LCA can stand toe to toe with the Knights, it bodes well that they are probably on a similar level as Mayfield or Somerset, two teams with equally as lethal Offenses with big-time QB's. Meanwhile in the West... While it was a LOSS by Mayfield that stole the headlines, there were no shortage of impressive WINS by the Western teams to go around. Caldwell County never really broke a sweat against a ranked 1A Crittenden County on their way to a convincing 36-14 win. Up next is old 3A rival Union County. Murray took a loss to Union County in 2018 in a Defensive struggle. The grit and grind was still there in 2019, but it was the Tigers who came out on top 21-7 against a very stout 3A squad. The Tigers now get another veteran 3A team in 4-0 Trigg County. Owensboro Catholic beat up on former Head Coach John Edge's South Spencer, Indiana team 54-14. Drew Hartz is off to a very good 2019 campaign and he kept it going with 4 scoring tosses. Three cheers for Todd County Central. Actually, let's technically make that four cheers as the Rebels are now 4-0 officially after an officiating issue led to a forfeit decision against Fort Knox. The Rebels have scored 111 points the past two games and crushed 4A Hopkins County Central 60-34. Todd Central should be 5-0 heading into their game with Owensboro Catholic. The King of the North Returns? Beechwood desperately needed a big win against Corbin too get back on track and stop the bleeding. The Tigers definitely looked more like the team we all expected as they controlled the Line of Scrimmage and made key plays in their 26-10 win over the Redhounds. Cameron Hergott continued to make his case as truly being the Most Valuable Player to his team's success in Class 2A. The junior signal caller made big play after big play using his arm and feet including several drive continuing conversions that allowed the Tigers to shorten the game and keep heavy handed pressure on the Corbin Offense. Walton-Verona entered the year as the team from Northern Kentucky with the most recent hardware with "Class 2A Regional Champion" stamped on it. The Bearcats were promptly unseated by Lloyd Memorial in Week 1, but they showed serious signs of team growth by taking 1A Newport Central Catholic to the wire before falling 10-7. The Defense is certainly rounding into form for the Bearcats, but their Offense is still struggling to mesh with a youthful line. With District play starting this week for Walton-Verona, expect them to start getting some wins and confidence. Lloyd Memorial's third straight game playing up in Class was not as fruitful as they wished as they fell to a stout 5A Conner 24-12. Though the Juggs' Offense is still far from post-season form, their Defense definitely appears to be ahead of schedule. Newport indeed improved to 4-0 by blasting over-matched Bracken County as expected, if they can beat Holmes, it will set up a mammoth clash for Newport Stadium bragging rights.
  16. #CaldwellStrong Sometimes stars simply burn out too soon. Coach David Barnes left the world far too early in the week leading up to Caldwell County’s season opener against 5A Christian County after an inspiring battle against Parkinson’s Disease. The news rocked Western Kentucky and the Princeton community, but out of the tragedy beauty prevailed in a very unpredictable manner. The Tiger community gave an outpouring of love and Barnes’ legacy was felt from the numerous heavy hearts of his colleagues around the State. After an emotional start, the Tigers gave the ultimate tribute to Barnes. Barren Wells had the very first touch of the football for the Tigers and he immediately turned it into a 65-yard Punt Return to give the Tigers their first points and electrify the Caldwell community. The Tigers would eventually score three times, all in improbable and almost divine fashion en route to the 19-14 victory over the 5A power. They added a second Special Teams score from Wells with a kickoff return and possibly the most special of all was a TD pass that was tipped twice by Christian County defenders before falling into the hands of Tripp Branch. Despite being out-gained by nearly double, the Tigers persevered and brought a win the community will remember for decades to come. Though the win is what we all will cherish in the present and memorialize Barnes with, it is pertinent to also look back at his legacy. Barnes began his career as an assistant at Murray and Daviess County. Eventually, Barnes turned his position at Daviess to the Head Coaching position for thirteen seasons before moving to Caldwell County in 2006. Caldwell County was Barnes’ alma mater where he was a standout RB during his playing days and a current member of their Hall of Fame. Barnes has served as the Tigers’ Head Coach since he returned and was the active Athletic Director as well. Barnes was named the Kentucky Football Coaches Associate Coach of the Year in 2014 (2A) and 2017 (3A). He led his Tigers to the State Finals in 2012, a team led by current Purdue starting Quarterback Elijah Sindelair who developed under Barnes’ instruction. I spoke off the record to a former player of Barnes at Daviess County who had nothing but praise for Barnes and insisted that for all the successes he had on the field, it was his charismatic personality and genuine interest in having a relationship with his kids that will always stand as the greatest legacy he will leave behind. For all the kids he helped to continue their education by earning football scholarships, there are countless more that were impacted by his guidance and compassion that bettered their life trajectory as a result. Long-time Caldwell County Assistant Coach Waynee McGowan will take over in Barnes’ absence as the Head Coach. On behalf of the entire Bluegrasspreps.com community, Barnes will be missed but his legacy will live on. Somerset Goes Viral and Their Offense Goes Off Somerset announced that turf would be coming to The Briarpatch in the Off-Season and for most outside of the program the news did little to resonate with the growing trend to switch to synthetic surfaces firmly in-tact around the State. As the project neared completion though, the inspiration images of the final product were made public and with them the Briarjumpers gained positive publicity for a very simple yet profound twist they made to their final design. Somerset added a field, yard markers and end-zone area included, to the area behind the goal posts with the intention of letting kids play on it while the game was even going on. For many people reading this Notebook, we can all hearken back to fond memories of High School Football from our childhood centered on Friday Nights where an impromptu pickup game of football beneath the lights on nearby patches of grass or the back of the end-zone during the initial minutes of Halftime were what we lived for. Having the opportunity, even if for five minutes, to imitate the “big kids” with diving catches in the end-zone or tip toeing the sideline, was not only the height of nostalgia, but also a keystone foundation that led to players kick starting their career. In an era where participation numbers in sports is universally as low as it has ever been, programs are finding that their biggest competition often is not just the team on the other sideline, but the controllers of video games that keep individuals at home on Friday nights. The idea to make a special place for youngsters which will encourage this right of passage will certainly bring many smiles but also potentially help instill that sense of community and program pride. Friday, the Briarjumpers christened their new field by pummeling 3A Rockcastle County 40-0. On Somerset’s first play from scrimmage QB Kaiya Sheron hit WR Kade Grundy in stride for a Touchdown on a play that will now be cemented in the rich tradition of Somerset football. Somerset would roll up 463 total yards from a balanced Offense that gained 243 via the pass and another 220 on the ground. Grundy would lead the way with 4 catches for 138 yards and 2 TD’s, while Sheron, Alex Miller, and Jase Bruner would each add a rushing TD. All told, Somerset could not have scripted a better week to kick off their 2019 Class 2A Title march. Northern Kentucky Re-Alignment Two teams from the Northern Kentucky delegation of Class 2A went a long way in making sure they needed to command an increase in respect with the Week 1 performances. Walton-Verona , a Semi-Finalist in 2018 and the last Northern Kentucky team left standing in Class 2A, opened the 2019 season with the highest ranking. Lloyd Memorial made short work of that, as the Juggernauts left little doubt who the better team was in their 30-6 victory on the road. Lloyd Memorial entered the year as a team with big question marks that could not be ignored. The Juggs lost over 80% of their Offensive output and did not exactly finish 2018 on the highest of notes. With that said, those question marks quickly turned to exclamation marks behind a Defense that limited Walton-Verona’s rush heavy Offense to a meager 65 yards and an Offense that out-gained the Bearcats 398-168 in total yards. Dakota Thiel embraced his new role as feature back by exploding for 247 yards rushing. Thiel was the primary Quarterback in 2018 and accounted for the majority if the slim amount of returning production they did bring back. In the Bluegrasspreps.com's Pre-Season Preview you may remember mention of Treshawn Cody who was making his football debut after making his name known on the hardwood. Cody dropped jaws by debuting with 92 yards receiving and a TD. As Lloyd exposed a weakness in the Bearcat armor, Carroll County was doing their best to establish on their own accord that District 5 will not be a single team race. The Panthers knocked off the Pre-Season #10 ranked Ludlow Panthers. Carroll County dropped their season opener to Ludlow and plodded along to a very mundane 7-5 record. Carroll improved throughout the season and gave Walton-Verona a scare, but with a strong core returning including the dynamic Andre Mumphrey, the Panthers may just have something up their sleeve for a Walton-Verona team that has been unbeatable in District play in recent years. Eastern Teams Lead a Class 2A vs. Large School Statement The teams from the Mountains have not exactly carried the banner as the representative of Class 2A in recent years. Between difficult playoff match-ups and self-inflicted wounds brought forth from injuries or scheduling, some of these teams have been striving for respect and are hoping that 2019 is the year they flip the script. Shelby Valley looked super impressive by steamrolling 4A Letcher Central 44-22. Dalton Meade was sensational stepping out of Seth Johnson’s shadow for 373 rushing yards and 4 TD’s as Valley amassed 538 yards in total on the ground. Not to be outdone, former District running mate Leslie County proved all the pre-season buzz was founded by taking care of business against 5A Perry Central 32-20. Last season the Commodores only taste defeat once in the first 8 weeks of the season. The trend of Class 2A taking care of business against the larger class was not exclusive to the 606 area code. As previously mentioned, Caldwell County bit 5A Christian County for an emotional win and Owensboro Catholic lit the scoreboard up 68-27 over 5A Ohio County. Danville made a big statement to their doubters by routing 4A John Hardin 48-14. Lexington Christian Academy, Todd County Central, and Newport also took care of their foes from Class 4A. The one notable exception was Murray who fell to a ranked 5A Graves County 38-35. The Tigers came as close to winning this one as possible. Murray was on the 1-yard line of Graves in the final stretch of the game but lost a fumble on a tackle in the backfield and with it lost their chance at the win. Quick Snaps: - Mayfield did Kentucky and Class 2A proud by sending Lausanne Collegiate (TN) back to the Volunteer State sporting a 45-22 loss. Lausanne was an 11-win team last season in Tennessee’s second largest Private School Classification. - Everyone who saw a ranked Breathitt County playing 1A Jenkins knew this was a game that should not have been scheduled, and apparently so did both Head Coaches. Jenkins fielded only 13 total players and was prepared to forfeit. Knowing this would cost the Cavaliers their share of the gate and concessions, Breathitt instead agreed to leave the game on and play 8 vs. 8 football instead in a very fitting show of sportsmanship. - Beechwood was off to open the initial week of action, the Tigers will make their debut at Georgetown College against a ranked 1A Paintsville team. - Middlesboro won a single game in 2018 and after one week of the season have already reached that high-water mark. Coach French will have to coach his team up to knock off 1A Williamsburg.
  17. Aces Trump Owensboro After an 0-2 start where Owensboro Catholic lost both games by over 3+ Touchdowns, many thought Owensboro Catholic was going to be an after though in the loaded Class 2A picture just like last season. The Aces had a surprise up their sleeve as they shocked rival 5A Owensboro 45-32, handing one 5A's top teams a reality check few expected. Owesboro led 32-27 entering the final frame but had no answer for QB Drew Hartz as the Aces outscored the Red Devils 18-0 in the final frame. Hartz would finish 23/34 for 362 yards and 4 TD's. Vonn Williams would add over 100 yards rushing as the Aces finished with nearly 600 total yards. An interesting story-line was the fact Hartz also out-dueled Owensboro QB Will Warren. Warren was the former starting QB at Owensboro Catholic before transferring to the City School, he finished 21/36 for 251 yards and had 1 TD but 2 Interceptions. Interestingly enough, besting Will Warren will not be the only story-line of a similar yoke. South Spencer, Indiana will cross the Glover Cary bridge this week and sitting in the front row will be Head Coach John Edge. Edge departed Ownesboro Catholic after a long tenure that included trips to the State Finals this past off-season. His Rebels enter 0-3, so the Aces have to feel good that they can go undefeated against prominent members of their locker room last season. Top Ranked Teams Too Tough For Two Teams Danville probably has had their fill of 3A's top teams. The Admirals took on both participants in last year's 3A State Finals in successive weeks, losing to Corbin 28-10 two weeks ago and losing to Boyle County 34-17 on Friday. The Admirals actually jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the rival Rebels, but Boyle would outscore them 34-3 after to hand Danville their second loss in as many weeks. Previously the Admirals had only lost two games in a stretch of 23 games. Fellow District 7 program Somerset had their own challenge against a team with an Alpha number and a 2017 State Championship trophy in their case. Somerset took on Beechwood in a monsoon last year and earned respect when they only lost 7-0. This year the Jumpers had similar in-climate weather, but a much more dubious outcome. Beechwood jumped out to a 28-0 lead before the storms rolled in halfway through the 2nd Quarter offering the Briarjumpers a form of mercy. It appeared by all indications that Somerset was on the way to a rare running clock loss for their proud program as Beechwood dominated every phase of the game until the event was called due to lightning. CAL Versuses Hardin County; Round 1 Goes to the Centurions DeSales stole the headlines and stole a spot in the rankings over rival Christian Academy of Louisville when they posted back to back impressive wins over ranked 6A foes. CAL obviously wanted to make a statement of their own and that is exactly what they did by crushing Central Hardin 49-21 in a game that didn't even feel that close. Central Hardin is no slouch by any means and for those who subscribe to taking credence of "who beat who" it is worth noting that the Bruins only lost 20-13 to 5A #2 Bowling Green in their season opener, the same Bowling Green team who also just beat St. Xavier (DeSale's most impressive win). The Bruins though had no answer for Sophomore RB Brandt Babin ho continues to look like one of the best backs in the Class week in and week out. The Centurions will now turn their attention to another proud program from Hardin County as they travel to 3A #7 Elizabethtown. Last year the Panthers played CAL tough before losing 24-9. Around the State EKY It has not been the start that District 7 had hoped for. Though the first three weeks District 7 has posted a combined record of 2-11 and has been outscored 167-522. This past week every team in District 7 took a tough loss where they allowed over 40 points. The most notable was Shelby Valley's 49-0 loss to Ridgeview, VA and Prestonsburg's 41-8 loss at Lawrence County. CKY Lexington Christian Academy got a nice bounce back win against Vincennes-Lincoln, Indiana after getting bludgeoned by Pikeville the week prior. The Eagles made the long trek to the Illinois border and took down the Alices 43-38 in a shootout. The Eagles will not be able to rest on their laurels for long as an undefeated Lexington Catholic is next in th battle to be the premier private school in Fayette County. NKY Walton-Verona improved to 3-0 by handling Holmes on Saturday. Even more impressive may have been the perception of their two tighter wins in the preceding weeks. West Jessamine looks stronger than initially thought after knocking off South Laurel and Kentucky Country Day gave Washington County their first loss as well. SKY Todd County Central improved to 2-1 with a 49-0 win over Caverna. The Rebels have three winnable games ahead beginning with Hopkins Central this week. The Rebels beat the Storm 6-0 last year. WKY There is something to be said for a "statement loss" and McLean County had plenty to say Friday. The Cougars legitimized themselves as a potential Top 10 team with a narrow 21-18 loss to 5A's 9th ranked Apollo. The Cougars have three more tricky games ahead beginning with 6A Muhlenburg County this week, followed by a ranked 4A Logan County and then District foe Owensboro Catholic. If McLean can find two wins in this stretch expect them to enter the rankings.
  18. What an excellent week for Class 2A! After proving itself as perhaps pound for pound the toughest class last year, the 2018 season started with the top three teams all making a statement in a big way. DeSales Serves Notice No one in the State would doubt that DeSales had a football team capable of putting up a fight against one of Kentucky's elite large school programs. The Colts are perennially one of the Top 20 overall teams in Kentucky and have made a tradition of knocking off other 6A programs in Jefferson County. With that said, very few people outside of fans of the Colts' program would have predicted DeSales to actually knock off St. Xavier in Friday's season opener. For the better part of the past three decades or more, it has been hard enough for some of Kentucky's proudest large school programs to knock off St. Xavier, let alone a 2A school who has seemingly been in the Tigers' shadow as a Catholic school. Make no mistake about it, the win on Friday serves as an alert on multiple levels worth taking note of. On the small scale, it cements DeSales as a title contender this season and sets the bar high for where other 2A programs will have to be to beat the Colts on any given night. The fact DeSales held the Tigers to 16 points also should serve notice of the prowess of the Colts' Defense. Large picture, this win will resonate throughout Jefferson County as an indicator that you can compete at the Highest Level of the State at a private school not named Trinity or St. Xavier. Another by-product of the win was the performance of QB Aaron Pfaadt. Pfaadt only tallied 103 total yards, but he made his contributions weigh heavy by accounting for all three of the Colts' TD's. His acumen running the Offense kept the chains moving and kept the clock rolling all night, and when he capped off a drive with 4:00 to go in the 4th Quarter with a TD plunge he officially served notice that the Offense is firmly in his grasp in his third season as the starter. Don't expect Pfaadt to ever be the guy putting up video game numbers, but with the stable of skill players surrounding him he is the perfect veteran player for his Offense to pivot around. Centurions Put Out the Dragon's Fire Just because South Oldham didn't have a "#1" or "#2" by their name should not take away from the significance of what CAL did Friday in their 21-3 win. South Oldham brought a veteran team with several of their top Offensive play makers back from a 5A team that was 10-1 before running into eventual State Champion Covington Catholic in the Regional Finals. The Dragons averaged 38 points per game last year and averaged over 269 rushing yards per game, and we're expected to be equally proficient this season. CAL was a brick wall Defensively and held the Dragons to a meager 60 rushing yards on 36 carries and an astounding 101 total yards. Milton Wright may very well be the favorite to win the Mr. Football award. He opened his Senior campaign with an absolute gem. Wright tallied 130 total Offensive yards and scored two TD's. The biggest of which was a 41 yard score on a 4th and Long play to extend their lead to 10-0 late in the 2nd Quarter. What is not present in his stat line was his role in patrolling the secondary. With South Oldham's bread and butter stifled, they were still unable to find any success throwing the football with a fear of Wright changing the game on any deep pass not on target. The other story line many were intrigued about entering this game would be who the Centurions would trot out at QB and how he would fare. Anthony Sabatino put up a solid night against a quality opponent, completing 13/18 passes with those two scores to Wright. If Sabatino can manage the Offense and get the ball into the hands of Wright and returning starting HB Brandt Babin, the Centurions should be just as good as expected. Kentucky 2A -2 Tennessee 2A -0 Mayfield served notice in last year's season opener that the Bluegrass State is no slouch when it comes to small school football. Mayfield shocked fans from the Volunteer State by pummeling traditional power Union City on their homefield. Union City would go on to win the Class 2A State Title and wanted nothing more than to find vengeance in the 2018 opener against Kentucky's Pre-Season #1 team. Entering the 4th Quarter it appeared Mayfield may be in jeopardy of a rare season opening loss, but the Cardinals did what we have seen so many Mayfield teams do when a game is close in the 4th Quarter. The Cardinals Defense stepped up with key stops and the Offense found clutch conversions en route to an impressive 43-27 victory, outscoring the Golden Tornadoes 23-0 in the final 12:00. Coach Joe Morris kept a revolving door of subs along his Defensive Line all night. For the first 3/4 of the game it seemed it may be a strategy to their detriment, the Golden Tornadoes churned up yardage running between the tackles. Come the 4th Quarter though, this strategy proved to be the difference as Mayfield wore Union City down like Muhammad Ali's "Rope-a-dope" strategy. Jayden Stinson only completed 9 passes, but they went for 221 yards and nearly half of them ended up being Touchdowns (4). Kade Neely caught two of those scores, he lead the game with 135 receiving yards. Dynamic Kent Trey Matthews hauled in a receiving Touchdown as well as a rushing score as he paced the Cardinal ground game effectively with 194 yards on 16 carries. There is no rest for the Cardinals as they must turn around and face a ranked 4A Hopkinsville team next week. The Tigers are smarting after a lopsided loss to an excellent South Warren team in their opener. The Other Storylines from Around the State EKY Leslie County Stunned by 1A Pineville Leslie County had an uncharacteristic 2017 campaign and most of their fans felt confident that with an extra year of mileage on their young talent that they could turn it around and compete for a District Title in 2018. Pineville not only beat Leslie County, they throttled them 50-12. The Mountain Lions were 2-9 last season and lost to Leslie 47-22 in the 2017 season opener This Week: Shelby Valley's win over Jenkins tells us nothing as the Wildcats beat the Cavaliers as you would expect they should. Pike Central is not a team that will be making waves in Class 3A most likely, but Shelby Valley needs to make a statement against their County rival to be taken serious as a team wishing to win their District. NKY Newport Central Catholic Impresses After a poor showing in their scrimmage there were some grumblings among the fans of Newport Central Catholic. Whatever displeasure there may have been was quickly forgotten when the Breds dominated a ranked 4A Scott team 41-0. Coach Lickert could not have asked for a better start. This has been a close game in recent seasons, so the wide margin of victory should be an indicator that the Breds have indeed improved. This Week: Lloyd Memorial got the win in their opener, but didn't exactly turn heads. The Juggs will head to Beechwood to square off with the Defending 1A Champions. It would be unfair to expect a Lloyd win, but for Lloyd to be taken seriously as a contender in Class 2A they need to at least give the Tigers a strong effort. CKY Washington County Makes a Statement Washington County had a successful 2017 season by their standards and with some strong talent returning, their goals for 2018 were to improve even further. The Commanders came out strong with a heavy handed 39-13 win over fellow 2A foe Green County. This may be a pre-cursor of things to come. The Commanders' schedule is pretty favorable to open the season and if they can beat an upstart 3A Thomas Nelson on September 7th it might be likely to see a 6-0 record before a final stretch of games against Western Hills, CAL, and DeSales. This Week: Keep an eye on the Lexington Christian Academy and Pikeville game. LCA looked solid against 3A Waggener and not like a team decimated by graduation, but Pikeville is one of the Top 3 teams in 1A. Last year LCA won this game with relative ease, if they can beat Pikeville this season the Eagles will certainly get a lot more notice. SKY Two Paths Diverged at the Scottie Bowl? District 3 entered 2018 with two teams ranked in the Top 10 and both took the field in the Scottie Bowl at Glasgow. Glasgow and Monroe each faced teams outside of the rankings in their respective classes, Glasgow fell 34-20 to 3A Trigg County while Glasgow steamrolled 1A Russellville 51-0. For the Falcons the loss has to be alarming. Trigg was 5-6 last year and not expected to be a major factor in the 3A picture. Glasgow, on the other hand, looked every bit the form of last year's Semi-Finals team. This Week: Somerset looked good in their romp over 5A Lincoln County and will draw a ranked 1A Williamsburg team. Most view Somerset in a tier or two below the heavyweights of the class, but a statement win can go a long way in helping close that gap in many people's eyes. WKY O-NO! Catholic No team in Class 2A had questions as big as Owensboro Catholic. With a new coach coming in following a roller coaster 2017 season, their season opener against a solid 6A Daviess County intended to serve as a nice measuring stick to open the season. The Aces' Defensive struggles the marred their 2017 campaign reared their head again as Daviess exploded for 464 yards and 49 points. All hope is not lost just yet. Daviess is very capable of a deep playoff run and will put up big points on a number of teams, and the Catholic Offense did an admirable job gaining over 300 yards. The road does not get easier for the Aces though, up next is Evansville Memorial, IN. The Tigers are the Defending 3A Champions. This Week: McLean County opened the year with an impressive 44-14 win over 6A Ohio County and will host the same Trigg County that just beat Monroe County. If the Cougars can defeat Trigg they immediately pop into contention for the Top 10 discussions.
  19. District 7 Teams Providing Insight Danville's opening week win over 6A Woodford County, a team in the midst of one of the State's longest losing streaks, did not really give us much insight. Neither did subsequent Week 1 wins by Somerset and LCA over Lincoln County and Waggener, another pair of teams not noted for long playoff runs. With a ton of roster turnover among the three teams, we needed Week 2 to finally start to give a glimpse of what we can expect as all three teams faced ranked opponents that have been to the State Finals in the not so distant past. DANVILLE- The Admirals may have drawn the shortest straw of the trio being asked to travel to Southern Kentucky to take on an excellent 3A Corbin squad. With their win streak on the line, the Admirals found the quality of competition a bit much as the Redhounds won a physically demanding game 28-10. What we learned is that Danville is still a very solid team. Corbin is going to be a tough team to beat and will be the consensus pick to reach the Semi-Finals in Class 3A. Danville was not quite to the level of Corbin, the Hounds were just a little better in every facet it seemed, but the fact they kept the game within arm's reach should be a statement that they will remain the team to beat in District 7 and have the capability of making a deep playoff push. SOMERSET- The Briarjumpers may have had the lightest test taking on the 8th ranked Class 1A team, but the Jumpers also looked the part of a solid Class 2A team as they left little doubt in a 34-7 win. Somerset has proven to be a stout Defensive team through two weeks only allowing a single Touchdown. Somerset seems to be playing at a level pretty comparable to last season., they defeated Williamsburg 25-8 for comparison sake, and that bodes well for the boys from Lake Country. If this is accurate, Somerset has clearly closed the gap against their District mates and have a much better shot at either a Home Playoff game or a District Title. LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY- On the opposite end of the spectrum is LCA. The Eagles were a legitimate Top 5 team the past two seasons and an Offensive efficiency machine. LCA made the long trip to Pikeville and probably wish they would have stayed at home after the Panthers ambushed them and totally dominated the game en route to a 43-point victory. This is a swing of nearly 70 points from when LCA defeated Pikeville on the road 49-21 last year. LCA has some good size, but completely struggled to find an Offensive identity as Pikeville imposed their will from the start and left LCA relying on taking risks to look for chunk yardage. LCA mustered only 28 rushing yards, and a week after a very efficient performance in the passing game, the Eagles completed less than 50% of their passes. Pikeville is a very good 1A team and will challenge for a Title most likely, but the dominance of the game stands as an indicator that LCA will need to find an identity in a hurry against a pair of solid Defenses in their District. DeSales DeDoes It Again DeSales Week 1 victory over st. Xavier had the entire state talking about how a Class 2A team took down one of the Top 5 6A teams in the State. Week 2 brought an entirely new challenge when the Colts had to travel to Butler to take on a team ripe with D-1 talent and expected to be a team to be reckoned with in Louisville's 6A scene. For the second consecutive week DeSales won a nail-biter against a Top 5 ranked 6A team, this time shocking the Bears 35-34 on a 27 yard pass with around 10 seconds to go. The pass from Pfaadt to Antione Johnson capped off a sterling comeback, the Colts trailed 34-21 with around 4:00 to go in the game. A blocked punt also loomed large setting up the final scoring drive on a short field. This was the second straight week that Pfaadt and Johnson connected a for a game breaking pass play, against St. Xavier they came together before the Half on a long score. Aaron Pfaadt struggled at times throwing the ball, but he made up for it with his legs. The Senior signal caller gained over 80 yards on the ground and scored 3 TD's. DeSales' next game will take them from competing against some of the State's largest schools to challenging historical rival 1A Holy Cross. The Cougars are a vastly improved team and always play the Colts tough, but expect DeSales to continue their winning ways. Mayfield May Fly Facing a ranked foe for the second consecutive week, the Mayfield Cardinals made sure to to take it easy on their fans after Week 1's heart stopping come from behind victory. The Cardinals imposed their will in the First Half jumping out to a 21-0 lead and never let the Tigers catch up in a convincing 35-7 victory. Kent Trey Matthews and Diaz Perry showcased Mayfield's explosive ability on Offense. Each scored two TD's a piece of over 30 yards. Connor Guthrie got in the act to nail the coffin shut with a 46 yard run of his own. The ability for Mayfield to strike pay dirt from any down, distance, or position on the field should serve notice to the rest of the class as the Cardinals may very well be the most dangerous team in the Class to score on any given play. The Other Storylines from Around the State EKY Prestonsburg Leaves A Lot To Be Desired Prestonsburg had an opportunity against north Laurel to make a statement that they were ready to find their form and be the team in District 8 that everyone would be chasing. The 5A Jaguars were fresh off a lopsided loss and entered the season losing several starters, but the Blackcats were no match in a 44-6 shelling. The Blackcats must reound quickly against 3A Lawrence County, a formidable challenge. This Week: Shelby Valley improved to 2-0 in an Overtime shootout victory against 3A Pike Central. The Wildcats will draw Ridgeview, VA next on the road. Ridgeview is a newer consolidated school across the Virginia line, and opened with a convincing win. Clintwood, VA was a perennial Virginia small school power and that District no feeds into Ridgeview. Shelby Valley can make a statement with a victory. NKY Newport Central Catholic Impressive in Defeat Despite missing star RB/LB Kyle Kelly, NewCath gave 6A Cooper all they wanted and them some before finally succumbing 42-36 to the Jaguars. Newport Central Catholic has shown excellent Offensive balance through two weeks. The Breds will get their second shot at a 6A team against Coach Lickert's old squad Campbell County. This Week: Something has to give when Owen County travels to Newport. Outside of Lloyd, NewCath, and Walton-Verona it seems wins for NKY 2A teams will have to come at a premium. Newport defeated Finneytown, OH whereas Owen County enters 0-2. This could end up a preview of a First Round playoff game. CKY Costco CAL Christian Academy of Louisville saw little resistance from 6A Eastern as the Centurions scored points in bulk en route to a 50-7 thumping of the Eagles. CAL denied access to the Eastern running game as they surrendered -10 yards rushing on 17 carries. LeFors' crew also got a month's supply of sacks while they were at it, totaling 7 for the game. This Week: Oh nothing much... a few early season games... a rivalry or two... oh... just Danville playing Boyle County. The Title Town Throwdown features the defending 2A Champs taking on the Defending 3A Kings. SKY Glasgow Gets Enough Bardstown is a proud name in Kentucky Prep Lore, but the Tigers have not been a major factor in recent years. Glasgow entered as a heavy favorite, but the Scotties did not exactly play well turning it over six times. Glasgow scored a late Touchdown before the Half to take a 19-7 lead, and that would be the end of the scoring. Despite dominating the stat books, the rusty play should serve as notice to Glasgow that they have a long way to go in a loaded class. This Week: Somerset gave top ranked 1A Beechwood a valiant effort last year in a monsoon. This year the Jumpers will head North on I-75 to Ft. Mitchell for a first class challenge. If Somerset can pull off a statement win, it may set them up as the team to beat in the East. WKY McLean Finds the Spotlight McLean County has been a pleasant surprise on this very early season. The Cougars romped 6A Ohio County in their opener and then followed it up with an even more impressive 21-14 win over 3A Trigg County. Trigg previously had effected the 2A picture when they took care of Monroe County in Week 1. McLean utilizes a stable of backs and may be a scary team with Owensboro Catholic showing vulnerability. This Week: Murray captured their first win by pummeling crown town foe Calloway County. The Tigers will get to show if they are ready for 2A Prime Time when host 4A Madisonville- North Hopkins. The Maroons are one of the best 4A teams in Western Kentucky, if the Tigers have any daydreams of knocking off Mayfield they have to have a great showing against Madisonville.
  20. Stock Report Now that the dust has settled after four weeks, The Notebook will determine how the stocks of some of the Top 2A Programs are doing and what kind of advisement we might have for the market in it's current state. DeSales- Stock Up, Blue Chip The Colts have done everything asked of them and then some moving to the top spot with their early season work. The Colt Offense is getting the job done and the Defense remains stout as expected. Even with a big battle with CAL looming, a loss does not necessarily mean you will be out in the cold. Take my word, this is a very robust stock to own. Mayfield- Stock Up, Blue Chip Mayfield has performed as expected and still looks like it may have even more room to grow. The market is watching what will happen in two weeks against perhaps their toughest regular season foe.The Cardinals smoked 6A McCracken County and left little doubt that this may be the premium dividend you want in the West. The Notebook would be very surprised not to see this stock trending until the end of the year. Christian Academy of Louisville- Stock Up, Blue Chip CAL remains a share you want to have, but the market has not been as bullish as rival DeSales. This one may have a nice ROI if CAL can beat their crown-town rivals and become the ultimate Blue Chip. CAL's latest romp of 3A Elizabethtown is further proof that this is Fortune 100 type of stock. Danville Admirals- Stock Dropping Fast, Buy Low Danville has not lived up to expectations after finishing 2017 at the top of the market. Most expected the Admirals to struggle after graduation but 1-3 and a lackluster loss to Pulaski has many jumping ship. With LCA struggling and District 8 a cakewalk, it might be wise to buy low and get a strong chance at a favorable ROI to the Semi-Finals. Glasgow- Stock Level, Stable Glasgow is the perfect stock for the beginner. A nice value that is sure to perform well and has very low risk associated with it. Just like their win over Allen County- Scottsville, you may not see breathtaking gains, but the risk of a decline is low. With a favorable District draw looming in the playoffs it is looking more and more likely that Glasgow will have a favorable outcome though you might not hit it rich. Owensboro Catholic- Stock Rising, Volatile After the first two weeks Owensboro Catholic was being unloaded in record fashion. After shocking 5A Owensboro and making a statement against South Spencer, Indiana and their former Coach people are now looking to get back on board and regretting their decision. Be careful though, this may be a roller coaster ride and it is still to be determined if the track can hold up. Somerset- Stock Level, Sleeper Stock Somerset may not be the sexy name and may not have the recent history of monster returns, but the market is starting to look like the Jumpers may have some upside. The only thing standing in the way of this stock paying big dividends is an October trip to Danville. After taking a hit against Beechwood, Somerset rebounded with a win over Hazard. If you see the market trend down with a game against Raceland it may be wise to cut your losses though. Walton-Verona- Stock Level, Penny Stock Supreme Not many people invest their hopes in Walton-Verona for Class 2A, but you are almost always assured that your stock will consistently perform well but just not with a high dollar return. It would be a shocker to see anything but a Regional Final appearance and a 10+ win season, just don't expect anything earth shattering as evidence by their "meh" wins over West Jessamine and Kentucky Country Day. Any District 8 Team- Stock Crashing, Sell Now! District 8 has struggled in their Non-District slate and outside of Shelby Valley really have zero average, let alone quality wins to speak of. The Wildcats appear the best of the bunch and may be able to win a playoff game, but banking on any return in November beyond the 1 Seed winning their First Round game is solely a waste of your hard earned money. Newport Central Catholic- Stock Falling, Follow the Recent Trends One a bluechip stock, NewCath has not been able to acclimate to the changing market in Class 2A in recent years. In year's past you would take the quarterly losses for the chance for a rapid rebound, but dont expect that trend to continue as the Line play simply is not up to speed. Buyer Beware. Lexington Christian Academy- Stock Plummeting, Wait Until 2019 Just like a Fortune 500 company that had all of it's top management leave, when LCA lost their heralded Senior Class the writing was on the wall. The Eagles have dropped sharply and suddenly and don't seem to have enough diversity in the market to rebound in 2018. If you can get this ne for cheap in 2019 it might be worth a flyer though. McLean County- Stock Rising, Sell High Then Buy Back Before Selling Again One of the nicest stories this year has been the play of McLean County. The Cougars were 4-7 last year but have been one of the best turnarounds in the State. For those who bought this stock off the bargain bin the returns have been nice. The Cougars seem poised to be the 2-seed in their District. Expect a couple losses the next two weeks against 4A Logan County and Owensboro Catholic, but a five game winning streak is likely before they meet their Waterloo in the 2nd Round of the playoffs. Lloyd Memorial- Stock Steady, Medium Risk/Low Reward Lloyd seemed to be a trendy pick in 2017 but ultimately left investors with a bittersweet experience after bowing out sooner than expected. If alignment was the same, their stock might have more upside but with either CAL or DeSales inevitable in the 2nd Round this one is probably not worth the risk. Can you win a District Title and win 8 or 9 games with little cost to buy in? Sure. You just as easily could be District Runner-Up as well if Newport Central Catholic can find their Offense.
  21. Murray Stuns Owensboro Catholic, Take Aim at Mayfield Trailing 26-0 in the First Half, it appeared as if the heavy underdog Murray Tigers were more likely to have a running clock rather than a potential shocking First-Round win. Murray never faltered in the face of adversity and just executed key drive after key drive, coupled with a Defensive effort that held the high-powered Aces' Offense to only one score as the Tigers rallied to outscore them 41-6. Owensboro Catholic failed to score in the Second Half. Mark Thompson began the turn around with a pair of scores. Jaiden Jackson would take over with three scores of his own while also adding a pivotal fumble recovery in the Second Half as well. Owensboro Catholic will point to a pair of key turnovers and four critical 15-yard penalties as primary culprits for their impending demise. With the win the Tigers will create a re-match with #1 ranked Mayfield for the Region Championship at War Memorial Stadium in Mayfield. The Cardinals won the first game 63-28 on a night where the balanced Mayfield Offense racked up over 500 total yards. Mayfield had little resistance from McLean County as they jumped out to a running clock in the First Half with a 42-6 lead. The Cardinals would eventually win 55-20 paced once again by dynamic Kent Trey Matthews. Matthews ran the ball 7 times for just shy of 120 yards and three TD's. Colts Have More Finishing Kick Than Thoroughbreds Newport Central Catholic was not expected by many to be able to knock off the powerful DeSales Colts, but the Thoroughbreds put forth a gritty effort that fell just short in a Defense-Dominated game. After both teams traded punts through the majority of the First Quarter, Newport Central Catholic converted a 4th and 20 to set up an early TD to take a 7-0 lead and set the tone that the Thoroughbreds were prepared to hang around for Four Quarters. The Colts would answer on the ensuing drive with a big conversion of their own on a 3rd and 9 to set the ball up First and Goal. Aaron Pfaadt would punch it in to tie the score at 7-7, both teams would fell to score on their last two possessions and take that tie game into the break. Newport Central Catholic would miss a golden opportunity that they are sure to be kicking themselves for in hindsight. After recovering a muffed DeSales punt, Newport Central Catholic would find a First and Goal situation come up short at the 1-yard line. The Breds would eventually would still find a way to re-take the lead as Aubrey Posey would reel in a 50-yard score to go up 14-7 deep in the 3rd Quarter. After the teams each changed possessions entering into the 4th Quarter, it was Aaron Pfaadt once again finding paydirt on a short QB keeper to cap off a drive aided by a pivotal Unsportmanlike Conduct penalty. The Colts' Defense would step up to the plate and eventually stall the ensuing NCC drive. With a 4th and 12 at Midfield upcoming with just 3 minutes and change left, everyone in the building knew a Punt was the sure thing. Coach Lickert obviously disagreed and chose to roll the dice with a Fake Punt call. Demetri Scott would break the pass up and with it set the Colts up in prime real estate at Midfield. The Colts would have a chip shot Field Goal at the buzzer, but the Throughbreds would come up with a game saving block to force Overtime. DeSales would take the ball first and take advantage of the opportunity. Aaron Pfaadt would find Sophomore Jayden Scroggins, son of former Central Coach Ty Scorggins, for the go ahead score. It was now up to the DeSales Defense and the Colts would get the job done. For the second time on the night DeSales would come up with a game changing stand to stuff the Bred running game on 4th and Short and secure the win. DeSales will now set-up another much anticipated playoff tilt with rival Christian Academy of Louisville. The Centurions had little resistance from their NKY foe as they white-washed Lloyd Memorial 39-0. Eagles Soar Into Regional Finals, Set Talons on Somerset If there was ever a case study to be done on Strength of Schedule, the Lexington Christian Academy 43-0 victory over home standing Shelby Valley would certainly be used as evidence to support the claim that a stronger regular season schedule supersedes the confidence gained winning games over lesser competition. LCA Jumped out on Shelby Valley early and never looked back as Shelby Valley could never adjust to the speed of the game. Jayden Barnhardt would toss three Touchdown passes and add 68 rushing yards to help pace the Eagle Offense. Xavier Brown averaged nearly 8 yard per carry on his 11 attempt and took a pair of those into the end-zone. Shelby Valley entered the game averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground, but the Wildcats were shut down by a much improved LCA Defense. The Wildcats could find no traction and would see several three-and-out's as this game was never in doubt. The Eagles will now get the distinction of travelling to Somerset for the Regional Finals to take on a Briarjumper team that is looking every bit the part of a team determined to make anyone's night a battle. Somerset continues to play exemplary Defense as they outlasted a determined Danville squad 27-14. Somerset turned the Admirals over five times, with three of those coming early in the First Quarter to set Somerset up with a 14-0 lead. Kishown Bartleson did everything he could to keep his Admirals in the game. The Senior was a force to be reckoned with on Defense and also broke a 41-yard Touchdown run in the 3rd Quarter to close the Admirals to a 20-14 margin. The Jumpers still had the winning plays they needed in their back pocket. Cam Austin would turn a shovel pass into a score and set the eventual final margin. Treavor Brock has been one of the most consistent defenders in Class 2A all season, and he continued to make his case for post-season superlatives with a game clinching interception of Zach Thornton. Glasgow and Walton-Verona Move Toward Huge Tilt Only one region will actually see teams from two different districts face off for the right to advance to the Semi-Finals. Glasgow made an emphatic statement by dismantling Carroll County 51-8. Nick Mitchell continues to make his case for the Bluegrasspreps' All-Class 2A honors by inching just shy of the 2000 yard mark with a dominating 153 yards and 3 TD's on only 17 carries. The Scotties won every phase of the game and improve their record to 11-1. Glasgow's Offense has really found their groove since their loss to 4A heavyweight Franklin-Simpson back in September. The Scotties have scored 40 points or more in every game except their win over 3A Elizabethtown (who is still playing for what it is worth). The Scotties could "only" muster 35 points in that win. Walton-Verona kept a steady hand en route to a 35-6 win over Monroe County. The Bearcats will now host the Scotties after a long road trip to the fringe of the NKY metro area. This will be only the 2nd trip to the Regional Finals in the Bearcats' young existence. The Bearcats reached the Third Round in 2012 before succumbing to Newport Central Catholic. The 2012 game was played at Newport, so this will be the first Regional Final game hosted by the Bearcats. It should be a raucous environment come Friday night. The key to the game will be whether the Bearcats are able to limit the amount of snaps and possessions that the lethal Glasgow Offense sees on the field. If Walton-Verona can lean on their ball control style and protect the football it may give them a shot at unseating the Scotties.
  22. Breaking Down The Top Teams' Title Chances: MAYFIELD Why Mayfield Will Win the Title- The Cardinals check every box you want. They have a balanced and explosive Offense that is equally adept at putting together long scoring drives as well as big play strikes for sudden points. They have an opportunistic Defense capable of making plays in the backfield. Why Mayfield Will Not Win the Title- The Cardinals have to take their show on the road and will most likely have to play three of the Top teams in the State away from War Memorial Stadium. Perhaps their stiffest test short of the Finals will be a potential Regional Finals trip to Owensboro Catholic to take on the surging Aces. CAL Why CAL Will Win the Title- The Centurions have Title Experience, they also have the best individual talents in the Class. CAL may very well have the best Special Teams threat, best Athlete, and best Defensive Back.... and that is all the same player! Throw in perhaps the most dominant Offensive Lineman and an excellent RB and the Centurions simply cause gameplan nightmares. Why CAL Will Not Win the Title- The question for CAL is always the same. Can they score enough to overcome a night their Defense does not play their best? CAL gets the job done on Offense, but they are far from the most efficient unit in Class 2A. Their Defense typically carries them and the Offense does what is needed, but when they face a team like Mayfield it begs the question if they can score enough if the other team pops a couple big plays. DESALES Why DeSales Will Win the Title- The Colts still have a complete team and a Defense capable of making key stops. DeSales has kind of hobbled down the stretch, but for the better part of the season the Colts were able to make the claim they were one of the best teams in all of Kentucky, let alone Class 2A. With a clock-eating ball controlling Offense, and a very stiff Defense, the Colts are capable of shortening any game and giving themselves a shot. Why DeSales Will Not Win the Title- DeSales will have to abandon their friendly confides and hit the road following the First Round most likely. This will include road games at CAL and most likely Somerset, two of the better Defensive teams in the Class. The Colts' Offense has just simply plateaued in recent weeks and seems to have lost their ability to generate explosive plays. Subsequently, the Defense has dealt with some bumps and bruises and are yet to show they can totally lock the other team's Offense down completely. OWENSBORO CATHOLIC Why OCath Will Win the Title- The Aces are red hot and kind of hanging out off the radar. After losing their first two games to open the season the Aces have been on fire including a win over a very good 5A Owensboro team that looks better every week. Catholic gets Mayfield at home, and if they can win that game they will be a favorite in the Regional Finals. The Aces have a very balanced Offense that has made great strides in protecting the football. Why OCath Will Not Win the Title- Simply put, until Catholic can get over the Mayfield hurdle it is hard to see them representing the West. Mayfield has outscored the Aces 92-26 and have eliminated each of the past three seasons. As good as Catholic has been, the Aces have not faced an animal like Mayfield all season and the Ace Defense has not exactly been the Steel Curtain against the better teams they have seen. In their four toughest games the team in Green has surrendered a whopping 150 points. SOMERSET Why Somerset Will Win the Title- The Briarjumpers are playing excellent Defense and should at least be able to give themselves a fighting chance in a potential Semi-Finals game against either CAL or DeSales. As mentioned above, neither Louisville team is exactly lighting up the scoreboard on Offense and with the potential game being played in Somerset, there may be no better shot at an upset for Somerset. Why Somerset Will Not Win the Title- Somerset played a host of Class 1A's top schools and held their own, but with losses to Beechwood and Raceland it is clear that if Somerset were a Class 1A team and the playoffs started today they would be probably the fourth or fifth most likely pick to win the Title. Class 2A is arguably one of the State's strongest classes 1-5 and this does not bode well for Somerset's shot. As good as Somerset has been on Defense, their Offense has struggled to find it's identity. Can they score enough? We'll see. GLASGOW Why Glasgow Will Win the Title- Chaos and homefield advantage. Glasgow is a solid team that does many things well, but nothing about their resume suggests they will be a favorite against any of the Top 4 teams. Glasgow needs some upsets, specifically Mayfield to lose, and then need to capitalize on a potential home Semi-Finals game to get to the Finals. Once in the Finals they once again need to hope someone not expected to be there is waiting. Why Glasgow Will Not Win the Title- The water may just be too deep. Glasgow's SOS is nowhere near that of the other Title Contenders. The only team the Scotties played that is expected to contend for a Regional Title was Franklin-Simpson. The Wildcats not only handed Glasgow their only loss, they did so in dominating fashion. Most likely Glasgow will need to beat three straight Top 10 teams to win a Title and that seems a tall task indeed. NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC Why NewCath Will Win the Title- If they can survive their Region, they can survive anything. By winning their District the Breds' assure that both DeSales and CAL would have to travel to NKY, a huge advantage compared to what Runner-Up Lloyd now must endure. Considering CAL has already beat NewCath 31-0, the odds of the Breds coming out of the Region are slim, but the kids on the roster do know the feeling of seeing CAL walk off the field at Newport Stadium with their heads down. Why NewCath Will Not Win the Title- Simply put, there are not many teams in Kentucky that could beat DeSales and CAL back to back. Home or not, this is a monstrous hurdle and a likely path to a Title means NewCath will have to beat 4 of the Top 5 teams in the State. .... as for the rest. Walton-Verona- You have to love and respect where Coach Barth has brought this relatively young program. With that said, Walton-Verona simply does not have the firepower to take down the elite teams in this class. DubVee was no match for LCA, and the Eagles will be a longshot in their own right. LCA- See above. LCA righted their ship after a rough start to the season to rally for a 2-seed and give themselves a fighter's chance to win their Region, but considering how over-matched the Eagles were in their three loses, anything beyond a Regional Title seems unlikely. Shelby Valley- Assuming the Wildcats when against Boyd County and knock off Middlesboro in the First Round, they may be the quietest 10-1 team in the State. There is a reason for that. The Wildcats have only played one team with a pulse in Ridgeview, VA and were running clocked. Drawing District 7 at least gives them a chance at a Regional Title, but their chances of anything beyond that are fleeting at best. Lloyd- Simply put, the odds of Lloyd losing in Round 1 at home to Washington County are probably higher than their chances of beating CAL on the road in Round 2.Any chance Lloyd has revolves around a series of the most shocking playoff upsets we have ever seen. Danville- The Defending Champs finished with a 4-6 regular season and a 3-seed in District 7. The Admirals have not had the play making or chemistry they needed all season. As a 3-seed they may have the best chance of making run of anyone in Class 2A, but unless Danville circles the wagons and shows us something more than what we have seen the last half of the season, the chances are better that they make a 2nd Round Exit than they even remotely challenge for a second straight title.
  23. Home Sweet Home Of the sixteen First Round playoff games in Class 2A, all but one of them were eventually won by the higher seeded team hosting the game. Danville was the lone team to take their show on the road and pull an "upset" in terms of seeding, though you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who did not expect the Admirals to leave Round 1 victorious. Danville now earns the right to seek revenge against District Champion Somerset. The Briarjumpers won a hard fought game 21-10 against the Admirals earlier this season on Danville's homefield. If the Ads are up to the challenge or springing the upset, this time it will have to occur at the Briar Patch. Of those fifteen home victors, only one of the games would go down to the wire. The best game of the First Round was no surprise. Lloyd was able to survive a shootout with Washington County, more to come on that in a second, to win 50-44. If you were taking a poll to see which team would have the second narrowest margin of victory, I am not sure anyone would have selected that to come in Mayfield's 56-28 victory over Hancock County. The Cardinal's didn't exactly sprint through the finish line, but give credit to Hancock County for keeping the final score respectable. Jugger-Not Going Away Just Yet We predicted in the Bluegrasspreps.com 2018 Playoff Preview that the most interesting game in Round 1 would take place when Washington County traveled to Erlanger to face Lloyd Memorial. Both teams hovered in the same general company in the rankings for much of the season, so despite the homefield advantage all signs pointed for an excellent first round tilt. Washington's Senior RB Jbias Dawson did everything he could to keep his Commanders in the game. Dawson carried the pigskin 17 times, added four catches, and finished with 202 total yards from scrimmage. Commander QB Jatavian Churchill threw for 139 yards and 2 TD's, both coming to Javontae Wright, and Chuchill added 116 yards and 3 scores in the rushing game. In the end, it was too much Travon Mason. The Senior feature back for Lloyd would dominate all night long and find the endzone four times including a pair of highlight runs. The Juggernauts would also force three key turnovers that would allow them to break Washington County's serve and give them the opportunity to have just a few more bullets in the chamber in this classic shootout. With the win, Lloyd now advances to take their best shot at Christian Academy of Louisville. The Centurions had no issue in Round 1 and will be perhaps the stiffest team Lloyd has seen all season. Lexington Christian Returns to Pike County The last time LCA made the trip down US 23 into the State's Eastern-most County, the Eagles made the long trek back with a 43-point loss hanging around their neck in Week 2. LCA will not exit at Hambley Athletic Complex as they did when Pikeville left them searching for answers, instead they will continue down the Country Music Highway an extra 15 minutes or so to take the turf against 10-1 Shelby Valley. LCA has shown great improvement since that game in which neither their Offense or Defense seemingly made the trip. LCA has found balance on Offense. Jayden Barnhardt has settled into his QB spot nicely and will most likely break the 2000-yard mark passing this weekend. The Eagles have not had a dominant back like a Dillon Wheatley, but they have found success balancing Xavier White and Thomas Brown. Between the two of them they have surpassed 1000 yards and scored 15 times on the ground. More importantly after Pikeville and Lexington Catholic combined to score 104 points early in the season, the Eagles have only allowed one team to score over 3 TD's on them. Andrew Long has become one of the better Defenders in the box in all of Class 2A. The Eagles will need Long to post huge numbers, as Shelby Valley will bring an Offensive challenge unique to what the Eagles have seen. The Wildcats have one of the State's most proficient rushing attacks and have ran for over 4000 yards this season already. Seth Johnson is the featured back, and all he does is post video game numbers. The Senior Halfback nicknamed "Flash" averages 237 yards per game and is finding the end-zone on average over two times per outing. The Wildcats will use a three, sometimes even four, headed rushing attack to keep LCA off balance, but it is Johnson that the dream of a playoff run revolves around. Shelby Valley's only blemish this year was a 49-0 defeat to Ridgeview, Virginia. The Wolfpack are a solid 9-1 entering the playoffs as one of the better teams in their Division. It is also worth pointing out while looking at the box score of that game that one name is noticeably absent. Seth Johnson did not suit up due to injury and as a result the Wildcats struggled to sustain success without their primary big-play threat. Shelby Valley will be a significant underdog entering this contest, and for good reason. Outside of that Ridgeview game the Wildcats played a total of ZERO teams with winning record in their ten other contests and none of those ten are still playing football. The Eagles, on the other hand, have played 7 teams alone who are still in the playoffs. Vincennes Lincoln would make 8, but the Alices were eliminated in the 2nd Round of their playoffs and finished with an 8-3 record.
  24. District 1 Mayfield is the #1 team in the State so it lends itself the Cardinals have essentially locked down another District Title. Technically, this week's Ballard Memorial and Murray game is left to define the 2-seed, but we can go ahead and pencil Murray in as the 2-seed. Ballard Memorial defeated Webster County head to head so the Bombers will claim the 3-spot unless they pull the shocking upset. Projected Finish: 1. Mayfield 2. Murray 3. Ballard Memorial 4. Webster County District 2 Owensboro Catholic will be the District Champion, the Aces are playing great football and may be the only team with a legit chance of causing Mayfield to struggle in the West. mcLean County still has to finish off Hancock County, but even with a loss the Cougars appear poised to win any tie-breaker and clinch a home playoff game. Todd Central 27-20 win over Hancock County looms large as this should force the Hornets to finish 4th. Butler County will be on the outside looking in. Project Finish: 1. Owensboro Catholic 2. McLean County 3. Todd Central 4. Hancock County District 3 Glasgow appeared as if they were bound and determined to make the District race wide open for a Half against Monroe County with five First Half turnovers before they rallied to blow the game open in the Second Half. The Scotties will be your 1-seed. Monroe County has not quite lived up to expectations, but the Falcons have to only take down Green County to secure the 2-seed. Green County defeated Metcalfe County so this game will determine who gets the First Round home game straight up. Metcalfe is the 4-seed. Projected Finish: 1. Glasgow 2. Monroe County 3. Green County 4. Metcalfe County District 5 ** (KHSAA Cross Bracketing Moves District 5 to the Western Semi-State) Walton-Verona got a closer than expected game from Carroll County, but the 13-0 win locked up a District Title yet again for the Bearcats. The Panthers of Carroll County progressed nicely after a rough start and will be a solid 2-seed. Gallatin County won a war of attrition to knock off Owen County 12-6 which finalized the order since Trimble County did not field a team. Projected Finish: 1. Walton-Verona 2. Carroll County 3. Gallatin County 4. Owen County District 4 ** (KHSAA Cross Bracketing Moves District 4 to the Eastern Semi-State) Christian Academy of Louisville's huge rivalry win over DeSales cements them as the District Champion in this pivotal District. Washington County nearly shocked the State, but DeSales was able to grind out a surprising 24-12 win to vanquish the Commanders' hopes of forcing the annual DeSales/CAL game to have to take place in Round 2. The Commanders will settle for the 3-seed and set their sights on an upset of Lloyd in Round 1. Shawnee just wants to win a game as they are 0-8 backing into the 4-seed. Projected Finish: 1. CAL 2. DeSales 3. Washington County 4. Shawnee District 6 Newport Central Catholic got a measure of revenge by taking down Lloyd Memorial 26-8 on the road. The Breds are back on top of their District, as they are accustomed to, and now avoid a 2nd Round journey to a Louisville powerhouse. The Juggs will get that distinction as the Runner-Up and will have a tough First Round draw against Washington County before heading to CAL. Newport exceeded expectation and will be the 3rd ranked team, Holy Cross will just look for a merciful end to their season which will no doubt finish 0-11. Projected Finish: 1. Newport Central Catholic 2. Lloyd Memorial 3. Newport 4. Covington Holy Cross District 7 The District Champion is all "set", Somer-set that is. The Jumpers put a statement win on LCA in shutout fashion and will now point their vaunted Defense toward a deep playoff run. The only real drama left in Class 2A will play out in Danville. The Danville versus Lexington Christian game serves as fodder for major playoff implications for the 3rd year in a row, but unfortunately for both teams this is less about State Title aspirations and more about extending playoff games to be played. Middlesboro will start gassing the buses up for the long trip to Pike County for Round 1. Projected Finish: 1. Somerset 2. Danville 3. LCA 4. Middlesboro District 8 Shelby Valley is sitting pretty at 7-1 and has a strong chance of entering the playoffs 9-1 with their lone loss coming to a foe from outside the Bluegrass State. The Wildcats won a shootout against Leslie County to sure up the Championship plague for District 8. The Eagles overcame an 0-5 start to make this interesting, but they will instead have to settle for a home playoff game against the loser of the Danville/LCA game. Prestonsburg defeated East Ridge 32-16 in a game that ended up mattering to the Blackcats more than they would like. East Ridge will point to a 32-30 win, off everyone's radar, that will put them in the playoffs instead of Betsy Layne. Projected Finish: 1. Shelby Valley 2. Leslie County 3. Prestonsburg 4. East Ridge PROJECTED BRACKET REGION 1 @ 1. Mayfield 4. Hancock County @ 2. McLean County 3. Ballard Memorial @ 1. Owensboro Catholic (Hosts Regional Finals if Present) 4. Webster County @ 2. Murray 3. Todd County Central REGION 2 (Winner of Region Hosts Semi-Finals) @1. Glasgow 4. Owen County @ 2. Caroll County 3. Green County @ 1. Walton-Verona (Hosts Regional Finals if Present) 4. Metcalfe County @2. Monroe County 3. Gallatin County REGION 3 @ 1. Christian Academy of Louisville 4. Covington Holy Cross @ 2. Lloyd Memorial 3. Washington County @1. Newport Central Catholic (Hosts Regional Finals if Present) 4. Shawnee @ 2. DeSales 3. Newport REGION 4 (Winner of Region Hosts Semi-Finals) @ 1. Somerset 4. East Ridge @ 2. Leslie County 3. Lexington Christian Academy @ 1. Shelby Valley (Hosts Regional Finals if Present) 4. Middlesboro @ 2. Danville 3. Prestonsburg
  25. Of BYES and WINS As the leaves change and the District Schedule gets deeper, you start to see teams take strategically set BYE weeks to rest up for the stretch run. Often times this week off will coincide with Fall break giving the kids and coaching staff a much deserved reprieve from the grind of the season. Of the Top 15 teams in Class 2A, five of those teams will choose to take a Friday off this week including Mayfield, Glasgow, LCA, Walton-Verona, and Murray. With so many of the top teams not scheduled to play, along with the mandatory nature that District Scheduling brings, it is not uncommon for the first week of October to resemble the "doldrums" of Fall. Often times blowout games from over matched foes will follow suit, and leave us with a rather forgettable week. As we scan the Class 2A landscape, there is no denying some of this will be at play, but in the midst of the "light" schedule, a pair of monster games will make sure that this week is far from just a week to tune out and find a Fall Festival and some fresh Apple Cider to occupy your Friday. #5 Somerset at #8 Danville If I gave you a blind resume and told you this game would feature two teams with a combined six losses, including both teams losing last week, and the higher ranked team had two losses to Class 1A teams, would you judge this game appropriately? Danville and Somerset have each navigated absolute deathtraps of a non-district schedule ripe with Top-Ranked teams from other classes and games against schools with twice their enrollments. This week's game is quickly shaping into a "do or die" type of game for both programs. Remember that due to Cross Bracketing, District 6 (where each of these teams reside) will now draw the powerhouses from District 4 in the Regional Rounds to open the playoffs. With Lexington Christian playing quality football, the loser of this game at the very least puts themselves at risk of making a Second Round trip to to have to get a playoff win on the road. Shelby Valley is not a giant to slay, but a long road trip will be less than ideal to a team who may be playing with a ton of confidence looking to make a signature win for the program. Looking at the match-up of this game, it will be a simple formula to determine who will win the game. Get ready for this ground breaking analogy. THE WINNER OF THIS GAME WILL BE WHOEVER CAN SCORE THE MOST. All tongue in cheek satire aside, there is a simple truth to this statement. Somerset has relied heavily on one Class 2A's top Defenses and only once this season have the Jumpers allowed over 20 points. No knowledgeable fan will mistake this Danville Offense as the same juggernaut we saw last year, the Ads have only averaged a hair above 20 points per game their past six weeks and continue to struggle to find that feature back that can break the game open. With that said, Zach Thornton remains one of the best weapons in Class 2A and there is no shortage of athleticism or speed on the roster. Conversely, Somerset isn't exactly a team littered with elite playmakers on Offense and the Jumpers Offense has flat out come to a crawl against the better Defenses they have faced. Danville's LB Corp and D-line is capable of creating trouble for Somerset so a low scoring game is definitely possible. Ultimately, between these two teams it is going to be a battle to see if consistency reigns of if potential can be realized. Danville has shown flashes of brilliance when they played Corbin and Boyle County, but they have yet to put it all together for a full game. Somerset has been consistent all season. The Jumpers may not have the guys who make you take notice in pre-game warm ups or getting off the bus, but something can be said for the team that performs how you expect. Simply put, if Danville wants to get the sour taste this season is leaving in their mouths they will have to show a significant improvement in their resolve, focus, and overall team camaraderie to beat Somerset. #3 Christian Academy of Louisville at #1 DeSales Whereas Danville and Somerset leave questions that need to be answered, these two teams simply leave us ready for kickoff. There will be no surprises when these teams square off and renew one of the most exciting newer rivalries in the State. Both teams bring a stout Defense, a big play capable Offense, and some downright nasty individual talent to the field. The big question will be whether Depth overcomes individual star power. CAL brings perhaps one of the front runners for Mr. Football to the table in the dangerous Milton Wright, who legitimately can make the game turn on any given play whether on Offense, Defense, or Special Teams. The Centurions also have a major D-1 prospect in the trenches and blooming young star at RB. DeSales may not have any players with multiple stars by their name, but what they do have are a stable of really good payers who are only asked to do their job on one side of the ball. DeSales' depth gives them advantage that no other Class 2A team can match, and with their physical brand of football and ability to control the L.O.S., this becomes their greatest asset when the game is in doubt late in the 4th. On the flip side, CAL will never lack for confidence with the game on the line as they will always feel one of their stars will make the big play. The X-factor may come in experience at the QB spot. Aaron Pfaadt is never going to blow you away with his box scores. The Senior QB only averages 182 yards per game, but what he does best will seldom appear in the line score. This will be Pfaadt's fifth time starting under Center in a game featuring these two foes. At this point he has seen it all and been in the game when the outcome was in jeopardy and a big play needed to be made. Pfaadt is excellent at managing the Offense and has a knack for making the clutch play this year as the Colts have had essentially all but one game still in jeopardy in the 4th Quarter. Anthony Sabatino has been phenomenal stepping in as a first year starter for CAL but his season has been spent geared down for the most part against teams not on the same level of the Centurions. It will be interesting to see how he reacts with the roaring crowd and bright lights and the pressure of having to make a play. Expect another classic in this very competitive rivalry. At the end of the day also remember, this game may determine where the playoff rematch will be hosted, but at the same time neither team has conceded that a road game means insurmountable home field advantage in November. Hidden Gems? Todd Central (4-2) at McLean County (3-3)- McLean County is about to come out the other side of the heart of their schedule and the only thing in their way is a Todd Central team who would love to set a trap and make a statement. McLean was over matched the past two weeks against two highly ranked foes in #4 Owensboro Catholic and undefeated 4A Logan County. The Cougars have a very favorable schedule to help them get their confidence back up, but first they have to survive a Todd Central team who can position themselves for a home playoff game with a win. Newport (4-2) at Lloyd Memorial (4-2)- Three or four weeks ago this game would not even be registering on the radar of even the most ardent fans. Lloyd at the very least has been a consensus co-favorite in District 6 since the season's beginning, but the Juggs have not exactly been playing their best ball in recent weeks. Newport has been a pleasant surprise and have flipped the script after starting 2017 1-5 at his point.
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