Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Highway 45 Trophy

I've never been happy with the KHSAA's decision to award six state football trophies.  It's too many trophies for a state as small as Kentucky, and it leads to dynasties and walkovers all over the Commonwealth.  Plus it has created a bunch of districts that are hopelessly lopsided.  Furthermore, the endless rounds of playoffs means that you have to sit through a bunch of blowouts in the early rounds.  Furthermore, McCracken County is stuck in 6A, which means their best-case scenario is being blown out by one of the big powers in Louisville.

So these days, I'm really interested in two aspects of high school football in Western Kentucky.  Obviously, I'm interested in the playoffs -- but only once we get down to the quarterfinals, and only for the classes below 6A.  (The annual struggle between Trinity and St. X does nothing for me.)  The games before then usually aren't very good.  Second, I'm interested in the three-way contests between Paducah Tilghman, McCracken County, and Mayfield -- the battle for what I call the Highway 45 Trophy.  For reasons I don't really understand, these games -- which are usually some of the best of the year -- are played at the beginning of the season, before the teams are at their best.  But anyway, here is a history of the Highway 45 Trophy, including last night's thriller.  (As usual, home teams are listed first).

08/24/13:  McCracken Co. 23 - 24 Paducah Tilghman
08/30/13:  Mayfield 35 - 34 McCracken Co.
09/07/13:  Paducah Tilghman 21 - 28 Mayfield
Winner:  Mayfield

08/23/14:  Paducah Tilghman 21 - 49 McCracken Co.
08/29/14:  McCracken Co. 38 - 37 Mayfield
09/05/14:  Mayfield 47 - 21 Paducah Tilghman
Winner:  McCracken Co.

08/22/15:  McCracken Co. 7 - 21 Paducah Tilghman
09/04/15:  Paducah Tilghman 14 - 37 Mayfield
09/11/15:  Mayfield 31 - 37 McCracken Co. (OT)
Winner:  None (McCracken Co. retains trophy)

08/21/16:  Paducah Tilghman 6 - 41 McCracken Co.
09/02/16:  Mayfield 48 - 26 Paducah Tilghman
09/09/16:  McCracken Co. 41 - 46 Mayfield
Winner:  Mayfield (2)

08/19/17:  McCracken Co. 20 - 19 Paducah Tilghman
09/01/17:  Paducah Tilghman 14 - 47 Mayfield
09/08/17:  Mayfield 49 - 27 McCracken Co.
Winner:  Mayfield (3)

08/18/18:  Paducah Tilghman 35 - 6 McCracken Co.
08/31/18:  Mayfield 51 - 27 Paducah Tilghman
09/07/18:  McCracken Co. 21 - 51 Mayfield
Winner:  Mayfield (4)

08/24/19:  McCracken Co. 43 - 47 Paducah Tilghman

All-time records:
Mayfield:  10-2 (4 titles)
McCracken Co.:  5-8 (1 title, 1 retained title)
Paducah Tilghman:  4-9 (0 titles)


  1. 1973 me just got done reading about the first Heath-Mayfield football game:

    S-D Assistant Sports Editor

    MAYFIELD, Ky.--For a minute and four seconds, Heath was on the brink of one of the biggest upsets in recent West Kentucky high school football history here Friday night.

    The Pirates, in only their third season of Class A football, led perennial Class AA power Mayfield for precisely that long late in the 1973 opener for both schools on the Cardinal gridiron.

    With only 21 players in uniform and heavily outweighed, Coach Jack Haskins' feisty swashbucklers rattled the Redbirds with an aggressive, stingy defense and trailed by only six points heading into the final quarter.

    For three quarters, the equally stingy Mayfield defenders had kept the Heath offense bottled up. But a pair of Buc sophomores hooked up on two straight passes that covered 60 yards and suddenly the Piraes led 14-13 with only 2:33 remaining in the game.

    Heath rooters were still in a screaming state of frenzy four plays and one minute, four seconds later when Mayfield quarterback Greg Hill uncorked a 48-yard scoring aerial to David Aubin that burst the Pirate upset and lifted Mayfield to a 20-14 victory ...

  2. In the week of practice before this first game, Heath lost its senior quarterback for the season to a leg injury. The new guy is a sophomore, our nice Heath Middle School science teacher, Mr. Fletcher.

  3. What's amazing to me is that Mayfield is actually better now than it was when we were kids. Back then they used to lose to Tilghman every once in a while. Now that never happens.