Thursday, November 19, 2015

KHSAA Football Quarter-Finals

There are roughly 200 high schools in the KHSAA that play football, and now 48 of them have reached the State Quarter-Finals.  That's about how many teams should make the playoffs anyway, so now it's time to start taking these games seriously.

Here we go (home teams listed first) (private schools in italics):

Class 1A:
Last year, Mayfield won the 1A title for the third year in a row.  That was it for the Cardinals, who were booted up to 2A.  So now we're down to these eight schools, including Beechwood -- who won't miss Mayfield at all:

Russellville (10-2) v. Bethlehem (9-3)
Lou. Holy Cross (7-5)  v. Beechwood (11-1)
Paris (11-0) v. Paintsville (12-0)
Pikeville (10-2) v. Hazard (10-2)

Class 2A:
This class is dominated by private schools.  Last year, Louisville DeSales won the 2A title for the second year in a row.  It was the fifth year in a row that a Catholic school had won the 2A title.   The way the brackets are set up this year, it appears that Mayfield may have to beat three Catholic schools in a row to take the crown.

Mayfield (11-1) v. Owensboro Catholic (10-2)
Lou. Christian Academy (10-2) v. Lou. DeSales (10-2)
Newport Cent. Catholic (7-5) v. Erlanger Lloyd (9-3) (at Newport H.S.)
Danville (11-1) v. Lexington Christian (8-4)

By the way, Erlanger Lloyd's team is the Juggernauts.  That's really cool -- I never knew that before.  They are playing the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds, which is one of the better mascot match-ups I can remember.  Meanwhile, Owensboro Catholic are the Aces, which is almost the same nickname used by the University of Evansville (the Purple Aces).  What is the deal with Aces in that part of the Ohio River Valley?  Is it the riverboat gambling?

Class 3A:
For the last five years, this class has been dominated by Lou. Central and Belfry.  Central won the title in 2010, 2011, and 2012, while Belfry won in 2013 and 2014.  These teams have met for the title four of the last five years, the only exception being in 2013.  And they're on pace to meet in the finals again.

But in our neck of the woods, there is quite a story involving Caldwell County.  In 2013, the Tigers were 12-0 (with a win over Mayfield!) when they were stunned by Murray in the second round of the 2A playoffs.  In 2014, they were 11-1, but were again eliminated at home by Murray -- this time in the 2A quarterfinals.  Now they've moved up to 3A, so they don't have to worry about Murray any more, and they are 10-2.  That's a record of 33-4 in the last three years, with no trips to the State Semi-Finals.  So I expect a big crowd at Princeton to see if the Tigers can finally break through.  Unfortunately, they have drawn E-Town, which is 12-0 and has outscored its opponents 526-131.

Caldwell Co. (10-2) v. Elizabethtown (12-0)
Lou. Central (10-2) v. Lex. Catholic (9-3)
Belfry (11-1) v. Lawrence Co. (9-3)
Corbin (8-4) v. Bell Co. (10-2)

Class 4A:
For the last four years, this class has been the private playground of Fort Thomas Highlands.  The Bluebirds went 19-1 in the 4A playoffs during this period, winning three titles and one runner-up trophy.  Finally, the KHSAA moved Highlands to Class 5A, so someone new will win the 4A crown.  Since Hoptown was beaten last week, our end of the Commonwealth doesn't have a dog in this fight.  Please note that the "Scott" in this tournament is Scott H.S. in Taylor Mill, up in Kenton County -- not to be confused with Scott County, who we'll see in the 6A playoffs:

S. Warren (12-0) v. Franklin-Simpson (8-4)
John Hardin (9-3) v. Shelby Co. (11-1)
Wayne Co. (10-2) v. Knox Cent. (8-4)
Scott (10-2) v. Johnson Cent. (10-1)

Class 5A:
Before going down to 4A, Highlands used to dominate 5A.  The Bluebirds won the 5A title four times in a row from 2007 to 2010, and had a pretty easy time of it.  But while Highlands was rolling over the teams in 4A, Bowling Green built a powerhouse, winning three titles in a row from 2011 to 2013.  Last year, however, Bowling Green was beaten by Graves County (!) in one of the biggest upsets in KHSAA history, and the title fell to Pulaski County.  Now all three of those schools -- Highlands, Bowling Green, and Pulaski County -- are in the same tournament.  Also, this week's quarter-finals gives Bowling Green a chance to avenge its loss to Owensboro in the finals of last year's state basketball tournament.  As I recall, there was a fair amount of angst over the lack of support by Bowling Green fans in Rupp Arena last March.  It would be interesting to know how many of them drive up to Owensboro for this week's playoff game.  One thing is for sure -- the Owensboro fans (who are a haughty lot, given their rich sports history) will not be intimidated.  If I could see any game in the Commonwealth this week, I'd go to Owensboro.

But don't sleep on the Highlands/Cov. Cath. game.  That is an ancient and heated rivalry, and their records are misleading.  CovCath did lose seven games, but three of those losses were to schools in Ohio, and those schools are not eligible for the KHSAA crown.  They also lost to Ryle and Scott County, two strong 6A schools.  The other two losses were to Lexington Catholic (by one point) and to . . . Highlands, by the score of 14-10.  As for Highlands, the Bluebirds' five losses were all to 6A schools -- and three of those schools are still in the playoffs.  Highlands is riding a six-game winning streak, and they will like their chances.  Whichever team survives this game should be a tough out.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia reports that Fern Creek opened in 1923 as the first high school in Jefferson County School System.  I had no idea. By the way, in their last nine games, the Fern Creek Tigers have yielded a total of 28 points.  That stretch includes five shut outs.

Owensboro (11-1) v. Bowling Green (11-1)
S. Oldham (10-2) v. Lou. Fern Creek (11-1)
Ft. Thomas Highlands (7-5) v. Cov. Catholic (5-7)
Pulaski Co. (11-1) v. N. Laurel (11-1)

Class 6A:
Since this class was created in 2007, Louisville Trinity has won six of the eight titles awarded, including last year's.  In 2009, Trinity lost to St. X in the final.  In 2013, Scott County beat Meade County.  Everything else has come up Shamrocks.  But this week, the Shamrocks will be visiting Male -- who beat them 42-13 back on September 11 of this year.  Male is 12-0, with wins over Trinity and St. X.  The Male Bulldogs also beat Manual -- their long-time rivals -- twice this year, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs, by a combined score of 79-7.  That's quite impressive when you realize that Manual went 9-1 in its other games.  Male has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 567-60(!).  Male hasn't won any state football title since it won the AAAA title back in 2000.  But if the Bulldogs can beat Trinity again, that streak should come to an end.

On the other hand, since that loss to Male, Trinity has won eight games in a row -- including two wins over St. X.  In those eight games, Trinity outscored its opponents by a total of 369-29.  The Shamrocks almost always win, and this match-up is the most interesting one of the weekend.  It's hard to imagine Trinity getting blown out twice by the same team.

In the games below, "Cooper" is Randall K. Cooper H.S. in Union -- up in Boone County.  It opened in 2008, and was named for the first principal of nearby Larry A. Ryle H.S., also in Union.  (Cooper and Ryle are separated by a mere 4.7 miles.)

McCracken Co. (10-2) v. Cent. Hardin (9-3)
Lou. Male (12-0) v. Lou. Trinity (11-1)
Cooper (10-2) v. Simon Kenton (12-0)
Scott Co. (11-1) v. Lex. Lafayette (10-2)


  1. I’m rooting for Russellville, Beechwood, Paris and Hazard; Mayfield, LCA, Lloyd and Danville; Caldwell, Central, Belfry and Corbin; F-S, Shelby, Wayne and Johnson Central; Owensboro, the Creek, CovCath and Pulaski, and #STANGGANG, Male, Kenton and ScottCo.

  2. The bottom half of the Class A bracket features No. 1 (Paintsville) at No. 3 (Paris) and No. 4 (Pikeville) at No. 5 (Hazard) from the last AP poll of the season.

  3. We had an upset in Class 2A last week, when Lexington Christian won 28-20 at No. 6 Shelby Valley. Tonight, LCA, which received votes but did not make the final AP Top 10, plays at No. 2 Danville. This senior class of Admirals, at least, has never lost to Lexington Christian, and Danville plays the Eagles every regular season.

  4. And, yes, "Juggernauts" is a great nickname. I see that the Erlanger locals sometimes shorten to "the Juggs."

  5. Todd Griffin @toddgriffin100
    Caldwell County and Elizabethtown are the two highest-scoring teams in Class 3A football. The Tigers average 44.7 ppg, the Panthers 43.8.
    4:25 PM - 16 Nov 2015

    1. If I couldn't get to Owensboro, this is the game I'd like to see.

  6. Oh, excellent! Paintsville's K-lite is cutting in among its soft hits from the '80s, 90s and today with phone calls from the bus carrying the Tigers to Blanton Collier Stadium in Paris.

  7. OK, look ... I just can't handle this anymore ... rock on, K-lite, and safe travels, Paintsville Tigers, but ... now playing on Mayfield's WYMC: "Don't Pull Your Love" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds ... phew.

  8. WYMC just had some reporting on Mayfield's Christmas parade. I didn't catch the date, but the #ohky desk did note one of the key rules for the event: No Santa costumes are allowed, "because there is only one Santa Claus."

  9. Pulaski Football @PulaskiFootball
    PreGame ritual:
    3:30-Team Meeting
    3:31-Devotional (Gordy Prather)
    3:50-Team Meal
    4:30-Team Video (Auditorium)
    5:30-Walking of the plank ...
    2:08 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  10. Pulaski Football @PulaskiFootball
    5:35-Tape & Dress
    6:30-Team (Locker room)
    6:30-C & QB out
    6:40-Specialists out
    6:50-Team Warmup
    7:12-Saddle (Pad) Up (Locker room)......
    2:08 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  11. Pulaski Football @PulaskiFootball
    7:15-Special Teams Check
    7:17-Defensive Talk
    7:19-Pre Game talk
    7:22-Captains out
    7:25-Coin Toss
    7:27-Team Introductions
    7:30-Kick Off
    2:08 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  12. DRE' @Dreday1074
    Mayfield WARNING here comes the DOGPOUND and all theses Dogs are HUNGRY @Itzgottabemari @RayZuberer @HomersRadio @markmathisMI #WeAreOC
    2:24 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  13. Well, heck: Central Hardin 10 at McCracken County 7.

  14. Wow! Mayfield just hit a 48-yard field goal to take a 17-7 lead on OweCath.

  15. Todd Griffin ‏@toddgriffin100
    Etown catches Hail Mary in end zone with 1.9 seconds to go. PAT to come. Tigers down 32-27
    9:29 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  16. Final in Princeton: Caldwell falls to Etown, 32-27.

  17. Jeff Bidwell ‏@AKAJeffBidwell
    An all-time stomach-punch loss for Caldwell County tonight. Just brutal.
    9:33 PM - 20 Nov 2015

  18. OweCath's WKU-bound quarterback, Ray Zuberer, completes a fourth-and-5 pass, and the Aces are still alive at Mayfield. Still 17-7, Mayfield, inside of 5 minutes ...

    1. No, Mayfield's got it ... 1:40 to go ... 24-7, Cardinals.

  19. Final: Mayfield 24, Owensboro Catholic 13.

  20. Class A ...

    Bethlehem 20 at Russellville 41, Beechwood 21 at Holy Cross 9, Paintsville 48 at Paris 28 and Pikeville 50 at Hazard 6.

    So, No. 2 Beechwood at No. 7 Russellville and No. 4 Pikeville at No. 1 Paintsville (I think) next week.

  21. 2A tonight: OweCath 13 at Mayfield 24, DeSales 37 at CAL 18, Lloyd 0 at NewCath 41 and Lexington Christian 14 at Danville 56. Next week: No. 4 DeSales at No. 1 Mayfield and No. 2 Danville at No. 10 NewCath.

  22. 3A tonight: Etown 32 at Caldwell County 27, Lexington Catholic 14 at Central 13, Lawrence County 12 at Belfry 52 and Corbin 21 at Bell County 14. Next week: No. 6 Lexington Catholic at No. 2 Elizabethtown and unranked Corbin at No. 1 Belfry.

  23. 4A tonight: South Warren 34 at Franklin-Simpson 7, Shelby County 44 at John Hardin 14, Knox Central 14 at Wayne County 42 and Johnson Central 27 at Taylor Mill Scott 26. Next week: No. 3 Shelby County at No. 1 South Warren and No. 4 Johnson Central at No. 8 Wayne County.

  24. 5A tonight: Bowling Green 41 at Owensboro 12, The Creek 21 at South Oldham 20, CovCath 22 at Highlands 44 and North Laurel 24 at Pulaski County 28. Next week: No. 4 Fern Creek at No. 1 Bowling Green and No. 3 Pulaski County at unranked Highlands.

  25. 6A tonight: Central Hardin 10 at McCracken County 7, Trinity 19 at Male 20, Simon Kenton 13 at Cooper 12 and Lexington Lafayette 36 at Scott County 30. Next week: No. 1 Male at unranked Central Hardin (I think) and No. 7 Lafayette at No. 3 Kenton.