After this week, every football team will have played at least 1 game. Several great matchups highlight this Friday Night.
#8 Harlan County vs. #2 Pulaski County
Ray Correll Bowl
It's the season opener for two teams with big expectations. Pulaski County is a year removed from their first ever Region title and they return a lot of talent. Keep your eyes on QB Zach Eastham (Nearly 2200 Yards passing, 24 TDs, 915 Yards rushing, 10 Rushing TDs) and RB Alex Abner (1,023 Yards, 17 TDs). Steven McQueen is a threat at wide out. The Maroons also specialize in the kick return game. For Harlan County it will be all about the ground game. A big and experienced line will lead the way for a pair of good running backs. Marcus McMillion and Cody Taylor combined for over 1700 Yards and 14 touchdowns. The contrast in styles will be interesting to see. One other note, Harlan County Head Coach Tom Larkey has 249 career wins. He is looking for number 250.
Southwestern @ #3 Somerset
Ray Correll Bowl
The opener of the Ray Correll Bowl will be a good one. When these two meet it usually is close. The Warriors hold a 2-game winning streak against the Briar Jumpers, but the most dangerous passing-receiving duo in the WYMT coverage area would like to change that. QB Eric Manning (2300 Yards, 28 TDs) and WR Storm Wilson (56 Receptions, 976 Yards, 11 TDs) are two of the best around. Southwestern is hoping to rebound from a tough season opener when they got drubbed by Bowling Green. I'm sure that the Warriors will be ready to go this Friday night.
East Ridge @ Shelby Valley
Pike County Bowl
The East Eidge Warriors are looking to beat Shelby Valley for the first time in school history. With an experienced backfield (over 3,000 yards rushing returning from last season) they have the potential to do just that. But Shelby Valley will not go quietly. Despite losing a LOT of from last years team, this years squad posted a 66-0 victory over Knott County Central in the season opener. This one will be interesting to see.
#9 Sheldon Clark @ Breathitt County
This is a rematch of a defensive showdown from last season that Sheldon Clark won 6-0. This time the game is by the river bank in Jackson. The Bobcats are always dangerous at home. They are coming off a season opening win at Campbellsville. The Cardinals would really like to forget their opening week beating at the hands of Collins (48-16). A win over Breathitt County could help make that happen. This game could be an early season prelude of what is to come in the playoffs if both teams were to advance far enough to face each other a second time.
WYMT will be doing live football coverage at the Pike County Bowl on Saturday. The first game between Pike Central and Phelps will air live on the internet at wymtnews.com and will be aired on a tape delayed basis Sunday at Noon. The night cap featuring Pikeville and Boyd County (kicking off sometime between 8:30 and 9:00) will air live on WYMT-TV and wymtnews.com.
Also to note, a pair of coaches make their coaching debut this Friday night. Justin Haddix of Perry Central and Eddie Melton of Leslie County take the field for the first time ever as head coaches. Haddix and the Commodores face Casey County while Melton and the Eagles travel to Daniel Field to face the Hazard Bulldogs.
4th Times the Charm
Speaking of Hazard... the Bulldogs have won 3 straight Region titles. That is the longest active streak in the Mountains.
Looking Back One Week (Some of the top performers from the previous week)
Cory Davenport (Bell County) - 8 Carries, 176 yards, 3TDs
Jesse Rose (Letcher Central) - 17 Carries, 227 Yds, TD
Drew Bentley (Letcher Central) - 7 Carries, 145 Yds, 2 TDs
Ethan Powers (Williamsburg) - 10-22 Passing, 236 Yards, 5 TDs... 8 Carries, 122 Yards, TD
Hunter James (Lawrence Co.) - 6 Carries, 176 Yards, 5 TDs
Caleb Bentley (Lawrence Co.) - 4 Carries, 117 Yards, TD
As always, support your local teams.
~ Jeff Archer