Beyond the Box Scores

Week One High School Pregame

By: Derek Forrest
By: Derek Forrest

Later tonight will be the start of the high school football regular season. Looking at the WYMT Mountain Top Ten, things could really shake up by the end of the night. Here are a few of the match-ups.



Later tonight will be the start of the high school football regular season. Looking at the WYMT Mountain Top Ten, things could really shake up by the end of the night. Here are a few of the match-ups.

#5 Johnson Central vs. #4 Breathitt County

The biggest match-up of the night just may be #4 Breathitt County taking on #5 Johnson Central. Coach Holcomb versus Coach Matney would be big enough to draw a huge crowd in Jackson, KY. The only problem is, Coach Matney will not be attending the game due to the decision brought down by the KHSAA. Regardless, this game will be a great one to watch. Both, Breathitt and Johnson Central will burn up some mileage on the ground; the Bobcats will look to tap dancing, guitar playing, slam dunking,  solider boy dancing (please refer to youtube.com) running back Channing Fugate who looked real solid in preseason scrimmages. The Golden Eagles come off the graduation of Shawn Grim, however JCHS's offensive scheme looks to mirror a little bit of Belfry's this season as they plan on running more frequently, or as most like to call it, "three yards and a cloud of dust."

Either way, this game will sure be a treat to fans of both squads and even the casual viewer.

Which team's running game will wear out the other team first?

#6 Pulaski County vs. #10 Rockcastle County

This game involves two teams that may have reversed roles last year. Pulaski County came on strong, showing that they are becoming a powerhouse over on our "left coast" of the WYMT coverage area. Rock, who is normally considered the powerhouse as well as "Linemen U" (with both Jason Leger and Brad Durham moving on to bigger and better things at the University of Kentucky) struggled last season.

The Maroons of Pulaski County will be led by Junior quarterback Chris Muse who is hoping to improve on what was already an incredible year last season; over 1,700 yards in the air with 16 TDs, and just under 2,000 yards on the ground adding another 19 scores. He lost his go to guy in the air with Ronnie Claiborne now catching passes at Union College, but will still rely on Winston Hines taking hand offs from him out of the backfield. Last season, Hines ran for just over 1,200 yards and 15 TDs.

The biggest lost for Rock from last year was their head coach, Tom Larkey. Scott Parkey (yes it rhymes) takes over the reins and comes into a good situation in his first year. Expect Rock to pound the ball versus Pulaski with their two headed monster. Casey Hayes and Cody Mize both return for Rock, and do not be surprised if they try to wear out Pulaski's line. Hayes and Mize combined for just over 1,700 yards last season, and should lead this offense.

Will a team who is still on the rise be victorious or will the tradition of Rock prevail?

Harlan County vs. #7 Letcher Central

Letcher Central had to surprise everyone last season. The Cougars starting the year with a crushing blow losing to Hazard 43-22. But who knew that would be the turning point of the season for this team. Letcher Central went on to will 11 games in a row, before falling to Highlands in the third round of the playoffs. With the return of quarterback Charlie Banks, Letcher will look to continue the success they had all season long.

But they will have to do so with the newest kids on the block, the Black Bears of Harlan County. Formerly Cawood, Cumberland and Evarts, Harlan County is the new consolidated school. Here is a good note for you. This game will feature the last two school to consolidate in Eastern Kentucky, as Letcher Central first took the field in 2005.

Its hard to say right off the bat how Harlan County will do this year, but they do have one thing that is known, a great coach in Tom Larkey who left previously mentioned Rockcastle County to take over this new program.

Over the summer, Harlan County has had as many as 98 players on the practice field at the same time, so the Black Bears easily win the numbers game. Now, you take the best football players from Cumberland, Cawood and Evarts, and that could be a deadly combination. Players like Nathaniel Gilliam, T.J. Green, and Lance Simmons are used to being the stars of their own team, but now they need to learn how to share the wealth.

So just how well will these players gel together?

That is one of many questions that will be answered after week one of the high school football regular season.

- Derek "Rock" Forrest

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