Since District play doesn't start until week 3, the first two weeks of the High School football season can sometimes lack exciting matchups. That is not the case this year. Last week had several great pairings and this week is no different. That being said, here's a look at several of the key games.
#6 Breathitt County at #5 Prestonsburg
After falling 26-14 in the Honey Bowl to Johnson Central the Bobcats continue on with their tough schedule as they head to Prestonsburg. This is probably the marquee matchup this Friday. It will be a showdown of athleticism. I saw Breathitt County play on Friday and Prestonsburg on Saturday last week. Both teams fly around and have active defenses. The Bobcats struggled with Johnson Central's physical style of play. The Blackcats run it a lot, but not in the same smashmouth manner as the Golden Eagles. One key in this game is the loss of Allen Craynon. The P'burg running back is expected to miss this Fridays game due to a lingering hamstring injury. Seth Setser is an excellent back in his own right. Channing Fugate could have a big game. Should be a dandy.
North Laurel at South Laurel
One of the most fun rivalries in the Mountains. Last years game was trumped by some outstanding tailgating at North. They know how to throw a party. Keep your eye on Ricky Bowling. The Cardinal quarterback is creeping up on Tm Couch's career touchdown passes record. Couch had 133 touchdowns. Bowling now has 101 (if my math is right). Bowling lit up the night sky last week in South's 49-35 win over Holy Cross (Cov.) throwing for 5 touchdowns and 362 yards. Look for him to let it fly again. The Cardinals also got a big performance out of Stephen Quillen. He could be the X-Factor.
Whitley County at #1 Bell County
The Colonels looked very impressive in their 27-6 win over Middlesboro. They showed a very effective power rushing game. Whitley was led by running back Jason Powers. He carried the ball 24 times for 137 yards and 2 TDs. QB Jamie Lebanion also showed an ability to carry the pigskin. He rushed 9 times for 138 yards. Whitley County didn't thow much. They actually attempted only 1 pass... which was complete for a 9 yard touchdown pass. But the Bobcats can play a little football as well. They looked exceptional as a team against Garrard County, posting a 50-6 win. Bell County rushed for 347 yards. Even more impressive was the fact that they scored 7 touchdowns by 7 different players. With how much both teams run it, this could be the shortest game in High School football history. Whitley County wants respect and they have the chance to earn it Friday. But Log Mountain can be a cold place, even with 80+ degree weather.
St. Thomas More, ON at #3 Johnson Central
This is what I know about St. Thomas More. They are from Canada. They were national champions last year. They have won 18 straight games. They are called the Knights. That's the extent of my knowledge of this team. As for Johnson Central, I know that they can run the football. They lined it up and blew Breathitt County off the ball last week. They are incredibly physical. But they are also very athletic at the "skill" positions. I will be curious to see how the Canadians adjust to playing with 11 players (instead of 12) and the other rules that are different in the States.
Clay County at Leslie County
Zach Lewis should continue his chase of Tim Couch as well. Barring injury, Lewis should pass Couch's career yards passing mark by week 6 or 7. The Tigers are looking to rebound from a first week loss to Knox Central.
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