With the way the High School football playoff system is set up in the state of Kentucky everything hinges around District games. So things will really heat up this week. That being said, here are several games that should be entertaining this Friday.
#9 South Laurel vs. Southwestern
This is one of the biggest District games in the Mountains. They have split over the last two years with Southwestern winning last year. South Laurel has a lot of weapons, in particular quarterback Ricky Bowling and running back Stephen Quillen. In the Cardinals two wins this season Bowling has averaged 390 Yards and 4.5 Touchdowns a game through the air. Quillen has been a triple threat both running and catching passes out of the backfield along with returning kicks. Jake Cobb has provided a good target for Bowling early in the season hauling in 10 catches for 311 yards and 5 TDs. Southwestern comes in at 1-1 and seems to favor running the ball. Jake King has seen the bulk of the carries rushing 38 times for 257 yards and 4 TDs. One interesting note, coach Jason Chappell told us that they expect to run the ball more this week to keep Southwestern off balance.
Knox Central vs. #1 Bell County
Another key District game here. Knox Central fans have been claiming for the last couple of years that this is the year they beat Bell County. Wayne Mills has done an excellent job of making the Panthers into a contender but Knox has not been able to get over the hump of beating Bell. In the last 10 years Bell County is 11-0 against Knox Central. In those games the Panthers have only scored in double figures twice. This years game could be interesting. Bell County has been dominate in their first two games. The defense has been impressive and Spencer Greer has continued to put up big numbers. The Senior has rushed for 304 yards and 5 TDs. Knox Central picked up a big win over Clay County to open the season before falling to Corbin last week. Dexter Carnes has been a workhorse for the Panthers this season already rushing 43 times for 363 yards and 3 TDs.
#3 Johnson Central vs. Bryan Station
This always seems like an odd District game to me. Oh well. The Golden Eagles have looked incredible in their first 2 games, controlling both contests in wins at Breathitt County and at home against St. Thomas More of Ontario. Johnson Central has changed the phrase from "3 yards and a cloud of dust" to "6 yards and a cloud of dust". They move the ball very methodically and have yet to meet a team that can slow them down. The two back system of Chase Richardson and Nathan Dillon has been unstoppable. Richardson (37 caries for 419 yards and 4 TDs) and Dillon (27 carries for 248 yards and 3 TDs) should continue to roll up some big numbers if Johnson Central is to keep on winning.
Perry Central vs. #4 Letcher Central
Class 5A, District 8 was categorized by high scoring and a lack of defense last year. This game should light up the scoreboard as well. The Cougars have scored 42 and 67 points in their first two games. Senior QB Charlie Banks (aka, the "Tim Tebow" of the Mountains) makes this offense go. Banks has thrown for 359 yards and 3 TDs and rushed for 115 yards and 5 more TDs. While Perry Central can throw it, they much more favor to keep it on the ground. RB Demtri Travis (242 Yards and 5 TDs) and QB Jordan Amis (241 Yards, 1 TD) form a dangerous one-two punch out of the backfield. PCC head coach Bert Browne told us that the game could swing on turnovers. This is a very crucial early season District game.
South Floyd vs. Paintsville
This game intrigues me. It is a clash of two totally opposite styles. Paintsville goes four wide on very nearly every play. I don't know if South Floyd even has four wide receivers. What the Raiders do have is a power running game. Kyle Howell has put up some big numbers to start the season. He's rushed 26 times for 330 yards and 6 TDs. Paintsville likes to throw it, but they can also run it out of the spread. Nehemiah Doderer has run 20 times for 282 yards and 2 TDs. Could be an interesting game in Hi Hat.