This week features a couple of Thursday night games so we'll start there.
Apple Bowl XXXV #3 Johnson Central (5-0) vs. Paintsville (4-1)
This is one of the most bitter rivalries in the Mountains, just ask Jim Matney. He says that it's not only one of the most bitter rivalries in the Commonwealth, it's one of the most bitter rivalries in the nation (really). This Thursday night affair is a study in contrast. I'm not sure in Johnson Central has run a play outside of the hashes yet. On the other side, Paintsville hasn't run a play inside the hashes. Johnson Central likes to pound away at their opponents with a pair of backs. Chase Richardson and Nathan Dillon have combined for over 1,000 yards. Paintsville spreads it out with 4 and 5 wide. Even though the Tigers like to spread it out, they use the open field for the running game. Nehemiah Doderer has been a dangerous weapon this season. Paintsville holds a 20-14 lead in the all-time series, but Johnson Central has taken the last 4 straight.
South Floyd (1-3) vs. Phelps (0-4)
It's a game that both teams need if they are going to salvage their playoff lives. A win doesn't put them in the playoffs, but it certainly helps. Phelps hasn't gotten much going so far this season. South Floyd can score some points, but they struggle to stop teams when they are defense.
Belfry (4-0) vs. Pikeville (2-3)
On paper this game may look like an easy pick. But Belfry has looked sloppy on occasion (most of the time they look good) and Pikeville has played a couple of big schools tight. The Panthers hung in with Corbin and Lexington Catholic, even leading the Knights in the Third Quarter. This game has no bearing on the playoffs but always draws a good lively crowd.
Clay County (2-2) vs. Middlesboro (3-1)
After falling to Whitley County in week one, Middlesboro has rolled off 3 straight wins. Hunter Adams has been up to his old tricks for the Yellowjackets, leading them in rushing yards and receptions. Chase Roark is starting to grow into his quarterback roll. He's thrown 5 touchdowns compared to 3 interceptions on the season. Clay County has a solid running game, but it's the passing game that has everyone talking. Zach Lewis leads the way at quarterback. He continues his chase of Tim Couch this week. Lewis is 385 yards away from breaking Tim Couch's career passing yardage mark. One other play maker for the Tigers is John Hooker. Hooker uses his 6-4 frame to make a lot of catches. He is also a dangerous kick-off return man.
Lexington Christian (4-1) vs. Corbin (5-0)
This is a marquee matchup. The Redhounds host one of the better teams in the state. Corbin will come at the Eagles with a power running game. Lexington Christian has a lot of weapons. QB Lucas Witt has already thrown for 14 touchdowns. They also have a strong ground game. Dominique Hayden has rushed for 809 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Allen Central (3-2) vs. Betsy Layne (2-2)
This is a good District game. The winner most likely will finish third in the District. That means most likely a matchup with Harlan in the first round of the playoffs instead of Hazard. Allen Central continues to pound their opponents on the ground, averaging over 300 yards rushing and 3 TDs per game. Betsy Layne is looking for a trip to the playoffs. A win on Friday would all but lock one up. Dylan Maldonado and Casey Adkins form a nice one-two punch in the backfield for the bobcats.
Make sure to join us this Friday on Sports Overtime for all the best highlights, scores and breakdowns from this weekends games.