Finally many of the games matter. With how the playoffs are set up in Kentucky what you do outside of District play means almost nothing (it does factor in to tie breaking scenarios, but that’s it). With that being said, here are some games to keep an eye on this week.
#1 Bell County (5-0, 1-0) @ #4 Knox Central (5-1, 1-0)
This is one of the biggest games all season long. Mark it down. The matchup pits the two best teams in the District up against one another. Knox Central has been the only team in the coverage to give Bell County a run for their money in recent years. The Panthers were on the verge of victory in the playoffs in 2008 before the Bobcats rebounded for a 19-14 win on their way to a State Championship. It might have something to do with Wayne Mills being a former Bell County coach. I’m not really sure. All I know is it will be a battle. The Panthers only loss on the season came to Johnson Central in overtime when Knox went for 2 and the win but came up short. Plenty of stars will be on display in this one, including a pair of underrated quarterbacks.
Belfry (3-2) @ Pikeville (3-2)
This is a classic rivalry, one that has been dominated by the Pirates over the last decade. The Panthers last victory was in 2000. For a non-district game, this one carries a lot of weight. For many years this game was considered the battle for Pike County. And bragging rights still exist in this one. Belfry enters with some momentum after wins over 5A teams Letcher Central and Whitley County. A win for either team would go a long way as they both make their way through District play.
Harlan County (4-1, 1-0) @ Letcher Central (1-4, 0-1)
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This game can be summed up in one word, “hate”. These two teams hate each other. They felt that way before they even ended up in the same District together. Apparently, having a giant mountain between you is not enough to keep the unpleasant feelings down. Let’s actually talk about the game now. These two teams are headed in opposite directions. Harlan County lost the season opener to a very talented Pulaski County squad but since then have run the table. Letcher Central won their opener but since then have suffered some difficult losses. But do not expect a Harlan County blowout. Any rivalry game usually stays close, and both teams will bring everything they have. Oh yeah, this also happens to be a District game where every District win is considered a golden nugget.
Breathitt County (3-3) @ Hazard (5-0)
The Breathitt County Bobcats continue on with their tough 2010 schedule. This will also be a nice test for the Bulldogs. Breathitt County could really use a win as they get ready to enter District play. They at times have looked great and other times a little lost. They have the ability to make a deep run if everything comes together. Hazard appears as if they will make a deep run in the playoffs once again and games like this will get them ready. Jon Combs has looked great at QB this season, tossing 19 touchdown passes with only 2 interceptions. It helps when you have a trio of good receivers in the form of Jordan Olinger, Austin Johnson and B.J. Combs. Also, the Bulldogs have quietly collected 19 turnovers in only 5 games. That’s getting it done in the takeaway department.
Other games of interest:
Betsy Layne @ South Floyd – 2 teams battling for that last playoff spot in Class A, District 8. You have to have this one to have a shot at the playoffs.
Southwestern @ South Laurel – The Warriors are starting to get on a roll. The Cardinals are looking for win number 1. Either way, an every valuable District win is on the line.
#6 Clay County @ Whitley County – The Tigers continue their great turnaround season. Whitley County is a better team than their record shows. Clay County has to make sure they don’t overlook this game while waiting for Perry Central next week. I don’t think coach Arnett will let that happen.
Estill County @ Pineville – The Mountain Lions face a tough test when they welcome in 3A Estill County. But if Pineville can win, it would be this year. They are 5-0 and looking for their first 6 win season since 1990.
As always support your local teams.
~ Jeff Archer