Week 1 Playoff Preview
The first week of the High School football playoffs in the Commonwealth of Kentucky usually features mostly blowouts. But several first round games could be entertaining.
Pineville @ Betsy Layne
The Betsy Layne Bobcats make only their second playoff appearance in school history, and host their first playoff game ever. The Pineville Mountain Lions had a goal of hosting a home playoff game this season. If they make it to the second round they will be happy either way. It’s an interesting battle of running backs. Pineville features Cody Hendrickson (159 Carries, 1,822 Yards and 25 touchdowns). Betsy Layne has a pair of backs over 1,000 yards on the season. Casey Adkins (142 Carries, 1,541 yards and 14 touchdowns) and Korey Jarrell (103 Carries, 1,126 and 11 touchdowns) form a dangerous 1-2 combination. This one will come down to who can grind it out the best.
Paintsville @ Harlan
The Green Dragons earned a home playoff game with a win over Pineville. Now they must protect their house. After starting the season 1-4 Donahue’s Dragons ended the season strong, going 3-2 with both losses coming to Mountain Top 10 teams (Hazard and Knox Central). Ty Saragas has blossomed into a very reliable quarterback (114-191, 1413, 18 TDs, 7 Ints). Paintsville on the other hand struggled down the stretch going 1-4 to close out the year. The Tigers will have to get more production out of their offense which scored 6 or less points in each of their four losses down the stretch.
Leslie County @ Shelby Valley
This is a rematch from an October 1st game that Leslie County won 24-19. That game was in Hyden. This time they will play at Valley. Tim Smith had a big game that night (14 Carries, 219 yards, 2 TDs) and will have to have another big game this week if Shelby Valley hopes to turn the tables on Leslie County.
#7 Pike County Central @ Russell
The Hawks face a tough challenge on the road to open the playoffs. Alan Boggs and Cory Shouse will both be able to play following an injuction after the pair were ruled ineligible by the KHSAA. And they will need big games from both, particularly Boggs who has a cannon of an arm. Pike Central is coming off a big road win at Prestonsburg. They’ll have to come up with a second straight big road win to earn a rematch with Sheldon Clark (most likely) after defeating the Cardinals less than a month ago.
Rockcastle County @ Lawrence County
Our WYMT Game of the Week features two of the best backs in our coverage area. Clark Rowe is a 5’10”, 190 pound Junior who has rushed for over 1700 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Rockets. He is their primary (and secondary) weapon. On the other sideline is Hunter James of Lawrence County. He has racked up 1,462 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground. Rockcastle County will have to rely on an improving defense. The difference in the game may be Bulldog QB Hayden Kiser who has completed 59% of his passes for 1300 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Whitley County @ Southwestern
This is a classic Dale Anderson Warriors team. They struggled through a tough early potion of the season before finishing the season 5-1 over their last 6 games. Dustin Powell and Cody Mote have combined for over 1600 yards and 12 touchdowns. Zack Turpin is a solid quarterback and Alan Williams is one of the top wide receivers in the area with a great pair of hands who has the ability to make the tough catch. Whitley County enters this game on a roll, winners of 4 straight. They love to pound the ball. This one could go down the wire and should be entertaining.
As always, support your local teams!
~ Jeff Archer