Breakdown of the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 after Week 1

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 7:56 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - After a longer offseason than usual, High School Football returned to the mountains on Friday night with open arms. Here’s a breakdown of the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 after the opening week of the season.

1. Johnson Central (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Bell County 36-0

Next Game: at Simon Kenton (Sept. 25th)

The Golden Eagles have now won 16 games in row, a stretch that dates back to the beginning of last season. Jim Matney’s crew had their way from start to finish against the Bobcats as senior Dylan Preston had 143 yards on the ground and four scores on 17 carries. The WYMT Player of the Week also scored on a 49-yard touchdown reception in that contest. Johnson Central ran for a total of 321 yards on offense.  Defensively, the Golden Eagles accrued 12 tackles for loss and also recovered a Bell County fumble.

The Golden Eagles are taking this week off but return to action next Friday as they will make the three-hour drive to Independence to take on the Simon Kenton Pioneers.

2. Somerset (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Whitley County 40-8

Next Game: vs. Williamsburg

For the second straight season, the Briar Jumpers put 40 points on the board in their season opener. The Colonels were no match for Somerset as star Quarterback Kaiya Sheron threw for 133 yards and racked up three total touchdowns but the senior did leave the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. This allowed backup QB Josh Gross to get some game reps as the sophomore aired it out for 121 yards and two scores. Senior Kade Grundy only caught three passes but the Wideout made the most of his opportunities, posting 113 yards and a touchdown. Junior Gavin Stevens had four receptions for 74 yards and two scores. Somerset was stout defensively as they held Whitley County to just 177 yards of total offense and did not allow the Colonels to get into the endzone until the fourth quarter.

Like last season, Somerset’s regular season schedule alternates between home and away games. Robbie Lucas' team will return to battle against Williamsburg in their home opener on Friday.

3. Pikeville (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Raceland 28-7

Next Game: vs. No. 4 Belfry

After dropping the Class 1A State Championship Game to Raceland back in 2017, Chris McNamee’s squad has now taken the last three decisions against the Rams. The weather was sloppy but that did not slow Blake Birchfield down as the sophomore ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Senior Nate Collins also found the endzone on the ground for the Panthers. Defensively, the Panthers forced four turnovers and have held Raceland to an average of 10.7 PPG in the last three meetings.

Up next for Pikeville is a rematch of last year’s epic duel with Belfry, a game that was won by the Panthers by a final score of 22-21. The Panthers are looking to make it back-to-back wins against the Pirates for the first time since Pikeville won three in a row from 1998 to 2000.

4. Belfry (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated No. 8 Pulaski County 33-13

Next Game: at No. 3 Pikeville

Fresh off of their fifth 3A State Title in the last seven seasons, the Pirates went back to work as senior Isaac Dixon ran for 194 yards and two scores on 14 touches. Dixon was not the only player to enjoy rushing success though as senior Brett Coleman picked up 66 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Senior Kyle Webb also had a great outing as he accrued 61 yards and two rushing scores. The Pirates have won their last eight season openers against a Kentucky opponent. Another milestone was notched in the illustrious career of Philip Haywood as the legendary coach picked up his 450th career victory.

Belfry will play their first road game of the season on Friday at Pikeville as Philip Haywood’s crew looks for payback against the Panthers (see Pikeville for last year’s result).

5. Paintsville (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated East Jessamine 39-24

Next Game: vs. Hazard (Sept. 25th)

The Tigers downed the Jaguars for the second time in two seasons but this time, Joe Chirico’s ballclub had to rally. Paintsville found themselves down 14-0 at the half but outscored East Jessamine, 39-10 in the second half to start their season off on the right foot. Senior Jake Hyden had a fantastic game all-around as the Quarterback threw for 192 yards and two scores while running for 107 yards and found paydirt on the ground twice. Harrison Phelps carved up the Jaguars with his feet as well as the sophomore had 144 yards and two TDs on 23 carries. In order to complete a comeback, the defensive side of the ball has to get stops as well as force some turnovers and Paintsville did just that. The Tigers picked East Jessamine off once and recovered three fumbles.

Paintsville was slated to meet with Crittenden County this week but the game has been canceled due to COVID-19. This now means that the earliest the Tigers can return to action is on Friday, September 25th against Hazard.

6. Breathitt County (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Estill County 60-43

Next Game: at Powell County

The Bobcats achieved a lot offensively last year but one thing that Kyle Moore’s team has already done that it did not do in 2019 was score 60 points in a game. Breathitt County has scored at least 50 points or more in six of their last eight games dating back to 2019. Signal Caller Jaylen Turner gave the Engineers fits as the junior slug the rock for 327 yards and three scores while logging 45 yards and two touchdowns with his feet. Austin Sperry enjoyed a nice outing as the freshman made his presence felt with 177 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Blake Ritchie and Lane Weddle also had strong performances in this matchup. Ritchie caught two touchdowns on offense and returned a pick-six to the house on the other side while Weddle had 98 receiving yards on eight receptions to go along with an interception house call.

Breathitt County continues their 2020 campaign with another road tilt, this time against Powell County on Friday.

7. Bell County (0-1)

Last Game: Lost to Johnson Central 36-0

Next Game: vs. Whitley County

Starting out the season against the defending Class 4A State Champions is never an easy task. The Bobcats are still trying to find their footing after losing talented players such as London Stephney and Jason Jones. Dudley Hilton’s crew struggled offensively but senior Hunter Bailey and sophomore Ethan Raby co-led Bell County in total tackles in this contest. The matchup against the Golden Eagles was the first time that the Bobcats have been shutout since October 2016.

Bell County continues their opening homestand on Friday as they welcome in 5A opponent, Whitley County in the Short-Redmond Pride of the Mountains Bowl.

8. Pulaski County (0-1)

Last Game: Lost to No. 4 Belfry 33-13

Next Game: at Madison Southern

The Maroons were not able to keep the Pirates' ground game in check as Pulaski County surrendered 364 rushing yards. Purdue commit Tristan Cox did score a rushing touchdown but was held to just 12 yards. Cox also led the Maroons in solo tackles with 12. Quarterback Drew Polston ran for 110 yards on 12 carries and threw for a touchdown. Sophomore Chandler Godby was the recipient of Polston’s lone touchdown pass.

Pulaski County heads to Berea for their first game against an in-class opponent this season as John Hines' unit goes toe-to-toe with the Madison Southern Eagles on Saturday.

9. Southwestern (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Wayne County 42-41

Next Game: vs. George Rogers Clark

The Warriors are the first of two new teams in this week’s poll as Jason Foley’s squad knocked off Wayne County in an absolute thriller. The Warriors got it done on offense with the run game as they ran for 302 yards. Tanner Wright was Southwestern’s leading rusher as the junior muscled his way to 164 yards and a TD. Giddeon Brainard was a tour de force near the endzone as the junior scored four touchdowns. Not much defense was played in this contest but the Warriors did have 14 TFLs along with forcing and recovering a fumble.

Southwestern faces another stiff challenge in their home opener on Friday as the Cardinals of George Rogers Clark come calling.

10. Knox Central (1-0)

Last Game: Defeated Harlan County 14-13

Next Game: vs. Bourbon County

Knox Central rounds out the top ten as Fred Hoskins' team opened the season with an impressive victory against the Black Bears. This also marks the fifth time in the last six matchups that Knox Central has gained the upper hand against the Harlan County. The Panthers had 310 yards on the ground including a pair of 100-yard rushers in junior Seth Huff and senior Ethan Mills. Huff recorded 195 rushing yards and two scores while Ethan Mills produced 107 rushing yards on 15 carries. Defensively, Knox Central held Harlan County to less than 100 yards through the air and forced two turnovers.

The Panthers will play their second straight home game on Friday as they look for revenge against David Jones and the Bourbon County Colonels. Knox Central fell to Bourbon County in last year’s regular season meeting, 31-12.

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