Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 – Week 5 Review / Looking Ahead to Week 6
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The same ten teams remain in this week’s poll. However, the deck was shuffled at the bottom. Here’s a review of how those teams performed last time out plus a look ahead to this week’s action.
1. Johnson Central (4-0)
Last Game: Defeated Perry Central 75-24
Next Game: at Harlan County
The Golden Eagles continue to man the top spot in the rankings as Jim Matney’s team has now won 15 in a row against district opponents. Johnson Central’s last loss in district play came at the hands of Ashland Blazer back on October 20th, 2017. The running game has been Johnson Central’s calling card through the first three games and in the outing against the Commodores, that story was no different. The Golden Eagles rushed for a season-high 520 yards as a ballclub as Dillon Preston spearheaded the attack once again. The senior blistered the Perry Central turf with 216 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Mason Lawson also exceeded the century mark with 126 yards and a score. The Golden Eagles lead the state in rushing at 426 YPG and are one of just two teams to run for more than 400 YPG (Pike Central is the other at 404 YPG). Defensively, the Golden Eagles had two takeaways including a pick-six by junior Reece Goss. Johnson Central is third in the state in scoring at 51.8 PPG. Only Fairdale and Bardstown are averaging more.
The defending 4A State Champions return to action on Friday as they travel to Harlan County to take on the Black Bears in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week. Johnson Central won both meetings between these two programs last season.
2. Somerset (5-0)
Last Game: Defeated Danville 42-3
Next Game: vs. Lexington Christian
It was another masterful performance by Robbie Lucas' unit as the Briar Jumpers handed Danville their worst loss since the defeat to Boyle County last season, 59-0. Kentucky commit Kaiya Sheron had another solid game as the senior threw for 193 yards and a touchdown. Chase Doan had his lowest rushing total in a game this season against the Admirals with just 49 yards but the junior did find the endzone once. Doan now has a team-leading seven rushing TDs. Mikey Garland was fantastic near the goal line as the senior found paydirt three times. Senior Kade Grundy had four catches for 123 receiving yards and a score. The Somerset defense was sensational as they held Danville to its lowest point total of the season and are allowing the third fewest points per game in Class 2A behind Lloyd Memorial and West Carter at 9.2 PPG. The Briar Jumpers are also allowing the third fewest rushing yards per game in class.
Somerset returns home for a colossal district tilt on Friday as they play host to the Lexington Christian Eagles. LCA got the better of Somerset in last year’s regular season meeting as they edged the Briar Jumpers, 35-34 but Somerset got payback when it mattered most with a 28-26 victory in the second round of the playoffs.
3. Pikeville (4-1)
Last Game: Defeated Phelps 54-6
Next Game: vs. Hazard
The Panthers began district action with a bang as Chris McNamee’s crew eclipsed the 50-point mark for the second time this season. Isaac McNamee wasted no time getting back to his usual form as the junior tossed the pigskin for 167 yards and three touchdowns. For the second time this season, Nate Collins paced Pikeville in rushing with 130 yards and two scores. The senior also led the team in rushing against Henry Clay. Sophomore Blake Birchfield caught his first touchdown pass of the season while junior Zac Lockhart returned a punt for six against the Hornets. Lockhart is sixth in the state in receiving yards per game with 116 and is tied for second in touchdown receptions with nine. Despite having already played two 6A schools, the Panthers are still in the top ten in 1A in points per game, points allowed per game and margin of victory.
The reigning 1A State Champs will take the field for their second home game of the season against Hazard on Friday. As of now, it is also Pikeville’s final regular season game at Hillard Howard Field. The Panthers went 2-0 against the Bulldogs last season.
4. Belfry (3-2)
Last Game: Lost to North Hardin 21-20
Next Game: at Lawrence County
The Pirates were presented with a tremendous challenge against the Trojans out of Class 6A and almost pulled off the monumental victory. Belfry had either held the lead or was tied with North Hardin for most of the game. Unfortunately, Trojans' Quarterback Manie Wimberly threw what turned out to be the touchdown pass that would put North Hardin over the top to Lavell Wright with 28 seconds left in the game (along with the made extra point). Belfry Quarterback Brett Coleman was fantastic as the senior ran for 154 yards and three TDs. Running Back Isaac Dixon had a great game as well, rushing for 124 yards. Dixon leads 3A in rushing yards per game with 197 and is second behind Taylor County’s Wes Oliver in rushing touchdowns with 11. Philip Haywood’s squad is scoring the seventh most points per game in class at 34.8 PPG.
After two consecutive home games, the Pirates are back on the road on Friday as they travel to Louisa for a district battle against Lawrence County. Belfry cruised to victory in their lone meeting with the Bulldogs last season, 48-0.
5. Southwestern (5-0)
Last Game: Defeated Whitley County 27-6
Next Game: vs. South Laurel
The Warriors are off to their second 5-0 start in three years. Southwestern also won their first five games back in 2018 and made it all the way to the Regional Final before losing to archrival Pulaski County. The ground game was the bread and butter offensively yet again as Jason Foley’s team ran for 224 yards against the Colonels. Junior Tanner Wright was the team’s leading rusher once more, going for 88 yards and one touchdown. Giddeon Brainard did what he usually does when Southwestern gets near the goal line and that is score. The junior produced 60 yards and two touchdowns. The defense has improved drastically since the first contest against Wayne County as they are allowing 12.7 PPG in their last four games. Southwestern is second in 5A in passing yards allowed per game at 54. Only the Doss Dragons are surrendering fewer passing yards per game.
The Warriors return home on Friday for a district clash with South Laurel. Southwestern won last year’s contest against the Cardinals, 38-20.
6. Paintsville (4-0)
Last Game: Defeated Fairview 57-6
Next Game: vs. West Carter (10/17)
Ever since the season opening tilt versus East Jessamine, to say that it has been smooth sailing for Paintsville would be an understatement. The Tigers are now just one of five teams left in Class 1A with an unbeaten record. Not a lot of yards in terms of total offense were produced against the Eagles but Joe Chirico’s team definitely took advantage of the short fields that were provided to them. Jake Hyden completed all seven of his pass attempts for 117 yards and three touchdowns while three different Tigers scored rushing TDs. Defensively, Paintsville had two interceptions including one returned for a score and held Fairview to 189 yards of total offense. The Tigers lead their class in points per game at 48.2 PPG and fewest points allowed per game at 7.5 PPG. In fact, Paintsville is the only team in 1A that is allowing single figures in points per game.
Paintsville’s next game was supposed to be against district foe Betsy Layne but that game has been put off due to COVID-19. Instead, the Tigers will now welcome West Carter to town on Saturday.
7. Pulaski County (4-1)
Last Game: Defeated North Laurel 41-18
Next Game: at East Jessamine
After losing to Belfry to open their 2020 campaign, the Maroons have been on an upward trajectory in each of the past four weeks. Drew Polston was good by and large in his most recent outing against the Jaguars as the junior signal caller heaved the rock for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Polston is second in 5A in passing yards per game at 253 and is tied for second in touchdown passes with 12. Senior Tristan Cox made North Laurel pay from close distance, adding three rushing touchdowns. Cox now leads Pulaski County in rushing touchdowns with five. Sophomore Barek Williams had another great game in the receiving department, catching nine passes for 139 yards. Sophomores Chandler Godby and Donovan Abbott both had one touchdown reception apiece. The defense recorded a season-high five interceptions and held the opposition to less than 20 points for the second time this season. The Maroons lead their class in interceptions with nine.
Like Paintsville, Pulaski County will also be taking their act on the road for the next three weeks, starting with a trip to Nicholasville to do battle with East Jessamine on Friday.
8. Letcher Central (4-0)
Last Game: Defeated Harlan County 24-7
Next Game: vs. No. 1 Johnson Central (10/23)
The Cougars were on a bye last week as their game against Clay County was canceled due to COVID-19. Letcher Central is one of six teams in Class 4A that remains undefeated and is one of four teams to have a 4-0 record. Carson Adams is 13th in rushing in 4A as the Quarterback is averaging 103 rushing yards per game. The junior is also tied for seventh in rushing touchdowns with seven. Adams is 17th in passing yards per game with 107. Adams is also the only player in 4A to average more than 100 yards per game in rushing and passing. Letcher Central is 11th in scoring in class at 32.8 PPG but the defense has been the strong suit. The Cougars are just one of four teams in 4A to allow less than 10 points per game at 9.3 PPG and are tied for fifth in fumble recoveries with five. Sophomore Cooper Bailey leads the Cougars in sacks with three.
Junior Matthews' ballclub is idle again this week but will have their biggest challenge of the season next Friday, October 23rd when they journey to Paintsville to take on Johnson Central.
9. Corbin (3-1)
Last Game: Defeated Knox Central 34-7
Next Game: vs. Lincoln County
The Redhounds put away the Panthers for the sixth straight time and are 3-1 for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Corbin had 355 yards of total offense against Knox Central and scored more than 30 points for the second consecutive outing. Three different Redhounds scored rushing touchdowns while sophomore Wide Receiver Dakota Patterson led the team in receiving with five catches and 83 yards. The defense recorded three sacks and generated two takeaways. Sophomore Dawson Fore had a team-high 10 tackles against Knox Central. Fore is sixth in 4A in tackles per game with 11. Corbin checks in this week having allowed the eighth fewest amount of points per game at 12.2 PPG.
Another pivotal district matchup awaits for Tom Greer’s squad as they go head-to-head with Lincoln County in their final home regular season contest on Friday. Corbin prevailed against the Patriots in last year’s matchup in Stanford, 26-21.
10. Breathitt County (3-0)
Last Game: Defeated Middlesboro 35-20
Next Game: vs. Greenup County
Kyle Moore’s team decided to step away from the action last week. Junior Jaylen Turner is fifth in 2A in passing yards per game with 201 and is one of only five players to average more than 200 yards passing per game. Turner is also tied for fifth with Shelby Valley’s Russ Osborne in touchdown passes with eight. Austin Sperry comes in as the third leading receiver in 2A with 102 yards per game. The freshman also leads the team in touchdown receptions with four. The Bobcats are second in their class in scoring as they are averaging 48.2 PPG, trailing only the West Carter Comets in that department. Breathitt County is also defeating their opponents by an average margin of 24.7 PPG, good enough for third best in 2A.
The Bobcats were supposed to host Floyd Central for their next game but the Jaguars have called off this matchup due to COVID-19. However, Breathitt County was able to schedule a contest with Greenup County on short notice and will welcome the Musketeers to Jackson on Friday.
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