Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 – Week 6 Review / Week 7 Look Ahead
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - With the exception of Somerset and Pikeville trading places, the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top Ten kept the status quo this week. Let’s review the action from a week ago while looking ahead to this week’s contests.
1. Johnson Central (5-0)
Last Game: Defeated Harlan County 33-2
Next Game: vs. No. 8 Letcher Central
The Golden Eagles continue to manhandle the opposition as they are off to a 5-0 start for the seventh time in eight seasons. It was another stellar performance on the ground by Jim Matney’s crew as they ran for 261 yards including 185 yards by leading rusher Dillon Preston. The senior also found paydirt four times (three rushing TDs, one receiving TD) against the Black Bears. Preston leads the state in yards per carry at 17.2 YPC and is tied for third in rushing TDs, sharing that spot with Pike Central’s Matt Anderson with 16. Quarterback Grant Rice has not had to do a lot of throwing this season but the junior did air it out for at least one touchdown pass for the second consecutive outing. Rice now has four TD passes on the year. The defense forced four turnovers and held their opponent to single digits for the third time this season. Johnson Central is now fifth in 4A in points allowed as the Golden Eagles are giving up a shade less than ten points per game at 9.8 PPG.
After playing four of their first five games on the road, Johnson Central returns home for only the second time this season on Friday as they welcome the Cougars to town. The Golden Eagles got the better of Letcher Central in both meetings last season.
2. Pikeville (5-1)
Last Game: Defeated Hazard 43-7
Next Game: N/A
The Panthers are back in the second spot this week as they have outscored their opponents by a total of 97-13 in their last two games combined. The win against the Bulldogs had a little more meaning than usual as Chris McNamee picked up the 200th victory of his career and his 170th as Pikeville’s Head Coach. The reigning Class A State Champs were never challenged as Quarterback Isaac McNamee connected on 16 of his 19 pass attempts for 277 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also ran for one score. Sophomore Blake Birchfield ran for 87 yards and found the endzone twice while Zac Lockhart caught nine passes for 145 yards and a TD. Lockhart’s 121 receiving yards per game is still the best in 1A. The junior also shares the top place with Sayre’s Trey Dennis for most TD receptions with ten. Junior Brandon Lowe hauled in his second touchdown reception of the season as well. Defensively, Pikeville generated two takeaways and held Hazard to 195 yards of total offense. The Panthers are third in class in fumbles recovered behind Kentucky Country Day and Crittenden County with ten.
As of now, Pikeville’s remaining schedule for the regular season is empty.
3. Somerset (4-1)
Last Game: Lost to Lexington Christian 28-21
Next Game: vs. No. 9 Corbin
It was another hard-fought battle between the Eagles and the Briar Jumpers but unfortunately, the final result was not what Robbie Lucas had in mind. Somerset found themselves down 14-0 but stormed back to take a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Kaiya Sheron threw for 232 yards and a touchdown but the UK commit faced his toughest test yet against LCA as the senior was picked off three times and even injured at one point but returned. That lead for the Briar Jumpers would not last as LCA scored 14 straight including an interception by Parker Chaney off of Sheron that would set the Eagles up for the go-ahead score. Sheron also had both of Somerset’s rushing TDs. Junior Gavin Stevens corralled four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. For the first time this season, the defending 2A Champions allowed more than 13 points in a game. The Briar Jumpers are fourth in class in scoring at 39 PPG and are second in points allowed at 12.3 PPG.
The Briar Jumpers' final district clash against the Commanders of Washington County was supposed to be this Friday but that tilt has been canceled. Somerset’s next matchup will now be versus Corbin on Friday, October 30th. The Briar Jumpers narrowly escaped with a victory against the Redhounds last season, 27-26.
4. Belfry (4-2)
Last Game: Defeated Lawrence County 36-0
Next Game: vs. Pike Central
After the loss to North Hardin, the Pirates got back to winning ways against Lawrence County as Belfry has not lost to the Bulldogs since 2002. Offensively, the order of the day was the same as usual with a Philip Haywood-led team and that is to run the football at will. The Pirates rushed for 344 yards collectively while Isaac Dixon led the team in individual rushing with 141 yards and three touchdowns. The senior Running Back is fourth in the state in rushing yards per game at 185 YPG and is second in yards per carry behind Johnson Central’s Dillon Preston at 13.6 YPC. Senior Brett Coleman and sophomore Neal Copley also found paydirt on the ground for Belfry. The defense had its best game of the season as it held Lawrence County to 158 yards of total offense and pitched its first shutout of the season. The defending 3A State Champs are now eighth in class in points allowed at 15.3 PPG. Only Bell County and Rockcastle County are allowing fewer PPG among coverage area teams.
The Pirates return to Pond Creek for their home regular season finale as they tussle with Pike Central on Friday. Belfry won both matchups against the Hawks last season.
5. Southwestern (6-0)
Last Game: Defeated South Laurel 52-14
Next Game: vs. No. 7 Pulaski County
The Warriors are now just one of three teams in 5A to reach the 6-0 mark this season along with Scott County and Owensboro. In the contest with South Laurel, Jason Foley’s squad had its best offensive performance so far this season as they eclipsed the 50-point mark in a game for the first time and racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense. Tanner Wright was the primary option in the ground game once again as the junior tallied 156 rushing yards and two scores. Junior Giddeon Brainard had a good outing as well, recording 92 rushing yards and a touchdown. Wright is fourth in 5A in rushing, averaging 136 yards per game while Brainard is tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with ten. Quarterback David Crabtree had a breakout performance against the Cardinals as the senior had season-highs in passing yards with 179 and touchdowns with five. Five different receivers caught touchdown passes for the Warriors. Southwestern’s defense took the ball away three times and had nine tackles for loss.
The Warriors will put their undefeated season on the line on Friday as they host archrival Pulaski County in a Mountain Top Ten duel. Southwestern won both games in this rivalry last season including a 17-7 victory in the First Round of the Playoffs.
6. Paintsville (5-0)
Last Game: Defeated West Carter 34-12
Next Game: at Raceland
The Tigers had their hands full with the Comets after three quarters of action but Joe Chirico’s team amped up their level of play in the fourth as they outscored West Carter, 20-0 to put the game out of reach. Quarterback Jake Hyden was decent in the passing game, throwing for 82 yards and a touchdown on seven of 11 but the senior was much more effective with his feet. Hyden ran for 113 yards and two scores while sophomore Harris Phelps led the team on the ground with 130 yards and a TD. Phelps is now tied for fifth in 1A in rushing touchdowns with nine. Senior Karsten Poe caught Hyden’s only touchdown pass. The Tigers forced three West Carter turnovers including a 94-yard pick six by sophomore Frederick James. Mason Lovely led the Tigers in tackles with 11 as the senior is now tied for fourth in tackles per game with 10.2 TPG. Paintsville continues to lead 1A in points per game, points per game allowed and margin of victory.
The Tigers will now make the nearly 70-mile trip north to take on rival Raceland on Friday in a game that will determine who gets the top seed in Class 1A District 6. Paintsville went 2-0 against the Rams last season.
7. Pulaski County (5-1)
Last Game: Defeated East Jessamine 36-13
Next Game: at No. 5 Southwestern
The Maroons continue to go quietly about their business, pushing their win streak to five after the triumph over the Jaguars. QB1 Drew Polston got off to a good start in this contest, completing 6 of his first 7 passes but the junior left the ballgame with an ankle injury. Backup signal caller Brysen Dugger filled in with a good performance as the sophomore threw for 96 yards and three scores. Sophomore Donovan Abbott delivered 54 rushing yards and a TD while sophomore Barek Williams scored his first rushing touchdown of the season. Williams also produced a great game in the receiving department, snagging seven passes for 82 yards and two TDs. Senior Jacob Shepherd had six catches for 57 yards and a score. Williams is fourth in 5A in receiving yards per game at 99 YPG while Shepherd is ninth with 71 YPG. Williams leads the class in receptions with 57 while Shepherd is fifth with 34.
Pulaski County now heads to Southwestern to do battle with its bitter rival in a Mountain Top Ten matchup on Friday (see Southwestern for more info on last season’s meetings).
8. Letcher Central (4-0)
Last Game: Defeated Harlan County 24-7
Next Game: at No. 1 Johnson Central
The Cougars have been on a two-week hiatus but still remain in the Mountain Top Ten. Junior Matthews' squad is one of just six teams that has not lost a game this season in the 4A Class as they have defeated their opponents by an average margin of victory of 23.5 PPG. Letcher Central comes into this week having scored the 11th most points per game in class as they are averaging 32.8 PPG. Only Johnson Central is averaging more points per game among coverage area teams in the class. They are allowing the fourth fewest points per game in 4A and are leading “Mountain” teams in that department in class at 9.3 PPG. The Cougars are 16th in class in sacks as they have produced five sacks on the season. They trail only Knox Central and Johnson Central in that category among coverage area teams.
Letcher Central returns to action on Friday as they go up against the top-ranked Golden Eagles in a Mountain Top Ten clash.
9. Corbin (4-1)
Last Game: Defeated Lincoln County 14-8
Next Game: at Wayne County
The Redhounds prevailed at home against the Patriots to move to 2-0 in district play. This contest turned out to be a defensive struggle as Corbin trained 8-7 at halftime but a 10-yard touchdown run by Seth Mills turned out to be the difference, propelling Tom Greer’s squad to a fourth consecutive victory. The junior also had the team’s other touchdown which came on a rushing play from 31 yards out in the opening frame. Mills racked up 150 yards on the ground in total. Even though Corbin struggled against the run, the pass defense was fantastic as they held Lincoln County to 13 yards through the air and picked off Sawyer Horton twice. This is the third straight game in which Corbin has held its opponents to single digits in scoring. Austin Lewis was all over the field for the Redhounds as he recorded an astounding 26 tackles in this matchup. The senior is now second in class in tackles per game at 12.4 TPG, trailing only Wayne County’s Lee Shelton in that statistic.
The Redhounds travel to Monticello for another pivotal district tilt on Friday as they take on the Wayne County Cardinals. This will be the first of three straight road game games to finish out the regular season for Corbin.
10. Breathitt County (4-0)
Last Game: Defeated Greenup County 26-19
Next Game: at Pike Central
The Musketeers gave Breathitt County all they could handle but ultimately, Kyle Moore’s squad found a way to pull this one out. The Bobcats can thank Jaylen Turner as the junior was tremendous on both sides of the ball against Greenup County. The Quarterback threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns while snagging two interceptions including a 26-yard pick six house call on defense. Senior Lane Weddle ran for the team’s only rushing touchdown while freshman Austin Sperry caught four passes for 107 yards and a score. Weddle also had four receptions for 88 yards and a receiving touchdown. Despite the close victory, the Bobcats are still second in 2A in points per game at 42.8 PPG and third in margin of victory at 20.2 PPG.
Breathitt County was slated to play Leslie County in Hyden on Friday but that game has been postponed. The Bobcats will now play their next game at Pike Central on Friday, October 30th in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week.
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