Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top Ten – Week 7 Recap / Week 8 Preview
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The top four teams remain in lockstep in the latest rankings but there were some changes in the bottom half. Let’s flashback to last week’s action while looking ahead to the matchups for this week.
1. Johnson Central (6-0)
Last Game: Defeated No. 9 Letcher Central 62-0
Next Game: vs. No. 4 Belfry
The Golden Eagles were never challenged against the Cougars as they enforced the mercy rule on their district counterparts in the second quarter. The running game continues to be Johnson Central’s forte on offense as the defending 4A State Champions ran for 331 yards as a ballclub. Senior Dillon Preston had another monster game with 118 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Preston also caught a touchdown pass and returned an interception for a score. Junior Grant Rice completed four of his five pass attempts for 105 yards and two TDs including a 54-yard home run to senior Cameron Wright. Junior Andrew Burchett returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Golden Eagles recorded seven sacks in the outing against the Cougars. Preston has had a tremendous year running the football but the former WYMT Player of the Week is also sixth in the state in sacks, averaging 6.5 SPG.
The Golden Eagles conclude their regular season with a date against Belfry on Friday in a Mountain Top Ten clash. Johnson Central has won the last two meetings in this series including last season’s 53-16 victory at CAM Stadium.
2. Pikeville (5-1)
Last Game: Defeated Hazard 43-7
Next Game: at Lexington Christian
Dating back to the beginning of 2018, Pikeville is 30-4 and have won 19 of their last 20 contests. Junior Quarterback Isaac McNamee sits fourth in the class in passing yards per game with 192. The field general has tossed the third most amount of touchdown passes in 1A with 15, sharing that spot with Crittenden County’s Luke Crider. Blake Birchfield is tenth in total rushing yards this season as the sophomore has tallied 563 rushing yards to go along with seven rushing scores. Zac Lockhart continues to lead the class in receiving yards per game with 121 while also maintaining the top spot in receiving touchdowns with ten. Lockhart is also first in total receiving yards with 724 and is second in receptions with 41. The Panthers are eighth in 1A in points per game at 35.2 PPG and are fifth in points allowed per game with 14.8 PPG.
The Panthers wondered if they were going to see the field again before the playoffs. They got the answer to that question on Wednesday night as Chris McNamee’s team found a game against Lexington Christian. The Panthers will travel to Lexington to take on the Eagles on Friday. LCA leads the all-time series, 2-1 but Pikeville won the last time these two teams faced off. That was a 50-7 victory for the Panthers in the Pike County Bowl back in 2018.
3. Somerset (5-1)
Last Game: Lost to Lexington Christian 28-21
Next Game: vs. No. 6 Corbin
Like Pikeville, the Briar Jumpers were not in action last week. Somerset has won 19 of their last 21 going back to the start of 2019 with the two losses coming against LCA. Senior Kaiya Sheron comes into this week having thrown the second most yards per game in 2A with 233, trailing only LCA’s Drew Nieves with 240. The UK commit has also chucked 11 touchdown passes this season, putting him in a tie for fifth in class with Owensboro Catholic’s Lincoln Clancy. Junior Chase Doan sits 12th in rushing yards per game with 102 while the Running Back has ran for the ninth most TDs in 2A with seven. Senior Kade Grundy has 491 total yards in the receiving department which slots him in third behind the LCA duo of Xavier Brown and Mason Moore. The Wide Receiver is also third in receiving yards per game with 98 YPG. Senior Mikey Garland is third in class in total sacks this season with 4.5.
The Briar Jumpers round out their regular season schedule with a Mountain Top Ten tilt at home against Corbin on Friday. Somerset edged the Redhounds in last season’s matchup, 27-26.
4. Belfry (5-2)
Last Game: Defeated Pike Central 49-7
Next Game: at No. 1 Johnson Central
With each week that passes, Philip Haywood has his team rounding into playoff form as the regular season winds down. The Pirates have now won four of their last five and have allowed fewer than ten points in back-to-back contests. Belfry had a field day on the ground against the Hawks as they ran for 365 yards collectively. Isaac Dixon rushed for 112 yards and three scores. The senior continues to lead 3A in yards per game at 176 YPG. Dixon is third in total rushing yards in class at 1,056 yards and is just one of three players to eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground this season. Four other Pirates scored rushing touchdowns against Pike Central. The Pirates are seventh in 3A in scoring at 37 PPG while allowing the sixth fewest points per game at 14.1 PPG. Belfry now sits third in the state in rushing yards per game behind Pike Central and Johnson Central at 353 YPG.
The defending 3A State Champs will go head-to-head with the Johnson Central Golden Eagles in their regular season finale on Friday in a Mountain Top Ten duel (see Johnson Central for more on last year’s matchup).
5. Pulaski County (6-1)
Last Game: Defeated No. 7 Southwestern 15-12
Next Game: at Tates Creek
The Maroons have been red hot coming down stretch as they pulled off their most impressive victory of the season against their archrival. Pulaski County now leads the all-time series against Southwestern, 17-16. John Hines' squad has been finding different ways to win throughout the last six weeks and they did so yet again against the Warriors. Tristan Cox ran for only 50 yards but the senior had the biggest play of the game as he found the endzone with six seconds left to propel Pulaski County to victory. Cox also had an interception on the defensive side of the ball. Brysen Dugger threw for 115 yards and a touchdown as the sophomore made the first start of his career in place of the injured Drew Polston. Fellow sophomore Barek Williams caught seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Pulaski County’s defense has played much better of late as they allowed a season low in points against Southwestern and have surrendered an average of 14.3 PPG in their last three contests.
The Maroons continue their road trip on Friday as they travel to Lexington to do battle against a Tates Creek squad that is 0-4 this season. Pulaski County will be looking to get payback on the Commodores as the 6A squad won last season’s meeting, 38-7.
6. Corbin (5-1)
Last Game: Defeated Wayne County 43-6
Next Game: at No. 3 Somerset
After narrowly escaping with a victory against the Patriots, the Redhounds had their way early and often against the Cardinals as they clinched the top seed in their district. Cameron Combs was solid in this game as the sophomore threw for 185 yards and two scores. Junior Seth Mills led the team in rushing with 52 yards and a touchdown. Seniors Blake Powers and Peyton Addison also found paydirt on the ground for Corbin. Highly touted prospect Trayveon Longmire had three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Brody Wells snagged four passes for 63 yards and a score. Defensively, the Redhounds were outstanding as they forced three turnovers and held Wayne County to their lowest scoring total in a game this season. Mills is tied for the second most interceptions in 4A with three.
Corbin’s five game win streak will be put at stake on Friday as they head to Somerset to take on the Briar Jumpers in a Mountain Top Ten showdown (see Somerset for last year’s results).
7. Southwestern (6-1)
Last Game: Lost to No. 5 Pulaski County 15-12
Next Game: at Madison Central
The Warriors dropped their first game of the season and lost to the Maroons for the first time in three meetings. As is usually the case in rivalry games, it was a hard fought and tightly contested battle against Pulaski County as Southwestern took a 12-7 lead with about five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. However, Jason Foley’s team was not able to keep the Maroons out of the endzone late. Junior Tanner Wright led the team in rushing with 88 yards while junior Giddeon Brainard produced the team’s only rushing score. Senior David Crabtree threw for 88 yards and delivered a touchdown pass to sophomore Kaden Hewitt. For only the second time this season, the Warriors were held to less than 20 points in a game. Wright comes into this week as the eighth leading rusher in 5A in yards per game, sharing that spot with Woodford County’s Preston Stacy at 130 YPG. The Warriors are fifth in class in rushing yards per game at 252 YPG and are second in total rushing yards behind Scott County at 1,766.
Southwestern has one more game on their regular season schedule as they go toe-to-toe with Madison Central in Richmond on Friday.
8. Paintsville (5-1)
Last Game: Lost to Raceland 23-20
Next Game: at No. 9 Letcher Central
The Tigers found themselves embroiled in a battle of their own against their district nemesis as the Rams pulled off the upset. Paintsville held leads of 13-0 and 20-13 but were unable to keep Raceland at bay. Raceland got the ball back late and drove into field goal range as Rams' place kicker Peyton Ison converted on a 34-yard field goal as time expired to hand the Tigers its first loss of the season. Harris Phelps was Paintsville’s leading rusher in this contest as the sophomore scampered for 117 yards and a touchdown. Senior Luke Hyden recorded 33 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Junior Zach Taylor hauled in six passes for 92 receiving yards. Defensively, Paintsville was opportunistic as they picked off Raceland Quarterback Jake Heighton three times. This is only the second time this season that the Tigers have allowed more than 20 points in a contest as they are second in fewest points per game allowed in 1A at 10.8 PPG. Only Newport Central Catholic has only given up a less amount.
The Tigers will head to Whitesburg to take on Letcher Central in a Mountain Top Ten tussle on Friday.
9. Letcher Central (4-1)
Last Game: Lost to No. 1 Johnson Central 62-0
Next Game: vs. No. 8 Paintsville
After dominating the opposition through their first four games, the Cougars were brought back down to Earth in Paintsville. It was tough sledding from the moment the ball was kicked off for Letcher Central as they were held to 51 yards of total offense and were shutout for the first time since last year’s first meeting against the Golden Eagles. Despite giving up 62 points, the Cougars are still in the top 15 in points per game allowed in 4A at 19.8 PPG. The Cougars sit eighth in passing yards allowed per game at 62 YPG.
The Cougars look to get back to winning ways on Friday as they play host to the other Johnson County school in Paintsville in a Mountain Top Ten contest.
10. Knox Central (3-2)
Last Game: Defeated Lincoln County 42-22
Next Game: at South Laurel
There’s a new team in this week’s poll as the Panthers make their return to the top ten for the first time since the second week of the season. Since their last visit in the poll, Knox Central has endured a close loss to Southwestern followed by a blowout defeat at the hands of Corbin. However, the Panthers were fantastic in their most recent outing against Lincoln County. The Panthers imposed their will against the Patriots in the ground game as junior Ethan Huff racked up 179 yards to go along with three touchdowns. Senior Ethan Mills tallied 155 yards on the ground as well as a score. Quarterback Brady Worley had a good performance as the senior threw for 125 yards and tossed two touchdowns. Junior Abram Brock led the team in receiving with 106 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions. The Panthers had two takeaways and two sacks against the Patriots. Mills and Huff are both averaging more than 100 yards per game on the ground with the former averaging 112 YPG, good enough for eighth in 4A. Huff sits 12th at 108 YPG. Brock is ninth in class in receiving yards per game at 76 YPG and is sixth in total receiving yards at 379.
The Panthers head to London to take on South Laurel in their final road game of the regular season on Friday. Fred Hoskins' squad took down the Cardinals last season, 41-22.
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