Breaking down the Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10 after Week 2, heading into Week 3

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 9:47 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - We are now through two weeks of the High School Football season in the Bluegrass. Let’s take a look at last week’s action as we also look to ahead this week’s contests.

1. Johnson Central (1-0)

Last Game: defeated Henry Clay 60-21

Next Game: vs. Cahokia (IL)

The Golden Eagles started their season off with a resounding victory over 6A foe Henry Clay. However, Jim Matney’s squad was scheduled to face Lexington Catholic last week but had to sit out due to COVID-19 concerns. Johnson Central racked up nearly 400 rushing yards on offense against the Blue Devils. The tandem of freshman Zach McCoart and junior Mason Lawson both ran for more than 100 yards in the blowout victory. McCoart also tallied two rushing scores. Senior Jacob Cain was on the receiving end of both of senior Grant Rice’s TD passes. The Golden Eagles had three takeaways against Henry Clay. Johnson Central is now looking for a new opponent this week after they canceled their original contest against Bishop Sycamore. As of now, the Golden Eagles will not be playing again until September 10th against Cahokia High School out of Illinois.

2. Corbin (2-0)

Last Game: defeated Whitley County 45-0

Next Game: vs. Franklin County

The Redhounds move up to the second spot in this week’s poll as they have outscored their opponents, 80-21 through the first two games. Running Back Seth Mills had a solid performance against Christ School out of North Carolina with 64 yards on the ground to go along with a score.

However, the senior kicked things up a notch in his last outing against the Colonels with 180 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries. Mills’ performance against Whitley County earned him WYMT Player of the Week honors. Junior Quarterback Cameron Combs tossed two touchdown passes in the first game but freshman Kade Elam was taking the snaps for the Redhounds against Whitley County, rifling the ball for 283 yards and two scores. The Redhounds were phenomenal defensively as they recorded three interceptions and pitched a shutout for the second time in their last four contests dating back to last season against the Colonels.

The Redhounds are back home this Friday as they welcome last season’s 4A State Runners-Up Franklin County to town.

3. Pikeville (1-0)

Last Game: defeated Paintsville 43-21

Next Game: at No. 6 Letcher Central

After blistering the Tigers in the opening week of the season, the Panthers were unable to find an opponent for their annual Pike County Bowl matchup last week after Bourbon County bowed out due to COVID-19 protocols. Pikeville got the job done against Paintsville with their legs as they amassed 349 yards and six touchdowns total on the ground. Junior Blake Birchfield had a field day with 214 yards and three TDs while senior Brayden Thomas generated 71 yards and found paydirt twice. Thomas also made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball with a couple of sacks. Despite his struggles throwing the football, Quarterback Isaac McNamee did get into the end zone with a rushing touchdown.

Coming into this week, the Panthers were going to have two more weeks off but Chris McNamee’s crew is now heading to Whitesburg this Friday as they have found a game against the Letcher Central Cougars. Pikeville got the better of Letcher Central the last time these two squads went head-to-head five years ago with a 30-6 victory in the Pike County Bowl.

4. Southwestern (2-0)

Last Game: defeated West Jessamine 55-25

Next Game: vs. Simon Kenton

For the second straight week, Jason Foley’s squad put up double nickels on their opponents. The Warriors imposed their will on Madison Southern, generating 423 yards of ground and pound offense as well as five scores. Junior Tanner Wright had a fantastic game against the Eagles as he ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Giddeon Brainard had a pretty good outing in his own right, producing 82 yards on the ground to go along with two scores. Brainard also had seven tackles including four of those for lost yardage.

The bullying at the line of scrimmage was on display once again against West Jessamine as Southwestern tallied 414 rushing yards and six scores. It was Brainard’s turn to lead the way against the Colts as he rumbled his way to 117 yards and a score in the 30-point win. Senior Dylan Bland eclipsed the century mark with 101 yards and two TDs. Wright ran for 75 yards and a score but also showed his versatility in the passing game, catching three passes for 53 yards and a score. Defensively, the Warriors held West Jessamine to less than 200 yards of total offense.

Southwestern will kick off of their September portion of the schedule with a date against the Simon Kenton Pioneers on Saturday.

5. Pulaski County (1-1)

Last Game: lost to Lexington Catholic 38-36

Next Game: at Boyle County

The Maroons began their season with a thrashing of Belfry but dropped a heartbreaker to the Knights last week in Lexington, losing on a field goal as time expired. Quarterback Drew Polston could not be stopped in the season opener as the senior passed to the tune of 327 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Donovan Abbott had a good performance with 84 yards rushing to go along with a score. Senior Antonio Palmer and junior Barek Williams both broke the 100-yard receiving mark. The receiving tandem also amassed two TD receptions each. Defensively, John Hines’ squad was menacing as they recorded three takeaways against the Pirates.

Polston was slinging the football once again against Lexington Catholic, tallying 346 yards through the air along with two scores. Junior Brysen Dugger paced the Maroons in receiving this time with 161 yards and a touchdown. Abbott was the team’s leading rusher once again with 64 yards and a score against the Knights. Pulaski County forced two turnovers against Lexington Catholic.

Plan A this week for the Maroons was to go toe-to-toe with Lincoln County. However, that game has been canceled as the Patriots will not be playing this week due to COVID concerns. Pulaski County will now face the defending Class 4A State Champions, Boyle County on Friday.

6. Letcher Central (2-0)

Last Week: defeated David Crockett (TN) 26-24

This Week: vs. No. 3 Pikeville

For the second season in a row, the Cougars have started off their campaign with a 2-0 record. After routing the Wildcats in the first game, Junior Matthews’ team had a much closer encounter against the Pioneers. Quarterback Carson Adams threw for only 94 yards against Shelby Valley but the junior provided a problem for Anthony Hampton’s squad with his feet. Adams tallied 59 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Cougars ran for 283 yards as a unit including 87 yards from leading rusher Jonah Little. The junior also found the end zone twice in the season opener. The defense was stout against the Wildcats, taking the ball away four times.

The Cougars generated a little more than 400 yards of total offense in the victory against David Crockett. Adams racked up 109 yards with his arm but proved to be even more of an issue on the ground once again, carving up the Pioneers for 153 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars were great rushing the ball as a whole, going for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Letcher Central held David Crockett to less than 50 yards rushing.

The Cougars will host Pikeville in this week’s Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week (see Pikeville for last meeting between two schools) after their original game with Pike Central was canceled due to COVID concerns for the Hawks.

7. North Laurel (2-0)

Last Game: defeated Breathitt County 34-12

Next Game: at Shelby Valley

After a thrilling overtime victory against the Bobcats from Log Mountain in the first game, Chris Larkey’s crew handled the Bobcats from Jackson with a little more ease last week as the Jaguars are 2-0 for the first time since 2017. Quarterback Tucker Warren was brilliant in the win against Bell County, throwing for 237 yards and two touchdowns while having only four incomplete passes. The sophomore scored two rushing touchdowns as well. Senior Gavin Hurst was the team’s leading receiver against Bell County with 120 yards but sophomore Christian Larkey and senior Caden Harris caught both of Warren’s touchdown passes. The defense was opportunistic with two takeaways.

Warren was not quite as productive throwing the football against Breathitt County, recording 102 yards and a touchdown. However, he was the team’s leading rusher with 76 yards and two scores. Larkey and senior Jacob Bowman also found the rushing touchdown column for the Jaguars. North Laurel’s defense created scoring chances once again, this time taking the ball away three times against Breathitt County.

8. Middlesboro (2-0)

Last Game: defeated No. 9 Williamsburg 60-28

Next Game: at Garrard County

The Yellow Jackets are making their Mountain Top Ten debut this week as they prevailed against Hazard in the opening week of the season but got revenge on Williamsburg last week. The orange and blue jackets defeated their black and gold counterparts by 27 two years ago but Middlesboro battered Williamsburg this time around, hanging a 60-spot on the scoreboard for the first time since 2011. Quarterback Caden Grigsby tallied 180 yards and a touchdown through the air against Hazard. The sophomore also generated 103 yards and two touchdowns with his legs against the Bulldogs. Senior Jay West was Middlesboro’s leading receiver against Hazard, catching five passes for 71 yards and a score. The Yellow Jackets had two takeaways in the 22-20 victory against Hazard.

It was the Caleb Bogonko show against Williamsburg as the senior Running Back produced 352 yards and five touchdowns. Grigsby surpassed the 100-rushing yard plateau once again with 117 yards while tallying three total touchdowns. Middlesboro had two interceptions against Williamsburg including a pick six by senior Tyler Kelly.

The Yellow Jackets are heading to Lancaster this week as they square off with Garrard County in their road opener on Friday.

9. Williamsburg (1-1)

Last Week: lost to No. 8 Middlesboro 60-28

This Week: vs. Leslie County

The Yellow Jackets had their way early and often against Oneida out of Tennessee but had no answers for Middlesboro’s ground game. Quarterback Sydney Bowen had a tremendous passing game with 338 yards and five touchdowns in the 50-21 victory against the Indians. The junior was efficient with his legs as well, rushing for 42 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Junior Martin Shannon paced the Yellow Jackets in receiving with 175 yards and three scores while senior Jayden Rainwater was Williamsburg’s other 100-yard receiver with 136 yards and two TDs. The Yellow Jackets had five takeaways against the Indians.

Bowen threw one touchdown pass and ran for another in the loss to Middlesboro. Seniors Bronson Bates and Marty Gilley along with Shannon also found the end zone for the Yellow Jackets. The 60 points allowed were the most that Williamsburg has allowed in a game since giving up 55 to Lexington Christian two seasons ago.

Williamsburg will return home for their next contest as they play host to Leslie County on Friday.

10. Belfry (0-2)

Last Game: lost to Covington Catholic 42-13

Next Game: at Central

For the first time since 1998, Philip Haywood and the Pirates have started their season with back-to-back losses. The 55 points that Belfry gave up to Pulaski County was the most the Pirates have surrendered to an Eastern/Central Kentucky school since Boyd County in 1973. Senior Isaac Dixon led the team in rushing against the Maroons with 120 yards and two scores.

Things did not go any better in the Pike County Bowl against Covington Catholic. The Pirates kept the game close early in the second half but the Colonels ultimately pulled away to win by 29 points. Dixon did throw for one score and ran for another against Covington Catholic but was held to only 58 yards rushing in the loss.

The Pirates were going to play host to Lexington Christian on Friday but that game has been canceled due to COVID concerns. Belfry will now look to get back on track the following Friday on September 10th as they travel to Louisville to face the Central Yellow Jackets.

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