(WYMT) - Nine out of ten teams in our poll made it to the second round of the KHSAA Playoffs. Here is a review of last week’s action and a preview for this week’s games from our top ten.
1. Johnson Central (11-0)
Last Week: Defeated Letcher Central 49-7
This Week: vs. Harlan County
The Golden Eagles surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season. Ryley Preece decided to remind everyone that he is a great passer of the football as the senior threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 17 of 19 passing. Senior Seth Dalton had eight catches for 198 yards and hauled in all three of Preece’s passing scores. Jim Matney’s defense was exceptional as well, holding the Cougars to 109 yards of total offense while allowing only a single-digit amount of points for the sixth time this season.
The Golden Eagles now lead Class 4A in fewest points allowed at 9.8 PPG, while averaging the second-most points per game at 47.1 PPG. Only Boyle County is averaging more at 51.8 PPG. Johnson Central will play host to Harlan County this Friday. The Golden Eagles defeated the Black Bears, 56-6 back on October 18th.
2. Pikeville (10-0)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. Hazard
The Panthers had the rare opportunity to enjoy a first round bye last week. Isaac McNamee checks in as the fifth-best passer in 1A at about 179 yards per game while throwing for 21 touchdowns and four interceptions. Chris McNamee’s squad is surrendering the fewest points per game at 12.1 PPG in class while averaging the ninth most points per game at 34.6 PPG.
In their last four victories in which Pikeville has been on the field, the Panthers have scored at least 42 points or more. The Panthers will play their first playoff game this Friday as they welcome in the Hazard Bulldogs. Pikeville defeated Hazard at Daniel Field just three weeks ago by a final score of 42-0.
3. Bell County (11-0)
Last Week: Defeated Garrard County 44-0
This Week: vs. Rockcastle County
The Bobcats recorded their third shutout of the season and their second shutout against the Golden Lions. Bell County showed a lot of balance in this contest, throwing for 165 yards and rushing for 148. Senior London Stephney had four touchdowns through the air and one by foot. Senior wideout Jason Jones caught four passes for 79 yards and two scores. The defense was stifling as the Bobcats held Garrard County to 156 yards of total offense. Junior Jonathan Lankford recorded four tackles and an interception.
The Bobcats journey for their first state title since 2008 continues on Friday as they link up with rival Rockcastle County. Dudley Hilton’s crew won the first meeting between these two teams, 39-6 back on October 4th.
4. Somerset (10-1)
Last Week: Defeated Danville 34-14
This Week: Lexington Christian
The Briar Jumpers faced some resistance early but ended up winning comfortably to pick up their tenth win of the 2019 campaign. Danville kept the game close initially but after a 7-7 tie, Somerset outscored the Admirals, 27-7. It was a solid outing for Kaiya Sheron as the junior put up 275 yards through the air to go along with two scores. Freshman Jerrod Smith turned in an outstanding performance, rushing for 101 yards and a TD on just ten carries. The defense was opportunistic as well, forcing and recovering two fumbles.
Somerset comes into this week having scored the fourth-most points in class (42.1 PPG) and is allowing the fourth-fewest points (14.8 PPG). Charles Lucas’ squad has a tall task this Friday as they try to keep their championship aspirations alive in Lexington against Lexington Christian. The Eagles edged out the Briar Jumpers during the regular season on a two-point conversion, 35-34 back on October 12th.
5. Breathitt County (11-0)
Last Week: Defeated Knott Central 48-6
This Week: vs. Middlesboro
The other 2A team in the Mountain Top 10 dispatched the Patriots last Thursday. Even though Breathitt County had only 193 yards of total offense, Kyle Moore’s unit took advantage of a short field early and often. Charles Collins found the end zone twice on just three carries for 71 yards. Two different Bobcats threw for touchdowns as well. Breathitt County also had two interceptions including a 48-yard house call by junior Lane Weddle.
The Bobcats are just one of two teams in 2A that is giving up fewer than ten points per game (8.7 PPG) and are also the only team averaging more than 50 points per contest (50.1 PPG). Breathitt County will remain on home soil this Friday as Middlesboro comes calling. The Bobcats handled the Yellow Jackets, 57-7 back on September 27th.
6. Williamsburg (9-2)
Last Week: Defeated Harlan 48-8
This Week: vs. Lynn Camp
The Yellow Jackets made quick work of the Green Dragons as they picked up their ninth win of the season and remain undefeated in class. Williamsburg has been winning games with an aerial assault, and last Friday against Harlan was no exception. Dalton Ponder threw for 200 yards and five touchdowns while Dakota Lipsteuer and Devonte Powell each had two-touchdown receiving games. The defense had a fantastic game as well, allowing just 118 yards of total offense and had three takeaways against the Green Dragons.
Only Kentucky Country Day is averaging more points per game than Williamsburg in 1A. The Yellow Jackets will be back in action on Friday against Lynn Camp. Williamsburg put away the Wildcats with few problems just three weeks ago, 43-22.
7. Whitley County (8-3)
Last Week: Defeated North Laurel 21-20
This Week: vs. Southwestern
The Colonels fought off a feisty Jaguar squad at home to keep their postseason adventure going. North Laurel led 14-13 when quarterback Seth Mills scored a rushing touchdown to give Whitley County the lead. The Colonels would also convert the subsequent two-point conversion to lead 21-14.
The Jaguars would answer with a touchdown but Whitley County’s defense stood tall on the two-point try to secure the victory. Mills had 207 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Colonels took the ball away from North Laurel twice.
Whitley County will meet Southwestern on Friday, this time as the home team on the scoreboard. The Colonels defeated the Warriors at “The Reservation” back on October 11th, 14-0.
8. Belfry (7-3)
Last Week: Defeated Floyd Central 46-7
This Week: vs. Pike Central
Last Thursday’s outcome against the Jaguars was exactly what the doctor had ordered for the Pirates. After a lopsided defeat against Johnson Central, Belfry took control of the game against Floyd Central and never looked back. The Pirates ran for 372 yards against Floyd Central.
Belfry now sits second in 3A in rushing behind Hart County at 326 yards per game. The Pirates also remain in the top 10 in class in points scored (35.6 PPG) and points allowed (15.7 PPG). Belfry will be back at the friendly confines of CAM Stadium on Friday as they have a date with Pike Central. The Pirates got the better of the Hawks three weeks ago at Pike Central, 55-14.
9. Paintsville (8-3)
Last Week: Defeated Fairview 67-0
This Week: vs. Raceland
The Tigers came out with anger and intensity last Thursday against Fairview as Joe Chirico’s crew scored 41 points in the opening quarter. Junior Jake Hyden threw for two touchdowns and ran for one. Paintsville ran for 365 yards collectively, but it was Harris Phelps that led the way individually. The freshman ran for 124 yards and two scores. Senior John Phelps and freshman Justin Ramey also produced two-rushing touchdown performances each.
Paintsville is allowing the sixth-fewest points per game in 1A at about 14.7 PPG. Hyden sits in a five-way tie for the second-most interceptions in class with five. The Tigers will meet a familiar foe at Memorial Field on Friday as they will do battle against Raceland. Paintsville won the regular season matchup, 19-15 but the Rams have ended the Tigers season the past two years.
10. Pulaski County (7-4)
Last Week: Lost to Southwestern 17-7
This Week: Season Over
The Maroons played their final game of the season last Friday against arch rival Southwestern and the outcome looked a lot like the first game between the two teams. It was a 7-7 game in the fourth quarter, but missed opportunities by Pulaski County gave the Warriors a chance to score the go-ahead field goal. Sophomore Giddeon Brainard put the game away with a rushing touchdown that went for more than 80 yards.
Offensively, the Maroons were never the same once Drew Polston went down as John Hines’ squad scored just 21 points in the last three games combined. The one bright spot for Pulaski County was Tristan Cox. The junior scored the Maroons only touchdown on offense and had ten tackles as well as an interception on defense.
Pulaski County will lose a key piece in senior Jake Sloan as the Wide Receiver finishes his career having the second-most receptions in KHSAA history. The Maroons will also bid farewell to another important contributor in senior Konner Hargis as the Linebacker became the school’s all-time leading tackler. However, Polston and Cox will return as the Maroons look to make a deeper run in the 5A playoffs next season.