(WYMT) - 1. Johnson Central (9-0)
Last Week: Defeated Letcher Central 48-0
This Week: at No. 5 Belfry
It was another masterful performance for Jim Matney’s ball club as the number one team executed a shutout for the second time in four games. Senior Ryley Preece threw for two touchdowns on his only two pass attempts while getting into the end zone once by foot. Johnson Central ran for 218 yards, including 97 yards by leading rusher Devin Johnson. The running back also added a TD to his stats. Tight end Zach Russell was on the receiving end of both passing scores by Preece.
Johnson Central is one of three remaining unbeaten teams in 4A and has the third-highest RPI this week behind Boyle County and Franklin County. Johnson Central’s final contest in the regular season will be at CAM Stadium against Belfry this Friday. Both schools have met annually since 2007, having split the series with six wins apiece in the last twelve games. However, Johnson Central won last year’s matchup, 34-21.
2. Pikeville (9-0)
Last Week: Defeated Jenkins 1-0 (Forfeit)
This Week: vs. Ridgeview (VA)
The Panthers picked up a win last week without being on the football field. Pikeville is averaging 31 points per game on offense which is good enough for eleventh in class. However, the defensive side of the ball is where Chris McNamee’s squad has been a cut above everyone else. They lead Class A in fewest points allowed with 10.3 per game. Pikeville also has the third-highest margin of victory, beating their opponents by 20.7 PPG.
For another week, the Panthers are second in class and in the state in RPI behind Kentucky Country Day. Pikeville will wrap-up regular season action this Friday at home against Virginia foe, Ridgeview.
3. Somerset (8-1)
Last Week: Defeated Washington County 41-6
This Week: At No. 10 Corbin
The Briar Jumpers rebounded from their loss to Lexington Christian with a resounding performance against Washington County. It was only a 13-0 lead for Somerset at halftime but Charles Lucas’ unit turned it on in the second half, outscoring the Commanders 28-6. The Briar Jumpers sit third in class in scoring, averaging about 44.7 points per game. Defensively, Somerset sits fourth in points allowed at 13.7 PPG. The third ranked team in the Mountain Top Ten sits second behind Lexington Christian in 2A and fourth overall in the state in RPI. The Briar Jumpers conclude the regular season with a date at Corbin on Friday in a Mountain Top Ten tilt.
4. Bell County (9-0)
Last Week: Defeated Estill County 55-12
This Week: vs. Harlan County
Once again, Bell County proved to be too much for their opposition as the Bobcats hung a 55-spot on the scoreboard. This is the third time this season that Dudley Hilton’s team has scored 50 or more points in a game. For the first time in over two months, Bell County gave up a double-digit amount of points. The Bobcats continue to run at will against the opposition as they rushed for 285 yards against the Engineers. Brandon Baker led the way in individual rushing with 132 yards and three scores. Even though the defense allowed 12 points, they had five takeaways including three interceptions.
For the second week in succession, The Bobcats are second in the Class of 3A in RPI behind Paducah Tilghman. Bell County will finish the regular season playing host to the Harlan County Black Bears this Friday.
5. Belfry (6-2)
Last Week: Defeated Pike Central 55-14
This Week: vs. No. 1 Johnson Central
The Pirates are hitting their stride at the right time as they have now won four in a row. At one point during their contest against the Hawks, it was a 14-14 game. Philip Haywood’s guys reeled off 41 unanswered to take the District 8 Championship in 3A. Belfry sits fourth in class in points per game on offense at just under 37 points per game while having allowed the ninth fewest points in 3A, 12.1 PPG.
The Pirates have the fourth best RPI coming into this week in 3A and have the second-best RPI among “Mountain Teams” in class. It will be an epic showdown on Friday as Belfry welcomes in Johnson Central in a Mountain Top Five matchup (see Johnson Central for the recent history of this series).
6. Breathitt County (9-0)
Last Week: Defeated Leslie County 56-6
This Week: vs. Pike Central
The Bobcats continue to keep their undefeated season alive and moved up a spot in this week’s poll in the process. Breathitt County capitalized on the Eagles’ mistakes early and often, forcing four interceptions including a 48-yard pick-six by senior Jacob Noble. Charles Collins ran for only 68 yards but had two touchdowns on the ground and one via kick return. Kyle Moore’s squad is averaging the most points per game (49.7) and is giving up the fewest points per game (7.6) in Class 2A.
Despite being the only undefeated team in class, the Bobcats sit seventh in RPI this week. Breathitt County will host Pike Central on Friday for their last game of the regular season.
7. Pulaski County (7-2)
Last Week: Lost to Southwestern 15-7 (Overtime)
This Week: vs. Tates Creek
The Maroons dropped three spots this week as they were shocked at home by their arch-rival. This game was a defensive struggle as both teams ended regulation in a 7-7 tie. Southwestern was able to score first and get the two-point conversion while keeping Pulaski County out of the end zone. Starting quarterback Drew Polston was injured in this contest and did not return. Senior Devon Tolston scored the Maroons’ only touchdown.
For the first time this season, Pulaski County failed to score double digits. John Hines’ squad checks in with the fifth-best RPI in 5A this week and has the best RPI in class among teams that have at least two losses. The Maroons complete regular season play with another home game this Friday against the Tates Creek Commodores.
8. Paintsville (7-2)
Last Week: Defeated Raceland 19-15
This Week: vs. Lexington Christian
Joe Chirico’s crew pulled out another big-time win as the Tigers defeated the Rams for the seventh time in the last nine games. Raceland mounted a comeback that fell just short as they had a chance to win the game, but the potential game-winning touchdown fell incomplete in the end zone. Paintsville ran for 174 yards on offense including 95 by John Walker Phelps. Jake Hyden had two total touchdowns, one through the air and the other by land. The Tigers defense picked off Raceland’s Jacob Heighton three times.
Paintsville comes into the final week of the regular season third in 1A in RPI and seventh overall in the state. Another difficult challenge awaits as Paintsville ends the regular season with their third straight contest on home soil, this time against the Lexington Christian Eagles on Friday.
9. Williamsburg (7-2)
Last Week: Defeated Lynn Camp 43-22
This Week: at Perry Central
The Yellow Jackets put on another fantastic offensive display to go undefeated in district play. For the first time this month, Williamsburg surrendered a double-figure amount of points in a game. It was another superb performance for Dalton Ponder as the senior threw for 290 yards and five scores while failing to complete only two of his passes. Ponder is leading 1A in passing at 295 yards per game and is the only quarterback in the class to have thrown for at least 30 touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets RPI situation looks pretty good as they are fifth this week in class and have the third-highest among “Mountain Teams.” Jerry Herron Jr.’s squad completes regular season action this Friday at Perry Central.
10. Corbin (5-3)
Last Week: Lost to Wayne County 18-16
This Week: vs. No. 3 Somerset
The Redhounds dropped their first game since September 13th and it was a heartbreaker to say the least. The defeat also snapped a 27-game win streak in district play for Justin Haddix’s team. The last team to beat Corbin in district was also Wayne County back on November 13th, 2015 in the 3A playoffs.
As for last Friday’s contest, Corbin led 16-9 with about three and half minutes remaining then the Cardinals scored a touchdown to make it 16-15. After a failed two-point try, Wayne County went for an onside kick and recovered it. Subsequently, Patrick Radilla booted the game-winning field goal through the uprights for Wayne County. Despite being out-gained in total yards, the Redhounds held the lead for most of the game. Sophomore Cameron Combs scored both of Corbin’s touchdowns. The quarterback threw for a score and ran for one as well.
Corbin is seventh in RPI this week in 4A and comes in second behind Johnson Central among “Mountain Teams.” Next up for the Redhounds, a Mountain Top Ten clash with the Somerset Briar Jumpers to end regular season play on Friday.