There were quite a few changes on the back end of the Mountain Top 10. Let’s recap our Top 10 with last week’s action and preview those matchups for this week (Note: The Mountain Top 10 will not change for the remainder of the football season).
1. Johnson Central (10-0)
Last Week: Defeated Belfry 53-16
This Week: vs. Letcher Central
The Golden Eagles made a major statement with a thrashing of Belfry on Pond Creek last Friday. Johnson Central produced a season-high 451 yards on the ground including 100-yard games by Cody Rice and Devin Johnson. Rice and Johnson also had one rushing score apiece. Ryley Preece threw for one touchdown and put up two touchdowns on the ground. The defense was opportunistic as well, forcing four turnovers.
Only Boyle County will enter the playoffs with a better Ratings Percentage Index than Jim Matney’s squad. The first team that stands in Johnson Central’s way to their path back to Kroger Field is Letcher Central on Friday. These two teams met just two weeks ago as the Golden Eagles shut the Cougars out, 48-0.
Last Week: Defeated Ridgeview (VA) 67-28
This Week: Bye
Pikeville finished the regular season with a bang, as the Panthers scored more than 60 points for the first time this season. Isaac McNamee had a fantastic outing as the sophomore threw for 293 yards and four scores. The head coach’s son finished the regular season with 21 touchdowns while only getting picked off four times. Senior Clay Tinsley caught three passes for 144 yards and two TDs. The Panthers produced 520 yards of total offense against the Wolfpack.
Pikeville enters postseason play with the second-highest RPI in 1A behind Kentucky Country Day. Chris McNamee’s squad will enjoy a bye for the first round and will meet the winner between Hazard and Phelps next week at Hillard Howard Field.
Last Week: Defeated Harlan County 32-14
This Week: vs. Garrard County
The Bobcats capped off an undefeated regular season for the first time since 2010 with a solid performance over Harlan County last Friday. Dudley Hilton’s crew will enter the playoffs as the only unbeaten team in 3A. Quarterback London Stephney did find the end zone once with his arm. However, Stephney recorded big numbers on the ground as the senior rushed for 118 yards and scored twice. Senior Jason Jones had 81 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The victory for Bell County last week along with Paducah Tilghman’s loss to Hopkinsville allowed the Bobcats to enter the playoffs with the best RPI in 3A. This means that the road to Lexington will go through Log Mountain. The Bobcats will begin their postseason journey this Friday as they play host to Garrard County. Bell County routed the Golden Lions when they last met about a month ago, 39-0.
4. Somerset (9-1)
Last Week: Defeated Corbin 27-26
This Week: vs. Danville
The Briar Jumpers closed out their regular season with a thrilling game that saw them just squeak by the Redhounds. Somerset showed a lot of balance in this contest as Charles Lucas’ team threw for 310 yards and ran for 216 yards. Kaiya Sheron did have a touchdown through the air while also rushing for 60 yards. Jase Bruner rushed for 91 yards and a score while Kade Grundy racked up 212 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Somerset finished the regular season with the third-best RPI in 2A behind Lexington Christian and Mayfield. The Briar Jumpers are looking to make their first State Championship Game appearance since 2009. As for this season, Somerset’s quest for a State Title begins on Friday against rival Danville. Somerset got the upper hand during the regular season with the Admirals, winning by a final score of 40-21.
5. Breathitt County (10-0)
Last Week: Defeated Pike Central 56-22
This Week: vs. Knott Central
The Bobcats are the last remaining undefeated team in Class 2A after a commanding victory over Pike Central. This was the third consecutive game in which Breathitt County has scored exactly 56 points. It was a night that Charles Collins will never forget as the running back amassed 281 yards and a single-game school-record seven touchdowns. The previous record was held by James Collins (Andrew’s brother) and Channing Fugate with six. The defense allowed a season-high 22 points but still had two takeaways against the Hawks.
Kyle Moore’s squad gave Breathitt County their first unbeaten regular season since 2012. The Bobcats will go into the playoffs with the fifth-highest RPI in 2A. Breathitt County will begin their postseason adventure on Thursday as the Bobcats will play host to Knott Central. The Bobcats made quick work of the Patriots three weeks ago in Hindman, 56-8.
6. Williamsburg (9-1)
Last Week: Defeated Perry Central 62-28
This Week: vs. Harlan
Williamsburg raced out to an early lead and never looked back as the Yellow Jackets scored 40 points or more for the fourth straight game. Dalton Ponder picked up where he left off and threw for 426 yards. The senior QB also accounted for seven touchdowns, two by land and five through the air. Caleb Rose caught 11 passes for 188 yards and three scores, while Gavon Thomas had nine receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown. The defense turned the Commodores over five times as well.
Williamsburg checks into postseason play with the fifth-best RPI in 1A and third-best among “Mountain Teams” in the class. Jerry Herron Jr.’s team begins their climb up the 1A Playoff ladder with a tilt versus Harlan on Friday. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Green Dragons four weeks ago, 47-6.
7. Whitley County (7-3)
Last Week: Defeated Hazard 19-10
This Week: North Laurel
There is one new addition to the final Football Mountain Top 10 this season and it is the Whitley County Colonels. Jep Irwin’s crew has quietly put together a five-game winning streak to end the regular season. Quarterback Seth Mills played an efficient game as the sophomore completed 10 passes on 11 attempts for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Colonels surrendered only 19 yards rushing and held Mark Dixon’s squad to their third-lowest point total in a game this season.
Coming into the playoffs, the Colonels have the twelfth best RPI in 5A and second behind Pulaski County among “Mountain Teams” in class. Whitley County will get their playoff experience started on Friday against North Laurel in the Appalachian Wireless Game of the Week Sponsored by ARH. These two teams met a few weeks ago in a tight affair. The Colonels came out on top, 28-22.
8. Belfry (6-3)
Last Week: Lost to Johnson Central 53-16
This Week: vs. Floyd Central
It is not something that happens often but last Friday, Belfry was dominated and manhandled by the opposition. The Pirates did run for 199 yards on offense including 83 yards and a touchdown by Ben Bentley but the defense allowed season-highs in rushing yards and points in a game. In fact, this was the points that Philip Haywood’s squad has allowed in a defeat since November 17, 2017 when they allowed 60 against Louisville Central.
Despite the loss, Belfry is allowing the eighth fewest amount of points per game in 3A at 16.7 PPG. The Pirates are also scoring the eleventh most points in class at 34.4 PPG. Belfry will carry the seventh-highest RPI in 3A into the postseason and the second-highest behind Bell County as far as “Mountain Teams” go in class. Belfry will be back on their home turf Thursday against Floyd Central. The Pirates won the first contest between these two ball clubs, 41-6.
9. Paintsville (7-3)
Last Week: Lost to Lexington Christian 35-7
This Week: vs. Fairview
The Tigers ended the season with back-to-back difficult games and were able to go 1-1. Paintsville found themselves fighting an uphill battle against the Eagles almost immediately and it did not get any better.
Lexington Christian scored the first 21 points before Paintsville got on the board for what turned out to be their only touchdown. Still, the Tigers have a lot of things going for them, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Joe Chirico’s team has only given up 16.7 PPG which is good enough for seventh overall. The Tigers are also allowing just 76 passing yards per game and 72 rushing yards per game, which puts them eighth and third in those respective statistics in 1A.
Paintsville comes into the playoffs with the fourth-highest RPI in class and second-highest behind Pikeville among “Mountain Teams.” Paintsville will begin their postseason gauntlet on Thursday as they play host to Fairview at Memorial Field. Paintsville came away from their last contest against the Eagles victorious, 56-0.
10. Pulaski County (7-3)
Last Week: Lost to Tates Creek 38-7
This Week: vs. Southwestern
For the first time this season, Pulaski County was unable to keep the game competitive as they have now lost back-to-back contests. The Maroons were held to single digits for the second time in a row on offense while conceding more than 500 yards through the air on defense against Tates Creek. John Hines’ crew also allowed a season-high in points.
Junior Kaleb Adams started in place of the injured Drew Polston and threw for the team’s only touchdown. Pulaski County’s offense has not been the same since sophomore quarterback Dew Polston went down, as the Maroons are averaging just 178 yards of total offense in the last two games. Despite this, senior Jake Sloan is still leading 5A in receiving yards per game, right at 100 YPG.
Pulaski County will take the seventh-highest RPI in 5A into the playoffs. They begin postseason action with a date against arch-rival, Southwestern. The Warriors came away with the upset over the Maroons just two weeks ago in a 15-7 overtime tussle.