Archive for October, 2007

Break? What break?

Every school in the area is on fall break this week, but the sports world manages to go on with practically no interruptions.

That’s a stark contrast to the spring break season, when many teams play a reduced schedule or take the week off altogether. Fall break may mean morning practices and lunch at McDonald’s, but the season goes on even though the school year comes to a temporary halt.

One reason for this is surely because three of the five fall sports are in their postseasons this time of year. The golf season ended with last week’s state tournaments, and district volleyball and soccer tourneys are being played this week. Those schedules can’t be moved, and there’s no room for a break in the football schedule, either.

And while spring break is almost universal, not every school system takes a fall break. We haven’t fully gotten used to the idea of fall breaks yet, even though many have embraced them.

So while non-teaching coaches head for the hills or the beach or the backyard, the games go on the most important games of the season in some cases.

But one by-product of the onset of fall breaks is that athletic directors hope those games go on somewhere else. In a conversation with one of them recently, we concluded that the luckiest ADs this week are those who don’t have to host any postseason tournaments and whose football teams are on the road Friday. Can’t blame them for wanting a break, too.

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Speaking of postseason tournaments, here’s the lowdown on the where and when as it pertains to area teams and upcoming regionals:

Soccer

Boys: Danville and Marion County play for the 29th District title tonight at Marion, and both teams advance to the 15th Region Tournament, which will also include Somerset and Southwestern. The Marion-Danville winner will host the regional next week.

Girls: Danville and Boyle County play for the 29th District title tonight at Mercer, and both teams advance to the 15th Region Tournament, which will also include Somerset and Southwestern. The Southwestern-Somerset winner will host the regional next week.

Regional dates won’t be set until the host teams are known, but both tourneys will almost certainly be played between Monday and Thursday.

Volleyball

Boyle County, Casey County, Garrard County and Mercer County will play in the 12th Region Tournament at Mercer. All district tournaments are finished; the winners are Boyle (43rd), Garrard (44th), Wayne County (45th) and South Laurel (46th), and the runners-up are Casey, Mercer, Russell County and Southwestern.

The regional draw will be held Friday. First-round matches are Monday and Tuesday, the semifinals are Wednesday and the championship is Thursday.

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This week’s football picks arrive a day early to cover tonight’s Danville game (and so I can forget about yet another just-that close-to-perfect week):

Tonight

  • Danville over Russellville.

Friday

  • Casey County over Bracken County.
  • Lincoln County over Garrard County.
  • Mercer County over Boyle County.

Last week: 4-1. For the season: 28-9 (.757).

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Red-letter day for Danville

Danville can stack its football schedule up against any small school in the state, and almost any other school, for that matter. But don’t think the Admirals don’t know where their biggest game is.

It’s tonight at Admiral Stadium, when what was once an excellent middle-round playoff matchup becomes a turf war within Class AA, District 4. So even though the Admirals have some tough opponents behind them and other tough games ahead, they know that this one matters most.

“This is really the team right here,” senior Jae Paul Jones said.

Bardstown and Danville have met three times in the last seven years in the playoffs, with Danville winning 33-29 in 2000 and 20-6 in 2004 and Bardstown winning 21-0 in 2005. And although very few of today’s Admirals were on the field for that devastating 2005 loss, those who were remember it well.

“We owe them big-time,” junior Leonard Macon said.

The Admirals are braced for a level of speed and a quality of running game that they haven’t seen this season. But even if they’re able to stop that speed, they won’t beat Bardstown if they continue to turn the ball over at the rate they’ve been doing it all season.

Danville, a largely inexperienced team at the start of the season, has made much progress while stringing together five straight wins after opening with a loss to Madison Central. But when you look at the Admirals’ turnover totals, it’s hard to see how they’ve done it.

In a sea of meaningless numbers, turnovers stand out as one of the few statistics that can almost always separate the good teams from the bad. Yet Danville is averaging 3.3 giveaways per game, and its turnover margin for the season is minus-9. a number more likely to be associated with a 1-5 team than one that’s 5-1.

Bardstown has had its own problems with turnovers, and it’s likely that the team that makes the most mistakes will pay dearly tonight. There’s also a good chance that if Danville’s turnover ratio doesn’t improve, that will be what eliminates the Admirals on some Friday night in November.

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From The Sentinel-Echo, a preview of tonight’s Lincoln County-South Laurel game.

And now for the weekly picks. I thought I was in line for my first perfect week when I heard the dramatic finish of Casey County’s win over Adair County last Friday on the car radio in the parking lot of the Campbellsville McDonald’s, only to find out minutes later that Mercer fooled me again. As for this week:Boyle County over West Jessamine.

Bardstown over Danville.

Garrard County over Casey County.

Lincoln County over South Laurel.

Hopkinsville over Mercer County.

Last week: 4-1 (again). For the season: 24-8 (.750).

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The postseason begins Monday in soccer and volleyball. Look for district tournament previews and schedules in Sunday’s Advocate. Here are the No. 1 seeds in districts involving area teams:

Soccer: 29th boys, Danville; 29th girls, Danville; 30th boys, Somerset; 30th girls, Southwestern.

Volleyball: 43rd, Boyle County; 44th, Mercer County.

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