Contrary to what you might think, it isn’t that hard to sit at my desk in the middle of August and say this team will go 7-3 or that team will go 2-8. The hard part is being right.
So once again I’ll try to do what’s hard, holding my breath and offering my best guess as to how the six Advocate-area football teams will fare this season:
Boyle County (13-1 in 2008): For the second straight year, this looks like a championship-caliber team. That’s not to say the Rebels will win Class 4A, only to say they should once again be one of the very best teams in the class.
Boyle faces at least half a dozen potentially challenging games during the course of the season, and it’s hard to imagine the Rebels winning them all. They might, and it was tempting to pick them to go 10-0, but I’m thinking there’ll be one stumblingblock along the way.
The pick: 9-1. The wins: Johnson Central, Rockcastle County, Pikeville, Mercer County, Danville, Lafayette, West Jessamine, East Jessamine, Christian County.
Casey County (2-8 in 2008): The Rebels may be getting better, but it’s a slow process. For now their roster is still a contradiction in terms: They have experience, but they’re very young, they have more players but little depth.
What that means is that they’ll probably win some games you might not expect, and they’ll probably lose some games you think they’ll win, making them the toughest team on this page to predict.
The pick: 4-6. The wins: Caverna, Bourbon County, Clinton County, Jackson County.
Danville (8-4 in 2008): The Admirals are throwing untested players at a tough schedule, which is always cause for concern. But there’s quite a bit of talented among those untested players, and this figures to be one of those Danville teams that gets better as the season goes on.
The Admirals should more fun to watch during the regular season and more dangerous in the 2A playoffs, but they’ll take some hits along the way.
The pick: 7-3. The wins: Mason County, Franklin County, Somerset, Southwestern, Bardstown, Fort Knox, Washington County.
Garrard County (4-7 in 2008): The Golden Lions are the one area team whose stock has risen most since last season. A full year under coach Mark Scenters and the experience gained by young players last season will do them good.
Garrard is another one of those teams that could be all over the map: One preseason poll I’ve read had them at No. 10 in 3A; another had them at No. 20, which puts them in the second half of the class. I’d put them somewhere in between, but a better team and a better schedule will definitely give them a better season than last year.
The pick: 7-3. The wins: Rowan County, West Jessamine, Estill County, Jackson County, Taylor County, Casey County, Lincoln County.
Lincoln County (1-9 in 2008): After a difficult season in coach Mike Settles’ first year in Stanford, the Patriots are ready to start down the road back to success. But the experience and depth aren’t where they’d like them to be yet, and changing offensive coordinators twice this year hasn’t helped, either.
The Patriots should be better and might win up to two or three district games, but they also might still endure some more growing pains this fall.
The pick: 3-7: The wins: Madison Southern, Washington County, South Laurel.
Mercer County (6-6 in 2008): With the loss of 30 or so seniors and the drama of a midsummer coaching change, there are those who think the Titans are going in the tank, but I am not among them. Instead, I think they’ll be one of those rare teams that will be better than their record — if they can improve through August and Septemeber while enduring a brutal non-district schedule.
Mercer has the talent and the numbers to field a competitive team, but it will still be playing catch-up in the first half of the season against an unforgiving schedule. The Titans should find district play much more to their liking and should stay in that race until facing 5A-6 favorite Pulaski County in their final game.
The pick: 4-6. The wins: Tates Creek, South Laurel, Southwestern, Lincoln County.