Archive for September, 2009

Lincoln’s practice problem

At a time when Lincoln County’s football team would probably like to have all the practice it can get, the Patriots are instead getting less than usual this week.

Lincoln’s schools are closed through Friday due to illness, and many of their extracurricular activities have been curtailed as well. That includes most of the football team’s practices leading up to Friday’s game against District 5A-7 favorite Pulaski County.

A Lincoln assistant coach said today that the Patriots didn’t practice Tuesday and won’t practice today, either. They hope to be able to practice Thursday and hold a walk-through Friday morning before the Friday night home game. The game is still on for the time being, although the assistant coach said there have been discussions about moving it back to Saturday.

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The road to 300

While the Danville football team is forcing Sam Harp to take the long way to 300 wins, St. Xavier’s Mike Glaser became the fifth coach to win 300 games in Kentucky when the Tigers beat Male on Friday.

Glaser was already ahead of Harp on the all-time wins list when the season began, and there is no other coach in position to overtake the Danville coach this season.

Whether Harp makes it to 300 before 2010 is anybody’s guess at this point. However, the Admirals’ loss to Boyle County on Friday ensures that if it happens this season, it’ll have to be in the Class 2A playoffs. If the Ads win three of their final four regular-season games — still a reasonable possibility — they would have to win two playoff games to give Harp his 300th.

Here’s the updated list of the state’s winningest coaches, through week 6:

  1. x-Bob Schneider, Newport Central Catholic, 339
  2. x-Dudley Hilton, Bell County, 324
  3. x-Philip Haywood, Belfry, 322
  4. x-Bob Redman, Male, 311
  5. x-Mike Glaser, St. Xavier, 300
  6. x-Sam Harp, Danville, 295
  7. Joe Jaggers, North Hardin, 292
  8. y-Mojo Hollowell, Owensboro Catholic, 285
  9. xz-Ivan McGlone, Russell, 287
  10. Walter Brugh, Paintsville, 280

(x-active; y-does not include 20 wins in Indiana;z-does not include 28 wins in West Virginia)

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Golf regionals coming right up

The first postseason competitions of the still-young school year are this week’s regional golf tournaments, which bring to an end the shortest regular season in Kentucky high school sports.

The season began only eight weeks ago, and it will end for all but a handful of local players Monday or Tuesday when their regionals conclude.

All seven Advocate-area boys teams compete in the 4th Region, while the five local girls teams were split last year into two regions, the 7th and the 9th.

Here’s the rundown of who’s playing when and where:

Boys

  • Boyle County, Burgin, Casey County, Danville, Garrard County, Lincoln County, Mercer County: Tuesday, 4th Region Tournament at Bardstown Country Club (Maywood course), Bardstown.

Girls

  • Casey County, Garrard County, Lincoln County: Monday, 9th Region Tournament at General Burnside Island State Park, Burnside.
  • Boyle County, Mercer County: Tuesday, 7th Region Tournament at Wild Turkey Trace Golf Club, Lawrenceburg.
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Constitution Cup soccer

(UPDATED 11:25 a.m. Saturday: The Constitution Cup soccer doubleheader at Boyle County has been moved back to its original starting times — girls game at 6 p.m., boys game at 8 p.m. — as school officials hope to avoid the heavy rain expected throughout the morning and afternoon.)

If the weather doesn’t completely go south, the soccer teams from Boyle County and Danville will battle for the Constitution Cups in their annual girls-boys doubleheader Saturday at Boyle.

These are the only regular-season games between the crosstown rivals (though they frequently meet in the postseason), and in recent years the games have usually been held on the day following the football game between the two schools.

The game times have been changed since the teams’ schedules were released, with the games being moved up 2 hours to allow Boyle officials to better manage both them and a marching band contest that will be held in nearby Rebel Stadium. Play begins with the girls game at 4 p.m., followed by the boys game at about 6 p.m.

Boyle swept last year’s twinbill, winning the girls game 4-1 and the boys game 3-0. Both Boyle teams also won rematches in the finals of their respective district tournaments.

This year, the Boyle girls are 9-3-1 and are the only ranked team among the four at No. 16 in the statewide coaches poll, while the Danville girls are 6-1-2 and unbeaten in their last six games with three consecutive wins. The Boyle boys are 8-3 with three straight wins; the Danville boys are 9-1-1 and, like the girls, have won or tied their last six games and won their last three.

There is a possibility that the games could be postponed in the event of heavy rain or thunderstorms, both of which are in the Saturday forecast. One participating coach said they could be rescheduled for Sunday, although the Danville boys are scheduled to play in the All “A” Classic semifinals (and the finals if they win) Sunday in Frankfort after the final day of that tournament was postponed last weekend.

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Friday football digest, week 6

It’s not like there are tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street, but it’s still awfully quiet in Kentucky’s Title Town this week.

It’s Danville-Boyle County week, and that has generated plenty of buzz annually for the last 15 years or so. This year, however, with Boyle riding high and Danville at an historic low, there just isn’t as much excitement surrounding the game.

The most common question associated with the game that I’ve heard has been, “How bad will it be?” (Although I suppose if you’re a Rebel fan the question would be, “How good is it going to be?”) It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Boyle will win, just as Danville victories were foregone conclusions through the 1980s and early ’90s.

Time will tell if the rivalry will be one-sided for years to come or if this is just a phase. But here’s where we are this year: There’s a very real possibility that tonight’s game at Admiral Stadium will be the first running-clock game in which Danville is on the losing end.

That almost happened two weeks ago in the Admirals’ 48-7 loss at Somerset, when the Briar Jumpers drove deep into Danville territory in the middle of the fourth quarter but had no particular interest in adding to their lead.

It would seem that Boyle can’t help but put up a big number tonight, and if coach Larry French is true to his substitution pattern in games that get out of hand, it’s easy to imagine the Rebels building a lead of 45 points or better, which triggers the mercy rule in the second half. There’s no reason to believe that French would have any interest in running up the score, but it isn’t hard for the Rebels’ quick-strike offense to roll up seven or eight touchdowns.

The better game tonight will be in Lancaster, where Garrard County and Wayne County will play a game that will greatly impact the standings and playoff seedings in district 3A-5. Look for a high-scoring affair in what could be the only truly good game on this week’s local schedule.

* * *

We discovered a schedule oddity two weeks ago when every local team played on the road, and we have almost an exact reversal of that this week. Every team is at home tonight except Boyle County, which has a trip so short that the players could get out and jog to Danville if their bus breaks down.

* * *

Here are this week’s preview stories:

  • Boyle County at Danville: Larry Vaught’s story from amnews.com.
  • Somerset at Casey County: Contained within a three-game preview at amnews.com.
  • Wayne County at Garrard County: Also within the three-game preview at amnews.com; Shannon Hutchinson’s story from The Wayne County Outlook.
  • Southwestern at Lincoln County: Hal Morris’ story at amnews.com.
  • South Laurel at Mercer County: Also part of the three-game preview at amnews.com; Denis House’s story from The Sentinel Echo of London.

* * *

Another two-loss week has dropped my picking percentage below .700. Still I persevere with another dubious list of predictions:

  • Somerset over Casey County.
  • Boyle County over Danville.
  • Garrard County over Wayne County.
  • Southwestern over Lincoln County.
  • Mercer County over South Laurel.

Last week: 2-2; season 16-7 (.696).

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Friday football digest, week 5

The question raised by the Advocate’s Larry Vaught in a column earlier this week was a good one: Will Boyle County be the only area team with a winning record this season? More and more, I’m starting to think the answer is yes.

Before the season began, I predicted winning regular-season records for three of the six local teams: Boyle County, Danville and Garrard County. Boyle is off to a flying start at 3-0, but Danville and Garrard aren’t looking so good at 1-3.

I can still see the possibility of Garrard going into the playoffs at 6-4, thus assuring a winning record, though it won’t happen if the Golden Lions keep playing (or not playing) defense the way they have been. It looks like much more of a challenge to wring five wins out of Danville’s remaining six games, especially if the Admirals can’t beat Southwestern tonight. It looks like a much taller order for Lincoln County to win five of its last seven games to get to 6-4, taller still for Casey County to win five of six or for Mercer County to win six straight.

Any chance I could rewrite those preseason picks?

* * *

No preview stories this week except those from amnews.com, so here are those:

* * *

Another week of predictions, another two losses. This week it’s:

  • Southwestern over Danville.
  • Lincoln County over Washington County.
  • Boyle County over Mercer County.
  • Powell County over Casey County.

Last week: 3-2; season 14-6 (.700).

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Mercer soccer makes a dent

It isn’t really news any more when a Boyle County or Danville soccer team shows up in the statewide coaches poll, only because that has happened with increasing regularity in recent years. But when another local team — any other local team — gets a sniff of the top 25, that’s a headline.

That’s the case this week with the Mercer County boys, who made their debut  among the “others receiving votes” in the latest poll. It’s not quite like being ranked, but it’s not bad for a team that has been perhaps the area’s most improved over the last two or three years.

The Titans are 9-2-1 with eight shutout wins, including four in the last five days at Pulaski County’s Pulaski Hyundai Challenge Cup, where they’ll play for the championship Saturday.

They have lost 5-1 to Boyle, which is currently ranked 21st, and 5-2 to unranked Western Hills. Other significant tests on their schedule are a Sept. 22 game against Danville (also among the others receiving votes) and their Oct. 6 season finale against No. 3 Woodford County, both at home.

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An ominous sign of things to come

It could become a more common story in the weeks ahead, but for now it’s the first: Friday’s Bishop Brossart-Elizabethtown football game has been canceled because a Brossart player has contracted swine flu and other players may also have the disease, The Kentucky Enquirer reports.

The good news is that the illness appears to have been “pretty confined,” and that school officials acted before things could get significantly worse at Brossart or its players could carry the virus with them to the game at Elizabethtown. The decision to cancel games or practices should be handled on a case-by-case basis at individual schools, but this school seems to have made the right decision for this case.

The bad news is that this certainly won’t be the last time we’ll see a headline like this in the coming months. Whether it’s football or soccer or basketball or some other sport, other teams and other games will be affected as the swine flu continues to pop up here and there.

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Friday football digest, week 4

How is it that every Advocate-area football team — or at least the five teams that are playing this week — is on the road Friday night?

To follow a local team this week, you’ll have to hit the road to Albany, Irvine, Lawrenceburg, Mount Vernon or Somerset. I love a good road trip more than most, but it’s a pretty rare thing not to find at least one of our teams at home in a given week, though it has happened before.

Not all road games are created equal, of course, but at least three of the five on this week’s schedule will be stern tests for the visiting teams: Danville at Somerset, Mercer County at Anderson County and Lincoln County at Rockcastle County.

The lone local team that isn’t traveling tonight is Boyle County, which is off. The Rebels can rest on the laurels of their three straight impressive wins for one more week before making the short trip to Mercer on Sept. 18.

* * *

Preview stories for this week’s games are scarce except for those from amnews.com, which are always required reading. Here’s your Friday reading list:

* * *

My prediction success rate continues to sink like a stone with another lackluster 4-2 week. This is the week where things will be different — or not:

  • Casey County over Clinton County.
  • Somerset over Danville.
  • Garrard County over Estill County.
  • Rockcastle County over Lincoln County.
  • Anderson County over Mercer County.

Last week: 4-2; season 12-5 (.706).

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Cross country invitationals begin

The cross country season shifts into a higher gear as two of the three invitational meets hosted by Advocate-area schools will be held within the next week.

First comes Danville’s E.G. Plummer Invitational, which will be held Saturday at Admiral Stadium. The first of the two varsity races is at 11:30 a.m., following the Centre College Invitational on the same course earlier in the day.

Then, the Boyle County Invitational will be held Thursday at Millennium Park. The varsity races will begin at about 6:15 p.m., following two middle school races.

The only other local meet that isn’t an all-comers is the Lincoln County Invitational on Oct. 17.

* * *

Jody Demling, who covers the college recruiting beat for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, has included five 12th Region players in his rankings of the top 30 girls and top 25 boys in the basketball class of 2010 posted on his blog this week, including two girls from Lincoln County.

Lincoln’s Kendra Brown, who recently committed to Gardner-Webb, is at No. 11 on the girls list, and teammate Jessica Upchurch is at No. 16. The boys list includes Aaron Watts of McCreary Central at No. 12 and Jarrod Polson of West Jessamine at No. 19.

* * *

The Boyle County soccer teams have made a slight move up in the statewide coaches’ polls. The Boyle girls are at No. 19 this week, and the boys are at No. 22. They are the only 15th Region teams in their respective polls.

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