I hyped last week’s Lexington Catholic-Boyle County and Bardstown-Danville games and I was largely right, and I think I’m right again in calling the marquee game on this week’s schedule the most overrated game of the season so far.
It’s a battle between unbeaten teams at Boyle, where the 7-0 Rebels host 7-0 West Jessamine. But with all due respect to West Jessamine, it might be the worst matchup between unbeatens in the second half of the season that you’ll ever see.
West Jessamine is undefeated against a slate of opponents whose combined record is 15-35, and that record is propped up by the 5-2 mark of Western Hills, the only team the Colts have faced that has a winning record. Boyle and Lexington Catholic, the next team on the Colts’ schedule, have more wins between them (11) than the other six teams they have played, including 0-8 Paris, 0-7 Iroquois and 1-6 Madison Southern. In fact, you could make a case that 3-4 Garrard County, which West Jessamine beat 14-13 in week three, is the best team West has faced to date.
And I’m not knocking West Jessamine. This is a team that just two years ago struggled to put 20 to 22 players in uniform during a rock-bottom season in which the Colts went through three coaches, finishing the second half of the season with baseball coach Jody Hamilton as the interim coach. They scored all of 47 points in that 0-10 campaign, and they gave up more than that in five of those games.
Then the school hired Randy Wood, who had built a winning team at Morgan County, and things slowly began to turn around. West Jessamine finished 3-7 last year (with one win by forfeit) and started this season with about 50 players on its roster.
Is the Colts’ schedule weak? You betcha. Wood has made it easier, with fewer county schools and with four of their seven non-district games coming against schools from lower enrollment classes. But West Jessamine couldn’t have beaten most of these teams — and couldn’t have beaten many of them last year.
Wood can worry about building the schedule back up in a couple of years; for now, he just wants his players to win some games. That’s how it was in 1992 when Chuck Smith took over as Boyle’s coach and installed a softer schedule. Once the Rebels proved they could win at that level, he made the competition increasingly tougher in subsequent schedules.
Now Boyle is where it is and West Jessamine is where it is, and there’s a much greater gulf between them than the teams’ matching 7-0 marks would lead you to believe. So don’t expect anything but another Boyle cakewalk tonight at Rebel Stadium, but keep an eye on West Jessamine to see if Wood starts walking the Colts down the same path the Rebels began all those years ago.
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If you see some of the local teams or their opponents wearing pink ribbon decals on their helmets tonight and for the rest of the season, now you’ll know why: Jason Frakes of The Courier-Journal reports that the coaches of about 120 teams have ordered the decals for their players’ helmets in support not only of the large and worthy issue of breast cancer awareness, but also specifically in support of Lexington Christian coach Paul Rains, whose wife Denise is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The movement began gaining traction late last week on the coaches’ e-mail network, where one coach after another lined up to say they would participate. Rains wrote in one of those e-mails that more than 3,000 ribbons were sent out in a three-day period this week, in addition to the 1,000 to 1,500 that committed to the program last week.
Rains said he hopes to gain sponsorship and to expand the program next year, perhaps to include wristbands and the like for players and hats for coaches, much like the NFL is doing in its breast cancer awareness program this month. Already, some schools have scheduled a “Pink Friday,” with activities leading up to their games that raise money for research and increase awareness of a cancer that is being diagnosed in one of every eight women.
“There is no doubt that we will save a life of someone’s mother, sister or daughter because they will realize it has been too long since their last (mammogram). Make sure your boys understand the importance of wearing that ribbon, and it may very well be a difference-maker,” Rains wrote to the coaches.
I haven’t seen a list of participating schools whether any, all or none of the six Advocate-area schools will be sporting ribbons by this week or next, but here’s hoping they’ll all jump on board this bandwagon.
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Now for the links to this week’s game previews:
- West Jessamine at Boyle County: Larry Vaught’s story at amnews.com.
- Jackson County at Casey County: Hal Morris’ roundup at amnews.com.
- Danville at Fort Knox: Vaught’s story at amnews.com; Josh Claywell’s preview from The News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown.
- Lincoln County at Mercer County: Morris’ story at amnews.com.
- Garrard County at Taylor County: Morris’ roundup at amnews.com.
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Finally, this week’s picks:
- Boyle County over West Jessamine.
- Casey County over Jackson County.
- Danville over Fort Knox.
- Mercer County over Lincoln Couny.
- Garrard County over Taylor County.
Last week: 6-0; season: 30-8 (.789).