Archive for September, 2010

Constitution Cups up for grabs

Boyle County and Danville students shouldn’t put away their black and blue body paint just because the football game between their two schools is behind them. Teams from the two schools will meet again tonight in the annual Constitution Cup soccer doubleheader at Admiral Stadium.

These are the only regular-season meetings between the Danville and Boyle girls and boys teams, and they’ll play back to back beginning with the boys game at 6 p.m. The girls game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Boyle brings a six-game series winning streak into the girls game, and three of those wins came last season. The Lady Rebels throttled Danville 8-1 in the regular season, then beat the Lady Admirals in the 29th District and 15th Region finals by identical 3-1 scores.

This year’s Boyle team is 9-4 and ranked No. 15 in the state. Eight of its nine wins have been shutouts, but the Lady Rebels have also been shut out twice. Danville has struggled to a 4-5-2 record but hasn’t given up a goal in its last four games and hasn’t given up more than three in any game this season. However, the Lady Admirals been held to one goal or less eight times.

On the boys side, Boyle retained the cup last year by beating Danville in a shootout. (The game was officially recorded as a 2-2 tie, and the shootout was held for the sole purpose of awarding the cup.) The Admirals recovered to beat the Rebels 2-1 in the district finals.

Danville is 15-1 this season and has risen to No. 19 in the statewide poll after opening the season at No. 15, then dropping out altogether without losing a game. The Admirals have won five straight games since losing to Collegiate in the All “A” Classic championship, the last three by 10-0 scores over weak opponents to raise their shutout total to nine. Boyle is 4-10 and is mired in a four-game losing streak in which it has been outscored 19-6.

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Friday football digest, week 6

A year ago, I wrote in this space that all was quiet in Title Town leading up to the Boyle County-Danville game, and it’s nice to see that there’s a little more noise this year. There is still a clear-cut favorite in tonight’s crosstown showdown at Rebel Stadium, but Danville has improved to the point where it can again be considered a threat.

Boyle has owned the last two games in the series, which Danville still leads 32-15-1. The Rebels won 43-6 in 2008 and 49-9 last year, giving them wins in eight of their last 11 games against the Admirals. Boyle’s longest winning streak in the series is three — 1999-2001 and 2003-05 — and it could match that number with another win tonight. (Danville’s longest winning streak is 15 games from 1980-94.)

How does the game go down? Probably as another Boyle win. Forty-four of 53 people who responded to a prediction poll on through lunchtime today said so, as did 71 percent of the 297 people voting in an poll. I agree with both groups, and I think line play, which hurt Danville in its loss last week at Southwestern, gives Boyle an edge in this game.

It’s possible that the game could turn into another blowout, but I expect it to be noticeably closer.

* * *

These are heady days at Casey County, where the Rebels are 4-1 and were just one place removed from the top 10 in Class 3A in the latest Associated Press poll. They’ll be fired up as they head to Somerset for their District 3A-5 opener, but I don’t think they or anyone else in their district will be able to threaten the Briar Jumpers.

There is a game of intrigue in that district at Monticello, where Garrard County plays Wayne County in a matchup that will settle nothing but will give the winner the early lead in the race for the district’s No. 2 seed. It seems obvious to me that Casey, Garrard and Wayne will join Somerset as the playoff representatives from the six-team district, but they could finish 2-3-4 in any order.

* * *

The KHSAA has released its first weekly statistics report, and the only area player among the statewide leaders is Garrard County’s Tyler McCoy, who ranks 11th in receiving with 93 yards per game. Boyle County ranks fourth in scoring, Casey County is 12th in scoring defense, and those two teams appear among the leaders in other team categories as well.

* * *

Once again I find myself looking to go one better in my weekly predictions. A near-perfect week is good, but I’ve had two of those in a row; a perfect week would be better. The picks:

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

Last week: 4-1; season: 22-5 (.815).

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Rockcastle’s Hammond a rare major-college signee

The news this week that Rockcastle County forward Sara Hammond has committed to Louisville got me thinking about just how rare it is for a 12th Region basketball player to land a scholarship at the highest levels of college basketball.

Hammond is a rare talent, of course, good enough to have dinner at Geno Auriemma’s home during a recruiting visit to Connecticut before telling Louisville coach Jeff Walz on Sunday that she would sign with the Cardinals. She is ranked as one of the nation’s top 15 players in the class of 2011 and is one of the highest-ranked recruits Louisville has ever landed.

It has been a while since a 12th Region player — boy or girl — signed to play basketball at a “major” college, not just any Division I school, but one from one of the “big six” conferences. How long? I’m not exactly sure, but I’ll take a swing at it.

My best recollection and research says the last one was 1997 Boyle County graduate Leigh Strahinic, who accepted a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt. Injuries kept Strahinic from reaching her potential in college, but she did get a scholarship from one of the best schools in the South, and that ain’t hay.

The last boy I can remember would be Shannon Fraley of Pulaski County, who went on to play for Louisville after graduating from high school in 1986. (An asterisk: Ty Proffitt of South Laurel went to Notre Dame in 2007 — he later transferred to Morehead State — but South Laurel moved from the 12th Region to the 13th before his junior year in high school.)

Am I missing someone? Probably. Enlighten me if you can.

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Friday football digest, week 5

So you’ve done a little redecorating, you’ve put down a new rug, and you finally get the chance to have some guests over. Sound like a party? It’s going to be exactly that tonight when Boyle County plays its first football game on the new Rebel Stadium turf.

It’s the home opener at Boyle, which means it’s the first chance to fly the Rebels’ newest championship banner. (Figuratively, that is; I don’t think there’s actually a banner.) It’s the first event for the alumni association the school is forming, which will add to the crowd. And it’s the first time than many in Rebel Nation will get a close look at their shiny new field.

On top of all that, it’s a night when Boyle figures to go to 4-0 against a banged-up Mercer County team that, while improved, figures to be in no position to stop the Rebels’ building momentum.

* * *

The best matchup of the week involving an Advocate-area team is in Somerset, however, where Danville and Southwestern will both try to bounce back from turnover-plagued defeats last week.

Both of these teams are good, but both are in a fragile position: Danville is in danger of undoing the good it did in the first three weeks of the season, and Southwestern is desperate for wins after losing three of its first four. If their turnover troubles are behind them, this could be a great game.

* * *

Then there is Casey County, which could be 4-1 — that’s right, 4-1 — if it takes out Powell County tonight at home. The Rebels’ resume got a boost last week when Perry County Central, which handed Casey its only loss by one point, beat Breathitt County. Now they’ll try to keep rolling against Powell, which is undefeated against a weak schedule.

And I’ll be curious to see how Lincoln County responds after its near-miss against Rockcastle County last week. The Patriots have a tough assignment at Washington County, another team that has played well against weak opponents.

* * *

Garrard County, which is idle this week, gave me my only incorrect pick last week when it beat Estill County. Here are this week’s guesses:

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

Last week: 4-1; season: 19-4 (.826).

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Big week in cross country, soccer

The next eight days will be busy ones on the local cross country and soccer scenes, with some of the biggest events of the regular season just ahead on the schedule.

Cross Country

Most Advocate-area teams will participate in either the E.G. Plummer Invitational on Saturday at Admiral Stadium or the Boyle County Invitational on Thursday at Millennium Park — or both.

The Plummer could be run on an off track if current weather forecasts hold up, though the course could probably withstand some rain before it gets truly soggy. The varsity races are usually first at this event, but this year they’re last in the seven-race program. The girls race is scheduled for 1:45 p.m., followed by the boys race at 2:30. The Plummer races are preceded by Centre College’s invitational, which begins at 9:30 a.m.

Times are always faster at the BCI, which is held on a nearly flat course. There will be five races in this event, culminating with the girls varsity race at 6:20 p.m. and the boys varsity race at 7. It’s the first of two big meets for Boyle, which also hosts the Central Kentucky Conference Championships on Sept. 28.


Danville’s boys are off to the All “A” Classic for the seventh straight year. The Admirals have reached the semifinals in each of the last three years and will be looking to do that again when they open the eight-team tournament Saturday against Newport Central Catholic at Frankfort’s Capitol View Park. The semifinals and finals are Sunday.

The Boyle County girls host the Little Caesars Classic next week, a five-day, 12-game extravaganza that features four ranked teams and two others that are receiving votes in the coaches’ poll. The Lady Rebels play Paul Dunbar in their first-round game Tuesday.

Here are the full schedules for both events:


All “A” Classic

At Capitol View Park, Frankfort

Saturday: Newport Central Catholic vs. Danville, 11 a.m.; Lexington Christian vs. Murray, 1 p.m.; St. Patrick vs. No. 5 Collegiate, 3 p.m.; No. 11 Bethlehem vs. Glasgow, 5 p.m.

Sunday: Newport Central Catholic-Danville winner vs. Lexington Christian-Murray winner, 3 p.m.; St. Patrick-Collegiate winner vs. Bethlehem-Glasgow winner, 3 p.m.; championship, 7 p.m.


Little Caesars Classic

At Boyle County

Monday: Bardstown vs. No. 7 Tates Creek, 6 p.m.; No. 18 Anderson County vs. No. 22 Central Hardin, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: No. 11 Boyle County vs Paul Dunbar, 6 p.m.; Oldham County vs. Somerset, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Bardstown-Tates Creek loser vs. Anderson County-Central Hardin loser, 6 p.m.; Bardstown-Tates Creek winner vs. Anderson County-Central Hardin winner, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Boyle County-Paul Dunbar loser vs. Oldham County-Somerset loser, 6 p.m.; Boyle County-Paul Dunbar winner vs. Oldham County-Somerset winner, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18: Seventh place, 10 a.m.; fifth place, noon; third place, 2 p.m.; championship, 4 p.m.

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Friday football digest, week 4

We’ll get a much better idea of how much progress Danville has made since last season when we see how the Admirals fare against Somerset.

We already know they have covered more ground than many expected in such a short time, with an impressive win over Mason County and consecutive shutouts against Rockcastle County and Pikeville on their ledger. Now comes tonight’s game, against a Somerset team that humiliated them last season and went on to the Class AAA finals.

Danville doesn’t have to win to show that it has made marked improvement, and beating Somerset is still a tall order. But the Admirals can win this one, and doing so would send a strong message about just how far they have come — and how far they might yet go.

* * *

Tonight also brings critical home games for Garrard County and Casey County, who host Estill County and Clinton County respectively. Garrard lost a one-point game at Estill last year, and the Golden Lions need a good showing against the Engineers after three games that, well, weren’t. Casey didn’t score at Clinton last year as part of its struggle through the first half of the season, but this year’s Rebels should be able to avenge that loss to the 5-year-old program.

It’s the home opener for Garrard and for Mercer County, which hosts Anderson County.

* * *

Boyle County is off this week while preparing for its home opener next week against Mercer. But things are never idle in Rebelville these days, and this week the talk has centered around the unfortunate loss of wide receiver-kick returner Jarrod Harrington, who suffered a broken left forearm in Boyle’s win over Corbin last Saturday.

Harrington has already had surgery on the arm, and now we’ll see whether he can make it back on the field this season. That probably wouldn’t happen before mid-November at best, but based on what we know of how hard he plays the game, I won’t be surprised to see him playing again this season.

Meanwhile, Boyle fans will watch with considerable interest as two of the best teams in Class 4A, Lone Oak and Lexington Catholic square off tonight in Lexington. The Purple Flash, who nearly had Boyle’s number in last year’s 4A final, won a 52-49 thriller over Lexington Catholic last year at home.

* * *

Casey County kept me from a perfect start last week by beating Bourbon County, but this week the Rebels are the only area team I’m picking to win:

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

Last week: 5-1; season: 15-3 (.833.)

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When undefeated isn’t enough

Here’s one that’s hard to understand: the Danville boys soccer team began the season at No. 15 in the state coaches association’s preseason poll — a bit low for a team that made the final four last year, but not altogether unreasonable. The second poll of the season, released Aug. 23, saw the Admirals slip all the way to No. 24. And in the last two polls — the most recent of which was released Tuesday — they aren’t in the top 25 at all.

Meanwhile, all they’re doing is beating people’s brains in. They are 6-0 and have outscored their opponents 37-4, allowing two goals in their first game, two goals in their last game and none in the four games in between.

Danville hasn’t played any other ranked teams, although it did beat the Franklin County team that it knocked off in the state quarterfinals last season. And it has only one game scheduled against a team that is currently ranked: a late-season game against No. 22 West Jessamine. But while those might be reasons not to move them up in the poll, they are certainly no case to move them down or out. If they were good enough to be ranked before the season began, they’re good enough to be ranked now.

Meanwhile, Boyle County is on its way up in the girls poll, climbing from No. 13 to No. 11 in the poll released Wednesday.

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Friday football digest, week 3

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two weeks, it’s that coaches who are used to preparing their teams for games on Fridays aren’t all that crazy about playing on Saturdays. But Danville and Boyle County will have to do that one more time this week when they complete their two-year run in the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic at Corbin.

Members of both the Danville and Boyle staffs told me this week that while there is much to like about playing in bowls such as this one or Danville’s Bob Allen Pigskin Classic, they’ll be glad to get their teams on a Friday-to-Friday schedule. Every other team in Kentucky will get their games out of the way by Friday on this holiday weekend, as Danville’s game against Pikeville and Boyle’s game against Corbin are the only two games in the state being played Saturday.

The four schools playing in Corbin have 23 state championships between them, a number that grew by one with Boyle’s 4-A win last year. Danville and Pikeville have 13 of those titles but have apparently never played each other. Boyle and Corbin haven’t played since 1994, when the Rebels won a Class AA playoff game.

I’ll offer the same advice as a year ago in this space, which is essentially that Corbin’s Campbell Field is one of those stadiums every high school football fan should visit at least once. And there’s the same warning about the scarcity of parking around this neighborhood field. If you’re shut out of the lots adjacent to the field, consider parking at Rotary Park, the Little League baseball complex located just across Lynn Camp Creek. Cross the bridge on Barbourville Street, then turn right on Wilson Avenue to reach the park’s parking lot. Or if you’re crossing the creek on Roy Kidd Avenue or Master Street, turn right on Ford, left on Barbourville, then right on Wilson.

And if you’re hoping to follow the Kentucky-Louisville game on radio before or during the Danville game, try 680 AM or 107.3 FM (Corbin), 103.9 FM (London) or 104.3 FM (Williamsburg).

* * *

A scheduling anomaly finds every Advocate-area team playing out of town this week. Conversely, every local team that plays next week — Boyle County is off — will play at home. Just one of those strange things. So we’ll look to Lexington and Paris tonight, where Mercer County and Casey County face tough tests against Lafayette and Bourbon County, respectively, and to Berea, where Lincoln County will be favored against struggling Madison Southern.

Garrard County got an early start on this week’s games and fell to 0-3 with a 46-22 loss at West Jessamine. The Golden Lions have now allowed 146 points and 1,548 yards in their three games.

I was a perfect 6-for-6 on last week’s predictions and got last night’s game right, so I’ll try to keep rolling with the rest of this week’s picks:

  • Bourbon County over Casey County.
  • Lafayette over Mercer County.
  • Lincoln County over Madison Southern.
  • Boyle County over Corbin (Saturday).
  • Danville over Pikeville (Saturday).

Last week: 6-0; season: 10-2 (.833).

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Thursday football digest, week 3

The football week kicks off a day early with Garrard County’s game at West Jessamine, which was moved up 24 hours so it could be televised by the Wazoo Sports Network.

It’s hard to know what to make of West Jessamine, which followed several seasons of ineptitude by setting a school record for wins last year in a 9-3 campaign, then saw coach Randy Wood resign after just two seasons on the job. The Colts are now led by Graham Heasley, a former offensive coordinator at Woodford County. They crushed Madison Southern 56-0 in their first and only game, but Southern’s program might be in even worse shape than West Jessamine was two or three years ago.

What we’ve seen of Garrard County hasn’t been good, as the Golden Lions have given up 100 points and 1,057 yards in their two games. If they can’t figure out a way to stop opposing offenses — or at least slow them down — they may be in for a long season.

Last year’s game between these teams was a defensive struggle — West Jessamine won 14-13 — but there’s no reason to believe that’ll be the case tonight. And while I had Garrard winning this one in my preseason picks, I’ve got to call a reversal based on the evidence so far:

  • West Jessamine over Garrard County.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more on the rest of this week’s games.

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Garrard date change; Mercer site change; three for TV

The details of two of this week’s six area football games have been changed since preseason schedules were printed, so be sure you don’t miss out if you’re looking to see Garrard County or Mercer County.

Garrard’s game at West Jessamine has been moved up to Thursday (same time: 7:30 p.m.) so the game can be shown on the Wazoo Sports Network.

Mercer’s game against Lafayette will be played at Henry Clay — the same stadium where the Titans played last week — because the installation of artificial turf on Lafayette’s field isn’t yet complete. The date and time are unchanged.

* * *

Garrard is only one of three teams whose week 3 games will be featured on Wazoo Sports. The two games of the Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic — Danville vs. Pikeville and Boyle County vs. Corbin — will also air live on the television/online channel.

All three games will be shown live — Garrard at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Danville at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Boyle at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday — and it’s likely that the telecasts will be repeated a number of times as well.

Wazoo still doesn’t have a wide viewership, but it is available to some cable and satellite viewers and to anyone with a digital antenna. Tune to Lexington channel 18.2 over the air (or 11.3 if you’re closer to Louisville) or channel 305 on Time Warner Cable (if you have a digital package). Games are also streamed online at

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