Archive for October, 2010

Friday football digest, week 11

We’ve reached the end of the regular season, but for the first time in several years every local team has the playoffs to look forward to. So the games will go on for all next week, but not before we finish the schedule with some intriguing matchups this week.

The most intriguing of the three local games tonight is the Christian County-Boyle County game at Rebel Stadium. The Rebels shut out Christian last year in a driving rain in Hopkinsville, but this year’s Colonels appear to be better, having gone unbeaten until a loss last week to a strong Tennessee team.

I like Boyle to win a close one, but it would be no surprise if the Rebels enter the playoffs on their first loss of the year. Either way, it’s the kind of game that will help both teams in the coming weeks.

The same is also true for Frankfort and Danville, who meet tonight at Admiral Stadium. But Frankfort doesn’t quite have the horses it had three or four years ago, so the Admirals should be the team to beat if they can avoid a letdown.

Then there are Lincoln County and Garrard County. Lincoln has won the last five meetings between these next-door neighbors, and the last two games have been head-scratchers. The Patriots won a grand total of only three games in 2008 and ’09, and two of them were against Garrard teams that won nine games over those two seasons.

The Golden Lions have to be banging their heads against the wall trying to figure out ways to beat the Patriots, but this year’s Lincoln team has improved to the point that a win tonight wouldn’t be the upset that the last two were.

See you in the playoffs.

* * *

My last set of regular-season picks:

  • Boyle County over Christian County.
  • Danville over Frankfort.
  • Lincoln County over Garrard County.

Last week: 4-1; season: 44-9 (.830).

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Boyle inherits longest current win streak

Boyle County now has the longest current winning streak in Kentucky football following Highlands’ 28-26 loss to Ryle earlier tonight.

Highlands had won 37 consecutive games before Ryle tripped up the Bluebirds in their regular-season finale. Boyle has won 24 straight games but faces a stern test of its own Friday night against Christian County.

Somerset has the second-longest active streak with 10 straight wins. Mayfield, Hazard, Murray, Allen County-Scottsville, Bell County and John Hardin can reach 10 consecutive wins on Friday.

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Football playoff pairings

With most teams having finished district play Friday, the playoff picture is becoming clear for the six Advocate-area teams.

Boyle County, Casey County and Danville will be at home for the first round, with Garrard County, Lincoln County and Mercer County hitting the road. This will be Casey’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2006 — and its first home postseason game ever — and Lincoln’s first since 2007.

Here are the first-round matchups for the four regions involving the local teams in bracket order, with their seeds in parentheses and interesting notes with each region:

Class 2A, Region 2

  • Fort Knox (4) at Glasgow (1)
  • Monroe County (3) at Washington County (2)
  • Metcalfe County (4) at Danville (1)
  • Bardstown (3) at Green County (2)

Note: Danville is on a collision course for a third straight second-round game with Green, which has eliminated the Admirals in each of the last two years(28-21 at Danville in 2008, 61-22 at Green in 2009) . This game would be at Danville.

Class 3A, Region 3

  • Magoffin County (4) at Somerset (1)
  • Garrard  County (3) at Estill County (2)
  • Wayne County (4) at Breathitt County (1)
  • Powell County (3) at Casey County (2)

Notes: It’s mathematically possible for Wayne to overtake Garrard for the No. 3 seed in the three-way tiebreaker that also includes Casey, but the chances are minuscule to say the least. Casey cannot be knocked out of the No. 2 seed. … The Garrard-Estill and Powell-Casey games will be rematches of regular-season games won by Garrard (27-21) and Casey (23-14).

Class 4A, Region 3

  • West Jessamine (4) at Holmes/Franklin County/Harrison County (1)
  • Holmes/Franklin County/Harrison County (3) at Lexington Catholic (2)
  • Bourbon County (4) at Boyle County (1)
  • East Jessamine (3) at Holmes/Franklin County/Harrison County (2)

Notes: District 6 is in limbo because there is one more game to play next week: Holmes at Harrison. If Holmes wins, the top three teams will be Holmes, Franklin and Harrison in that order. If Harrison springs the upset there will be a three-way tie, but Holmes still figures to have the inside track in the tiebreaker. … The only game that is set in stone is at Boyle, which will host Bourbon for the second straight year. (Boyle won 61-0 last year.)

Class 5A, Region 4

  • Perry County Central (4) at Pulaski County (1)
  • Lincoln County (3) at Clay County (2)
  • Mercer County (4) at Harlan County (1)
  • Whitley County (3) at Southwestern (2)

Note: Mercer had a long ride to Letcher County Central last year, and this year’s trip to Harlan is shorter by 20 miles or so but will still take almost three hours.

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Friday football digest, week 10

The season doesn’t end tonight, but the district races will end for almost everyone. With the exception of those teams who will be counting tiebreaker points they or their opponents might earn next week, most coaches will know where their teams stand before they sleep tonight.

All six Advocate-area teams figure to make the playoffs this season, and it looks like three of them will be at home for the first round. Here’s how things will probably shake out:

  • The stakes are high for Danville’s game at Washington County, as the winner gets not only the District 2A-4 championship but also home-field advantage throughout the Class 2A playoffs.
  • Boyle County can secure the District 4A-6 title with a win over East Jessamine, which would give the Rebels up to three home playoff games. They would be on the road for the semifinals.
  • The Garrard County-Casey County game in Liberty appears to be for second place in District 3A-5. Garrard would take second-place — and its prize of a first-round home game — outright with a win, while a Casey win would generate a three-way tie in which the Rebels would appear to hold the edge. Casey would be a No. 4 seed if it loses; Garrard would be seeded third or fourth with a loss.
  • Lincoln County can clinch third place in District 5A-7 by beating winless South Laurel at home. That would leave Mercer County in fourth place (unless it upsets Pulaski County) and South Laurel on the outside. If South Laurel wins, there’ll likely be a three-way tie that would probably leave Mercer third, Lincoln fourth and South Laurel still out.

We’ll keep you posted.

* * *

While teams are jockeying for position in the final furlongs of this season, coaches are hard at work on their schedules for the next two years now that the 2011-14 alignment is set. You can almost see the e-mails flying through the air as coaches look for opponents and line them up.

Queries from virtually every area coach have appeared on the statewide coaches’ e-mail list-serve. Here are a couple of notes from the ‘Net:

  • Garrard County is looking for and willing to reward an opponent to come to Lancaster for a two-year contract for its Hall of Fame Game, which it wants to turn into a bowl.
  • Boyle County and Highlands, which will be in the same class again next year, reportedly have agreed to another home-and-home series. The teams would play season-opening games at Boyle in 2011 and at Highlands in 2012.

* * *

Finally, here are this week’s predictions:

  • Boyle County over East Jessamine.
  • Danville over Washington County.
  • Garrard County over Casey County.
  • Lincoln County over South Laurel.
  • Pulaski County over Mercer County.

Last week: 4-1; season: 40-8 (.833).

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Football alignment approved

The KHSAA Board of Control approved a final football alignment for the 2011-14 seasons today that does not change the districts in which the six Advocate-area teams were placed but does change a couple of their opponents.

Only the districts including Danville and Garrard County were affected by the changes, and only seven teams in all were moved from where they were placed in the KHSAA draft. Here are the particulars affecting Danville and Garrard:

  • In District 2A-7, Leslie County was removed, leaving Danville with a four-team district that includes Lexington Christian, Middlesboro and Somerset. Leslie was moved to District 8 to give that district four teams after Russell was moved up to Class 3A.
  • In District 3A-5, Western Hills was added to give Garrard a six-team district that also includes Bath, Bourbon, Estill and Powell counties. Western Hills was originally placed in District 3 but asked to be moved to comply with a school district policy requiring that its athletic teams travel 75 miles or less. (The most distant opponent in its new district, Powell, is 69 miles away.)

Elsewhere, the proposed Class 6A super-district of duPont Manual, Male, St. Xavier and Trinity was left intact, and Russell was the only team moved up in class, from 2A to 3A.

Here is the final alignment, with changes from the original proposal noted in italics:

CLASS 1A

District 1 — Fulton City, Fulton County, Mayfield, Russellville

District 2 — Bethlehem, Caverna, Kentucky Country Day, Louisville Holy Cross

District 3 — Bracken County, Eminence, Frankfort, Paris

District 4 — Beechwood, Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow

District 5 — Berea, Campbellsville, Lynn Camp, Williamsburg

District 6 — Harlan, Hazard, Jenkins, Pineville

District 7 — Fairview, Nicholas County, Paintsville, Raceland

District 8 — Allen Central, Phelps, Pikeville, South Floyd

CLASS 2A

District 1 — Ballard Memorial, Caldwell County, Crittenden County, Murray, Reidland

District 2 — Butler County, Hancock County, McLean County, Owensboro Catholic, Todd County Central, Union County

District 3 — Clinton County, Glasgow, Green County, Metcalfe County

District 4 — Bardstown, DeSales, Fort Knox, Louisville Christian, Shawnee, Washington County

District 5 — Carroll County, Gallatin County, Owen County, Trimble County, Walton-Verona

District 6 — Bishop Brossart, Covington Holy Cross, Lloyd Memorial, Newport, Newport Central Catholic

District 7 — Danville, Lexington Christian, Middlesboro, Somerset

District 8 — Betsy Layne, Leslie County, Prestonsburg, Shelby Valley

CLASS 3A

District 1 — Fort Campbell, Heath, Paducah Tilghman, Trigg County, Webster County,

District 2 — Adair County, Edmonson County, Hart County, Monroe County, South Warren

District 3 — Central, Elizabethtown, Henry County, LaRue County

District 4 — Bell County, Casey County, Corbin, McCreary Central, Wayne County

District 5 — Bath County, Bourbon County, Estill County, Garrard County, Powell County, Western Hills

District 6 — East Carter, Fleming County, Lewis County, Mason County, Russell, West Carter

District 7 — Breathitt County, Jackson County, Knott County Central, Magoffin County, Morgan County

District 8 — Belfry, East Ridge, Lawrence County, Pike County Central, Sheldon Clark

CLASS 4A

District 1 — Calloway County, Hopkins County Central, Lone Oak, Madisonville-North Hopkins, Owensboro

District 2 — Allen County-Scottsville, Breckinridge County, Franklin-Simpson, Warren East

District 3 — Atherton, Collins, North Oldham, Spencer County, Waggener

District 4 — Doss, Fairdale, Moore, Valley, Western

District 5 — Boyle County, Lexington Catholic, Marion County, Mercer County, Taylor County

District 6 — Clay County, Knox Central, Rockcastle County, Russell County

District 7 — Covington Catholic, Harrison County, Highlands, Holmes, Pendleton County

District 8 — Ashland Blazer, Boyd County, Greenup County, Johnson Central, Rowan County

CLASS 5A

District 1 — Apollo, Christian County, Graves County, Hopkinsville, Ohio County

District 2 — Barren County, Bowling Green, Greenwood, Logan County, Warren Central

District 3 — Grayson County, Iroquois, Jeffersontown, John Hardin, North Hardin

District 4 — Bullitt Central, Bullitt East, North Bullitt, Shelby County

District 5 — Conner, Cooper, Grant County, Scott, South Oldham

District 6 — Anderson County, East Jessamine, Franklin County, Montgomery County, West Jessamine, Woodford County

District 7 — Lincoln County, Madison Southern, North Laurel, Pulaski County, South Laurel, Southwestern

District 8 — Harlan County, Letcher County Central, Perry County Central, Whitley County

CLASS 6A

District 1 — Daviess County, Henderson County, Marshall County, Muhlenberg County

District 2 — Central Hardin, Meade County, Nelson County

District 3 — Butler, Pleasure Ridge Park, Seneca, Southern

District 4 — DuPont Manual, Male, St. Xavier, Trinity

District 5 — Ballard, Eastern, Fern Creek, Oldham County

District 6 — Boone County, Campbell County, Dixie Heights, Ryle, Simon Kenton

District 7 — Bryan Station, Henry Clay, Paul Dunbar, Scott County, Simon Kenton

District 8 — George Rogers Clark, Lafayette, Madison Central, Tates Creek

(NOTE: The fifth-place team in District 6A-6 will qualify for the playoffs as the fourth-place team in District 6A-2 in 2011-12.)

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Regional soccer, volleyball schedules

Here are the schedules for regional soccer and volleyball tournaments involving Advocate-area teams, all of which begin today or Tuesday:

BOYS SOCCER

15th Region Tournament

At Somerset

Monday, Oct. 18

Semifinals

Danville (20-3) vs. Lincoln County (15-4-2), 6 p.m.

Somerset (16-6) vs. Mercer County (12-6-2), 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Championship

Danville-Lincoln County winner vs. Somerset-Mercer County winner, 7 p.m.

* * *

GIRLS SOCCER

15th Region Tournament

At Boyle County

Tuesday, Oct. 19

Semifinals

Somerset (13-7-1) vs. Mercer County (13-8-2), 6 p.m.

Boyle County (15-5) vs. Southwestern (18-3-2), 8 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 21

Championship

Somerset-Mercer County winner vs. Boyle County-Southwestern winner, 7 p.m.

* * *

VOLLEYBALL

12th Region Tournament

At Lincoln County

First Round

Monday, Oct. 18

Casey County (14-10) vs. Wayne County (8-17), 6 p.m.

Southwestern (34-5) vs. Garrard County (11-23), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 19

Russell County (17-13) vs. Boyle County (12-20), 6 p.m.

Burgin (18-13) vs. Rockcastle County (29-7), 7:30 p.m.

———

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Semifinals

Casey County-Wayne County winner vs. Southwestern-Garrard County winner, 6 p.m.

Russell County-Boyle County winner vs. Burgin-Rockcastle County winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 21

Championship

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

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Casey chimes in on realignment

Three local teams weighed in on the proposed football realignment released by the KHSAA earlier this month, but only one of them really had much to say.

Casey County politely objected to the placement of Bell County in District 3A-4, something Bell isn’t very happy about, either. And while it would be easy to say that Casey wants no part of playing a powerhouse like Bell on a yearly basis — and would probably also be true — this is one case where both Casey and Bell have a legitimate geographical beef with the proposal the Board of Control is expected to vote on today in Lexington.

As proposed, this district would contain Bell, Casey, Corbin, McCreary Central and Wayne County. It would also be considered part of the western semi-state, even though Bell lies on the state’s eastern border. The distance between Casey and Bell is about 123 miles, and you won’t find too many more district road trips of that length in the proposed alignment. And never mind that Bell could be asked to go to Louisville or Elizabethtown for regional playoff games or to Fort Campbell or Paducah for the semifinals.

In their response to the KHSAA, Casey principal Barry Lee and athletic director Victor Black wrote:

“We do not feel that Bell County is a geographic fit for 3A for District 4. The trip for us is approximately 3 hours by school us. This is not a traditional rival game for us and does not present our fans with any added benefit for the travel. We have two other area schools within an hour drive of us that have been placed in other districts. The moving of Bell to a traditional mountain district would leave our district with the required four teams.”

In short, it means Casey would love to see Bell put somewhere else. A few days earlier, Bell said pretty much the same thing in its response submitted by principal Jeffrey Saylor and coach Dudley Hilton, which reads in part:

“Bell County is a mountain football team. For us to be placed in a district that puts us in the western half of the state does not sit well with our school and its fans. I knew that a class change was going to take away some of our annual rivals, but never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be completely removed from southeastern Kentucky.”

Bell offers two suggestions for solutions, one of which asks that it be placed in District 3A-7 with Breathitt County, Jackson County, Knott County Central, Magoffin County and Morgan County. The school also checked the box indicating its representatives wish to address today’s Board of Control meeting.

Bell is close to only one 3A opponent in the proposed alignment, and that’s Corbin, which is about 45 minutes away. But if it wants to move to District 7, there’s an easy way to make that happen and still keep every district in the class at five teams. Simply swap Bell for Jackson County, which is already playing Casey and Wayne in its current district and is closer to Corbin than to any of the teams it would be paird with in District 7.

Bell’s other proposed solution, by the way, is to leave the alignment intact but change the numbers of four districts, which it says would reduce travel for playoff games.

As for the two other local schools that responded to the KHSAA, both Garrard County and Lincoln County checked the box that says they recommend no changes.

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Friday football digest, week 9

If you ask me who’s going to win tonight’s Mercer County-Lincoln County game, there’s no telling what I’ll say.

When the Advocate sports staff made its predictions before the season, I went with Mercer. Recently I’ve leaned toward Lincoln. Now, hours before the teams meet in a crucial District 5A-7 game for both sides, I could go either way.

It’s a game both teams have to win, but Lincoln might need it more. The Patriots are down to two chances to qualify for the 5A playoffs, this game and next week’s home game against South Laurel. And this is the first game in a month that they should legitimately have a chance to win after taking hits from Southwestern, Pulaski County and Meade County in the last three weeks.

Mercer already has its win over South Laurel but would also like to get back on track after consecutive losses to Marion County and Southwestern. The Titans can clinch a playoff spot and move up a notch on the district ladder if they can beat Lincoln for the fourth straight year.

As for my final answer, I’m saying they can. Mercer has speed and big-play capability that Lincoln can’t match, and that could well make the difference tonight in Death Valley. Lincoln has become much better at moving the football and will try to shorten the game with long, methodical drives and no more passes than are absolutely necessary. If the Patriots can run the ball well and keep Mercer’s offense off the field for two-thirds of the game, they’ll probably win. But the Titans are going to make some big plays, and those are probably going to make the difference.

* * *

It was only a couple of weeks ago that West Jessamine was undefeated and talking about the possibility of taking down Boyle County and Lexington Catholic in District 4A-6. However, that was before the Colts were beaten by local and district rival East Jessamine last week.

Then there’s Fort Knox, a team that has pulled itself up and off the list of the very worst teams in Kentucky. The Eagles are averaging 32.4 points per game this season, and they’ve already scored more points this fall than in any of their seven previous seasons.

Both teams are competitive now, which wasn’t the case just a couple of years ago. But they are no match for Boyle County and Danville, the teams they play tonight. Look for the Rebels and Admirals to follow up their big district wins last week with big district wins this week.

* * *

And in McKee, Casey County should clinch a winning season with a win at Jackson County, where my alma mater just can’t seem to figure out football. The Rebels are 5-3 and headed for their first winning campaign since 2002, when they finished 7-4. They’re also headed into a crucial District 3A-5 home game with Garrard County next week.

* * *

I finally broke my string of 4-1 prediction weeks by going 6-0 last week, although it wasn’t exactly the toughest slate of games to pick. As for this week:

  • Boyle County over West Jessamine.
  • Casey County over Jackson County.
  • Danville over Fort Knox.
  • Garrard County over Taylor County.
  • Mercer County over Lincoln County.

Last week: 6-0; season 36-7 (.837).

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Postseason soccer, volleyball tourneys begin

Ten local soccer teams and seven volleyball teams will play in their respective district tournaments this week. All of the tournaments begin today or Tuesday and will conclude by Friday.

There are six tournaments in all: two for volleyball, two for boys soccer and two for girls soccer. The winners and runners-up in each advance to regional tournaments. The 12th Region volleyball tournament will be played next week at Lincoln County; sites for the 15th Region boys and girls soccer tournaments will be determined based on this week’s district results.

Here are the district schedules for both sports:

BOYS SOCCER

29th District at Boyle County

Tuesday, Oct. 12

First Round

Marion County vs. Taylor County, 6 p.m.

Boyle County vs. Garrard County, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Semifinals

Danville vs. Marion County-Taylor County winner, 6 p.m.

Mercer County vs. Boyle County-Garrard County winner, 8 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 15

Championship

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

30th District at Southwestern

Monday, Oct. 11

First Round

Southwestern vs. Pulaski County, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Semifinals

Lincoln County vs. Monticello, 6 p.m.

Somerset vs. Southwestern-Pulaski County winner, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Championship

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

GIRLS SOCCER

29th District at Garrard County

Monday, Oct. 11

First Round

Mercer County vs. Garrard County, 5:30 p.m.

Marion County vs. Taylor County, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Semifinals

Danville vs. Mercer County-Garrard County winner, 5:30 p.m.

Boyle County vs. Marion County-Taylor County winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Championship

Semifinal winners, 6:30 p.m.

30th District at Pulaski County

Monday, Oct. 11

First Round

Pulaski County vs. Wayne County, 6 p.m.

Lincoln County vs. McCreary Central, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Semifinals

Southwestern vs. Pulaski County-Marion County winner, 6 p.m.

Somerset vs. Lincoln County-McCreary Central winner, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

45th District at Boyle County

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Semifinal

Lincoln County (18-13) vs. Boyle County (11-19), 6 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Championship

Casey County (13-10) vs. Lincoln County-Boyle County winner, 6 p.m.

46th District at Danville

Tuesday, Oct. 12

Semifinals

Burgin (16-13) vs. Danville (4-17-1), 6 p.m.

Garrard County (10-22) vs. Mercer County (2-20), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Championship

Burgin-Danville winner vs. Garrard County-Mercer County winner, 6 p.m.

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Friday football digest, week 8

Be clear about this much: Lexington Catholic does not have down years.

The Knights might not be as strong this year as they usually are, but what passes for a rebuilding season on Clays Mill Road is the kind of season many coaches would kill for. Their only losses this season have come to Covington Catholic, St. Xavier and Lone Oak, three powerful teams in anybody’s book.

So when Boyle County visits tonight for the annual showdown of the top teams in District 4A-6, the Rebels shouldn’t expect Lexington Catholic to be easy pickings. Yes, Boyle has won four straight games in this series over the last two years, and yes, I believe the Rebels will win again tonight. But I don’t believe it’ll be easy.

Lexington Catholic started the season with new people at just about every position, then sent them out against a typically tough schedule. So right about now is when the Knights should be starting to get comfortable. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Bolin leads a balanced and increasingly dangerous offense, and the defense has allowed only two touchdowns in the Knights’ last two games.

Look for Lexington Catholic to hang with Boyle for much if not all of tonight’s game, and as has become usual, look for the two teams to meet again in the third round of the playoffs next month.

* * *

The hard part is over for Danville, which will try to end a three-game losing streak in its District 2A-4 opener at Bardstown. It’s not that Bardstown is a pushover, it’s just that beginning tonight and for the rest of the season the Admirals will play teams with which they can compete on a more even basis than Somerset, Southwestern and Boyle County.

It will be interesting to see how the Admirals have come through that three-game stretch and the subsequent bye week — and whether they can avenge an ugly loss to Bardstown last year.

* * *

Last week was yet another in a string of 4-1 prediction weeks, but this week won’t be unless there’s a last-minute cancellation. The picks:

  • Boyle County over Lexington Catholic.
  • Casey County over Taylor County.
  • Danville over Bardstown.
  • Meade County over Lincoln County.
  • Somerset over Garrard County.
  • Southwestern over Mercer County.

Last week: 4-1; season 30-7 (.811).

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