Archive for November, 2010

Boyle title game tickets on sale

Advance tickets for the Class 4A football championship game Friday between Boyle County and Allen County-Scottsville are on sale during regular school hours at Boyle.

The general-admission tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate and are good for only one game. Boyle is the visiting team in Friday’s game, and its fans will be placed on the north side of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, which is the side that includes the press box and is closest to E.A. Diddle Arena.

Parking on the Western Kentucky University campus should be less of a problem than it was last year, when the game was played during a school day. Friday’s game starts at 8 p.m.

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Garrard games remain at same address

Garrard County has a new school, but its basketball teams will be calling their old gym home for the forseeable future.

The Garrard County boys open their season tonight with a home game against Bath County, and the Garrard girls play their home opener Dec. 7. Because the new school building that opened this summer has only a 400-seat gymnasium used primarily for physical education, those games and the teams’ other home games will be played at the “old” high school, which is now Garrard Middle School.

Plans call for a “game” gym and other athletic facilities to be built on the new campus in the future.

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Basketball’s back

District tournaments begin in only 84 days, which means it’s time for another high school basketball season to begin. The 12-week regular season begins tonight locally and around Kentucky, though most teams will wait a day or more to get going.

It’s a season of transition for many of the teams in the Advocate’s coverage area, with a large number of young teams and a handful of teams trying to make significant moves forward. The transitions include four new coaches among the 16 local KHSAA-based teams:

  • Former South Laurel player and assistant coach Brad Sizemore player and assistant coach Brad Sizemore is the new boys coach at Garrard County, where Kevin Wheeler was the interim coach for almost all of last season.
  • Brian Britt, a former Centre College player and Mercer County boys assistant, was promoted at Mercer after Nelson Cundiff was fired following a season in which the Titans reached the 12th Region final.
  • Greg Edwards, a former Harrodsburg and Mercer County boys coach and most recently an assistant with the Boyle boys, becomes the head coach of a girls team for the first time at Boyle, his alma mater.
  • Cassandra McWhorter, a former player and assistant coach with the Lincoln County girls, was promoted to Lincoln’s head coach following the resignation of Don Story.

Outside the KHSAA, Jamie Middleton has taken over as coach of both the boys and girls teams at Danville Christian, where the season got under way earlier this month.

* * *

With only a couple of moments worth of thought on the matter, here are my preseason picks for the 12th Region’s district and regional winners:

  • 45th District: Danville boys, Garrard County girls.
  • 46th District: Mercer County boys, Mercer County girls.
  • 47th District: Pulaski County boys, Rockcastle County girls.
  • 48th District: Wayne County boys, Southwestern girls.
  • 12th Region: Wayne County boys, Rockcastle County girls.

* * *

Finally, here are the remaining season openers for area teams:

Boys

  • Boyle County: Saturday at Cumberland County (home opener Dec. 10 vs. Knox Central).
  • Burgin: Tuesday vs. Portland Christian.
  • Casey County: Tuesday vs. Anderson County.
  • Danville: Dec. 7 vs. West Jessamine.
  • Garrard County: Tuesday vs. Bath County.
  • KSD: Tuesday vs. Red Bird.
  • Lincoln County: Tuesday at Russell County (home opener Dec. 7 vs. Wayne County).
  • Mercer County: Tuesday at McCreary Central (home opener Friday vs. Wayne County).

Girls

  • Boyle County: Tuesday at East Jessamine (home opener Friday vs. Washington County).
  • Burgin: Tuesday vs. Portland Christian.
  • Casey County: Saturday at Danville (home opener Jan. 7 vs. Somerset).
  • Danville: Friday vs. Burgin.
  • Garrard County: Wednesday vs. Model at Sayre round-robin (home opener Dec. 7 vs. Lexington Christian).
  • KSD: Thursday vs. Riverside Christian.
  • Lincoln County: tonight at Pulaski County (home opener Dec. 7 vs. Wayne County).
  • Mercer County: Friday vs. Wayne County.
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Brand, Dawson among district players of the year

The list of winners of the Kentucky Football Coaches Association’s district player and coach of the year awards has been out there for a while, but I only recently discovered it, so now I’m passing it on.

Patrick Brand of Danville and Lamar Dawson of Boyle County were named the players of the year for their respective districts and were among 96 players and coaches who will be recognized next weekend at the state finals.

Here are the honorees for districts that include Advocate-area teams, with the player listed first, then the coach:

  • Class 2A-4: Patrick Brand, Danville; Mark Perry, Washington County.
  • Class 3A-5: Erik Manning, Somerset; Shawn Thompson, Wayne County.
  • Class 4A-6: Lamar Dawson, Boyle County; Mike Bowlin, East Jessamine.
  • Class 5A-7: Zach Eastham, Pulaski County; Dale Anderson, Southwestern.

In case you missed it last week, you can read up on the long list of players voted to the Advocate’s All-Area team, as well as features on Area Lineman of the Year Tevin Raines of Danville and Area Coach of the Year Andy Stephens of Casey County.

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Boyle headed back to Bowling Green

Boyle County prevailed in yet another classic semifinal clash with Bell County on Friday to reach the state football finals for the second consecutive year.

Boyle, the defending Class 4A champion, defeated Bell 25-21 in Pineville to return to the 4A final, where they will attempt to win their seventh state championship. The Rebels will play Allen County-Scottsville, which is coached by former Lincoln County assistant Brad Hood, for the title at 8 p.m. this Friday in Bowling Green.

The news was not so good for Danville, which couldn’t keep pace in a shootout with Owensboro Catholic at Admiral Stadium. The Admirals lost 61-42 and will sit out the state finals for the fourth straight year.

The game stories from each game are linked above. Look for more coverage Saturday on amnews.com and in Sunday’s Advocate, and there’ll be more Boyle coverage throughout next week both online and in print.

* * *

Here is the full schedule for next week’s state finals at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green (all times Eastern):

Friday, Dec. 3

  • Class 1A: Mayfield (14-0) vs. Hazard (14-0), Noon
  • Class 2A: Owensboro Catholic (13-1) vs. Newport Central Catholic (12-2), 4 p.m.
  • Class 4A: Allen County-Scottsville (13-0) vs. Boyle County (14-0), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 4

  • Class 3A: Central (8-6) vs. Belfry (10-4), Noon
  • Class 5A: Christian County (12-2) vs. Highlands (13-1), 4 p.m.
  • Class 6A: Male (11-3) vs. Trinity (13-1), 8 p.m.
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Friday football digest, week 15

The first truly cold night of the high school football season produces two hot semifinals matchups involving Advocate-area teams.

Boyle County is at Bell County in a Class 4A game in hopes of returning to the state finals for the second straight year. Back home, Danville plays Owensboro Catholic in a 2A game that the Admirals hope will send them to the finals for the first time in four years.

The Boyle-Bell game is easily one of the most anticipated games in the state this season, and with good reason. The two teams have met in the semifinals in each of the last two years, both games have been compelling, and in both instances the winner has gone on to win the 4A championship.

Boyle has the longest current winning streak in Kentucky at 28 games, with its last loss coming at Bell in 2008. Bell hasn’t lost since it fell to Boyle last year. Bell won 17-15 at home in 2008, and Boyle won 13-10 at home last season. That’s two games decided by a total of five points, and tonight’s game looks like it could be just as close, with two of the state’s top defenses working to keep the score low.

This is the first meeting between Danville and Owensboro Catholic, and it figures to be a higher-scoring game, what with Danville’s big-play potential and O-Cath’s ability to spread the field. The Admirals’ defense has passed some difficult tests this season, but this looks like the toughest yet.

No matter which of these games you’re headed to on this semifinal Friday, you’re bound to see some good football. Now have another turkey sandwich, get that long underwear out of the closet and get out there.

The picks:

  • Bell County over Boyle County.
  • Danville over Owensboro Catholic.

Last week: 2-0; season: 58-10 (.853).

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On to the semifinals

The playoffs continue for Boyle County and Danville, who are booked for Thanksgiving practices and semifinal games the following day after both won regional championships Friday night.

Boyle defeated Lexington Catholic 45-35 to win the Class 4A, Region 3 title, and Danville defeated Monroe County 48-21 to win in Class 2A, Region 2. Danville will host Owensboro Catholic and Boyle will play at Bell County in their semifinal games next week.

This is the first time that our area has had two semifinalists in the same season since 2004, when Boyle beat Central and Danville beat Louisville Holy Cross to advance to semifinals against Hopkinsville and Mayfield, respectively, which they also beat before both lost in the state finals.

Look for coverage of Boyle and Danville’s latest big wins on amnews.com early this morning and in the Sunday Advocate.

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Friday football digest, week 14

Boyle County vs. Lexington Catholic. It just sounds like good football, and it usually is.

But when the two teams meet for the second time this season in tonight’s Class 4A, Region 3 final, will it be any more of a game than when the Rebels shellacked the Knights six weeks ago? Maybe, but probably not much.

Boyle’s 42-10 win on Oct. 8 — at Lexington Catholic, no less — was the most lopsided of the 15 games the two teams have played, and it’s hard to imagine that the Knights could completely close a 32-point gap in such a short time. Still, that game was the exception in this usually compelling series, which has included six playoff games.

Although Lexington Catholic first became familiar to local fans while battling Garrard County and Harrodsburg through much of the 1990s when its program was young, it has now played more games against Boyle than against any other Advocate-area team. Boyle leads the series 10-5 overall and 4-2 in the postseason and has won five straight games — including two straight regional finals — since Lexington Catholic won a 2007 playoff game on its way to the 4A championship.

Nine of the teams’ 15 meetings have been decided by eight points or less, six have been decided by four points or less, and three have been decided by one or two points.

But the playoff games lean a little more toward the lopsided. Here’s the history:

  • 1998: Lexington Catholic 28-13 (second round)
  • 1999: Boyle County 21-17 (regional final)
  • 2000: Boyle County 18-16 (regional final)
  • 2007: Lexington Catholic 41-12 (second round)
  • 2008: Boyle County 23-16 (regional final)
  • 2009: Boyle County 34-20 (regional final)

That’s a trend that I think will continue tonight, with very little impeding the Rebels’ march toward Pineville and another long-awaited semifinal matchup with Bell County next week.

Across town, it should also be a good night for Danville, which can win its first regional title since 2006 with a win over Monroe County in the Class 2A, Region 2 final.

Monroe is a tough opponent, but the Falcons appear to be no tougher than the Green County team Danville defeated last week. They actually finished third in their district after losing to both Green and Glasgow, beat Washington County by one point in the first round of the playoffs, got a break in their bracket when No. 1 seed Glasgow was knocked off by Fort Knox, then beat Fort Knox to advance to Danville.

A rash of turnovers or a generally bad game could be the Admirals’ undoing at any point from here on out, but if they’re on top of their game, they would seem to have enough to reach the semifinals.

The picks:

  • Boyle County over Lexington Catholic.
  • Danville over Monroe County.

Last week: 4-0; season: 56-10 (.848).

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Friday football digest, week 13

Few football games I have covered in recent years have left as much of an impression on me as Danville’s playoff loss at Green County last season. So with all the respect in the world for Danville coach Sam Harp, I have to say that I don’t entirely believe him when he says the Admirals haven’t given that much thought to Green until last week.

Green, you’ll remember, is the team that handed Danville one of its most ignominious defeats, a 61-22 thrashing that was the Admirals’ first and only mercy-rule loss. It was a horrible beating that marked the end to what was a horrible season by Danville standards.

The Admirals used the sting of that 5-7 season as motivation for this year, and the results have been good so far. They’re 8-3 going with a five-game winning streak going into tonight’s game against the Dragons, who have eliminated them in the second round of the playoffs in each of the last two years.

And while the Admirals had other fish to fry during the previous 11 weeks — three district games, the rivalry with Boyle County, et cetera — what happened on that November Friday night in Greensburg surely was never far from their thoughts.

It should be noted that Green did nothing out of hand in that game. There was no running up the score, no more trash-talking than you’d see anywhere else this time of year, nothing untoward. The Dragons did score on a 94-yard run late in the game, but it was a sweep play designed to get them out of the shadow of their own goal line that Danville simply couldn’t stop. No, they were just that much better.

But it was a spanking that still stings, and it was Green that happened to be swinging the paddle. So there’s no reason to expect that the Danville team that takes the field tonight at Admiral Stadium will be anything but very highly motivated.

That’s more than you could say of the Admirals this time a year ago, but is it enough? No. What matters most is that Danville is a far better team than it was a year ago, yet there’s still no way of knowing until tonight whether it has improved enough to close that 39-point gap.

Green doesn’t look much different at all than it did last year, with a high-powered offense that has been putting up big numbers all season. If there’s a question about the Dragons, it’s whether their defense is good enough to keep good teams off the scoreboard. They put up 67 points last week, but they also gave up 42 to a Bardstown team that isn’t very good.

Harp has won exactly 307 more games than I have, so I’m inclined to believe that he has brought this team all the way back in one year’s time to the point where the Admirals can go toe to toe with Green. My mind says this game could go either way, but my gut says it will go to Danville — and my lungs are holding their breath.

* * *

Garrard County was the only area team I guessed wrong on last week, as the Golden Lions fooled me with an impressive first-round win at Estill County. It looks like the end of the road for them tonight at Somerset, however, and for Casey County’s magical season as well. The picks:

  • Boyle County over East Jessamine.
  • Breathitt County over Casey County.
  • Danville over Green County.
  • Somerset over Garrard County.

Last week: 5-1; season: 52-10 (.839).

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Friday football digest, week 12

For the most part, there just isn’t much to get excited about in the first week of the playoffs. The best teams typically play tomato cans in games that aren’t much different or much more competitive than a Kentucky basketball exhibition.

But there is excitement to be found in Liberty, where the folks at Casey County are trying to create an atmosphere for tonight’s game against Powell County, the first home playoff game in school history. The bank-sponsored tailgate party the Rebels throw for their home opener will be replicated tonight, and coach Andy Stephens will dust off the black jerseys the team wore for the first time earlier this season in a “black out” scheduled for homecoming.

Casey could have won that game against Taylor County wearing fuschia jerseys with lavender pants, but tonight’s game is a different deal. Powell is a respectable team with seven wins on its ledger, a team the Rebels had to come from behind to beat 23-14 when they met at midseason.

It’s a winable game for Casey, but it’s no gimme. Then again, little has ever been handed to the Rebels, who have only made six previous playoff appearances and who until this year were unable to climb above fifth place in the six-team district they landed in in 2007.

Stephens said after Casey beat Garrard two weeks ago to clinch its home playoff game that the Rebels were going to “have some fun with it,” and that’s exactly the right approach. They’re turning on the lights later in the year than they ever have before, and perhaps later than they will again for several years. Casey’s realigned district will include Bell County and Corbin beginning next year, meaning the Rebels and the other teams in the district will likely be playing for third place for a while.

While Boyle County and Danville will draw smaller-than-usual crowds for home games against overmatched opponents that will end in an hour and a half, and relatively few fans will likely follow Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties to their road games, the folks at Casey are hosting the best party around.

* * *

Before I start digging out my long underwear for tonight’s game, here are this week’s picks:

  • Boyle County over Bourbon County.
  • Casey County over Powell County.
  • Clay County over Lincoln County.
  • Danville over Metcalfe County.
  • Estill County over Garrard County.
  • Harlan County over Mercer County.

Last week: 3-0; regular season: 47-9 (.839).

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