Archive for November, 2011

Stephens named Southwestern coach

Former Casey County coach Andy Stephens has been named the coach at Southwestern after going 9-1 as interim coach this season, the Commonwealth Journal of Somerset reported today.

Stephens took over the Southwestern program Sept. 20 following the sudden resignation of longtime coach Dale Anderson, and he led the Warriors to nine straight victories before they lost to Anderson County in a Class 5A semifinal last week.

He was 35-71 in 10 seasons at Casey County before resigning earlier this year, then taking a position on the Southwestern staff. He was the Advocate’s Area Coach of the Year in 2010.

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On to basketball

And just like that, it’s basketball season in the Advoplex. Just three days after the last area football team was eliminated from the postseason, the high school basketball season tips off tonight with three girls games: Pulaski County at Lincoln County, Casey County at Marion County and Garrard County at Somerset.

From here it’s just 84 days to the start of district tournament play and 110 days until the season ends with the championship game of the Boys Sweet Sixteen.

The Advocate previewed the area teams over the last two weeks. In case you missed any of them, here are links to the stories:

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Friday football finals, week 16

Here are tonight’s state semifinal scores from across Kentucky:

  • 1A: Mayfield 19, Beechwood 14
  • 1A: Hazard 57, Pikeville 35
  • 2A: Glasgow 40, Murray 10
  • 2A: Covington Holy Cross 48, Somerset 14
  • 3A: Central 36, Fort Campbell 8
  • 3A: Belfry 34, Garrard County 27
  • 4A: Franklin-Simpson 20, Collins 15
  • 4A: Highlands 42, Lexington Catholic 21
  • 5A: Bowling Green 62, John Hardin 20
  • 5A: Anderson County 49, Southwestern 8
  • 6A: Trinity 49, Butler 6
  • 6A: Scott County 16, Boone County 14

And the schedule for next weekend’s championship games at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green (all times Eastern):

Friday, Dec. 2

  • 1A: Mayfield (14-0) vs. Hazard (11-2), Noon
  • 2A: Glasgow (14-0) vs. Covington Holy Cross (11-3), 4 p.m.
  • 6A: Trinity (13-0) vs. Scott County (14-0), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • 3A: Central (11-3) vs. Belfry (13-1), Noon
  • 4A: Franklin-Simpson (13-1) vs. Highlands (14-0), 4 p.m.
  • 5A: Bowling Green (14-0) vs. Anderson County (12-2), 8 p.m.
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Friday football digest, week 15

It’s come down to this: There are only 12 games being played around the commonwealth tonight, and the only Advocate-area team in any of them is Garrard County.

More than one person has asked me in the past week if I would have thought at season’s beginning that Garrard, which hosts Belfry in a Class 3A semifinal tonight, would be the last local team standing, and of course my answer was no. But by the first of October, it really wasn’t a stretch at all.

It was becoming clear by then that the Golden Lions were better than advertised. It was evident that they had the kind of team that could do some serious damage within its district and in its regional playoff bracket, and that’s just what they did.

Now they’re off the map, having rolled through their region and into a bracket line where Garrard’s name has never been seen before. And now we’ll see how good they really are.

Is Garrard good enough to play with, even beat one of the best teams in the state? Belfry has probably been the best team in the mountains over the past 10 years, winning a couple of championships and contending for more. The Pirates will arrive in Lancaster believing they can and should win games like this against teams that have never been this far before.

It’ll be up to Garrard to match what figures to be a physical front line, get Belfry’s offense off the field to prevent long drives and keep its mistakes to an absolute minimum. If the Lions cannot do those things, Belfry will be headed back to Bowling Green. If they can, it’ll be a memorable night in Lancaster.

* * *

The only other semifinal in our part of the world is a 5A game at Lawrenceburg, where Anderson County hosts Southwestern. It was hard to imagine the Warriors in this position at midseason in the wake of coach Dale Anderson’s abrupt resignation, but tonight they find themselves in a winnable game with a chance to reach the state finals.

It’s a tremendous credit to Andy Stephens, the former Casey County coach who was named Southwestern’s interim coach after Anderson stepped down, and the rest of the Warriors’ staff that this team was able not only to keep from coming apart, but to keep improving to the point where it could make a deep postseason run.

It is unfortunate that Stephens, who left Casey this spring to become a Southwestern assistant, got a battlefield promotion in the middle of the turmoil surrounding Anderson’s departure. However, it is impressive that he and his team have performed so well.

I couldn’t be happier for Stephens, a good guy who became a good coach at Casey, where that isn’t always easy or evident. I’ll be rooting for him tonight and rooting for him to be named the permanent head coach in the near future.

* * *

The pick:

  • Belfry over Garrard County.

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

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No high school sports chat this week

The weekly high school sports chat at amnews.com will not be held Thursday. Hal Morris and I will be back to chat next week at noon Thursday, Dec. 1.

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District players, coaches of the year

Three players and two coaches from Advocate-area schools are among the district coach and player of the year award winners announced today by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association.

The local winners:

District 2A-7: Tryston Ford, Danville, POY.

District 3A-5: Mark Scenters, Garrard County, COY.

District 4A-5: Zach Hester, Boyle County, POY.

District 5A-7: Deon Shannon, Lincoln County, POY; Mike Settles, Lincoln County, POY.

The honorees will be recognized during the championship game for their class at next week’s state finals. Boyle coach Larry French will also be recognized for reaching the 250-win mark this season.

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Regional finals scores, semifinal pairings

Here’s the updated playoff picture, with tonight’s regional finals scores from regions including Advocate-area teams and statewide pairings for next week’s semifinals:

REGIONAL FINALS

CLASS 2A, REGION 4

  • Somerset 55, Lexington Christian 14
CLASS 3A, REGION 2
  • Central 26, Bell County 0
CLASS 3A, REGION 3
  • Garrard County 40, Powell County 16

CLASS 4A, REGION 3

  • Lexington Catholic 10, Boyle County 7

CLASS 5A, REGION 4

  • Southwestern 28, Harlan County 21, OT

* * *

SEMIFINAL PAIRINGS

Friday, Nov. 25

CLASS 1A

  • Beechwood (12-1) at Mayfield (13-0)
  • Pikeville (11-2) at Hazard (10-2)

CLASS 2A

  • Glasgow (13-0) at Murray (12-1)
  • Somerset (9-4) at Covington Holy Cross (10-3)

CLASS 3A

  • Central (10-3) at Fort Campbell (9-4)
  • Belfry (12-1) at Garrard County (12-1)

CLASS 4A

  • Collins (11-2) at Franklin-Simpson (12-1)
  • Highlands (13-0) at Lexington Catholic (11-2)

CLASS 5A

  • John Hardin (13-0) at Bowling Green (13-0)
  • Southwestern (10-3) at Anderson County (11-2)

CLASS 6A

  • Trinity (12-0) at Butler (11-2)
  • Boone County (9-4) at Scott County (13-0)
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Friday football finals, week 14

Here are tonight’s final scores from regional championship games around the Advoplex:

  • Class 3A, Region 3: Garrard County 48, Powell County 16

Garrard wins the first regional championship in school history in its fourth regional finals appearance. The Golden Lions will host Belfry in a Class 3A semifinal Nov. 25 at Dyehouse Stadium.

  • Class 4A, Region 3: Lexington Catholic 10, Boyle County 7

Two-time defending 4A champion Boyle sees its season end short of the semifinals for the first time since 2007.

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Friday football digest, week 14

We’re down to only two Advocate-area teams remaining in the postseason, but both of those teams have compelling story lines in tonight’s regional finals.

There is no more compelling game locally — at least none that is played on a regular basis — than Boyle County vs. Lexington Catholic, and it’s because of their shared playoff history. The two teams have played seven postseason games since 1998, and they have met in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons and have played in the regional finals for three straight years.

Boyle leads the overall series 11-6 and has won five of their seven playoff meetings. It’s also interesting to note — though probably useless — that in each of the seven seasons in which the two teams have met in both the regular season and playoffs, the team that won the first meeting also won the second.

Naturally, tonight’s Class 4A, Region 3 final at LexCath’s Ford Stadium is the most anticipated game of the year on both sides of the rivalry. And naturally, opinion about which team will prevail is split. At this hour, a Bluegrasspreps.com poll on the game has 46 votes for LexCath and 36 for Boyle.

Boyle isn’t going to stop the Knights’ passing game, but the Rebels must at least contain it to some extent. LexCath quarterback Kyle Bolin torched the Rebels for 369 yards in the Knights’ 20-13 win on Sept. 30, and if he does that again Boyle could be in big trouble. On the flip side, the key for Boyle’s offense may not necessarily be putting up big numbers via either the pass or the run, but rather avoiding the mistakes that hurt the Rebels in the first meeting and that have hurt them at other times this season as well.

The other area game is also a regular-season rematch, as Powell County plays Garrard County at Dyehouse Stadium in Lancaster for the second time this season to decide the Class 3A, Region 3 championship — and give the winner its first regional title. The first game went pretty well for Garrard, which won 57-27 on Sept. 30. The game might be best remembered for a halftime power outage that prompted a 15-minute delay, but the Golden Lions had plenty of power.

Powell has had a rocky road in the seven weeks since. The Pirates took a three-game losing streak into the playoffs after losing to Bourbon County, Western Hills and Fairview and were saddled with a No. 4 seed, but then they smoked Lewis County on the road for the second time this season, then avenged their loss to Bourbon last week. Suddenly a team that had never won a playoff game before this season is on the verge of becoming one of the state’s best stories.

However, Garrard has been rolling right along. The Lions have won 10 straight games since their lone loss to Danville in week two, and they looked pretty good in pasting West Carter and Russell in their first two playoff games. The same defense that shut down Powell’s running game in the second half of their September meeting seems to be only getting better and hasn’t allowed more than two touchdowns in any of Garrard’s last four games.

The Bluegrasspreps.com poll on this game hasn’t drawn as much interest as the Boyle-LexCath poll and is decidedly more one-sided, with Garrard leading Powell 19-2.

Now for the picks:

  • Garrard County over Powell County.
  • Lexington Catholic over Boyle County.

Last week: 5-0; season: 56-10 (.848).

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Second-round scores; regional finals pairings

Here’s the updated playoff picture for regions including Advocate-area teams, with tonight’s second-round scores and next week’s pairings for the regional finals:

CLASS 2A, REGION 4

Second Round

Friday, Nov. 11

  • Somerset 34, Danville 23
  • Lexington Christian 27, Leslie County 20

Regional Final

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Lexington Christian (6-6) at Somerset (8-4)

CLASS 3A, REGION 2

Second Round

Friday, Nov. 11

  • Central 62, Corbin 7
  • Bell County 58, Wayne County 6

Regional Final

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Bell County (11-1) at Central (9-3)

CLASS 3A, REGION 3

Second Round

Friday, Nov. 11

  • Garrard County 40, Russell 6
  • Powell County 27, Bourbon County 15

Regional Final

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Powell County (8-4) at Garrard County (11-1)

CLASS 4A, REGION 3

Second Round

Friday, Nov. 11

  • Lexington Catholic 44, Mercer County 7
  • Boyle County 23, Rockcastle County 0

Regional Final

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Boyle County (9-3) at Lexington Catholic (10-2)

CLASS 5A, REGION 4

Second Round

Friday, Nov. 11

  • Southwestern 26, Perry County Central 21
  • Harlan County 55, Lincoln County 27

Regional Final

Friday, Nov. 18

  • Harlan County (11-1) at Southwestern (9-3)
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