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.
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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).