Friday football digest, week 1
It’s football time in Kentucky at last, and opening night hasn’t looked better in a long, long time. The passage of a cold front has given us conditions much more conducive to football than the oppressive heat players usually face early in the season.
A new season begins tonight with five of the six Advocate-area teams kicking things off: Casey County plays Lincoln County and Danville plays Simon Kenton in Lincoln’s Death Valley Bowl, Garrard County hosts Clay County in its Hall of Fame Bowl for the second straight year and Boyle County returns a game to Highlands. (Mercer County opens next week.)
Which is the best game of the night? Hard to say, but I’ll take Danville-Simon Kenton, a matchup of what might has the potential to be a pretty good Danville team against a Simon Kenton team trying to rebound from a tough 2011 season. It’s easy to go with a class bias and favor the 6A school (Simon Kenton) over the 2A school (Danville), but not every 6A school is good, and Simon Kenton wasn’t very good last year. If the Admirals are as good as they believe they can be, they can start their second century of football with a win.
The first game at Lincoln matches two rebuilding teams in Lincoln and Casey, but they’re at two different places. Lincoln returns a handful of players who were part of the Patriots’ turnaround season last year; Casey has only five or six guys who have played any varsity minutes at all. Numbers have unfortunately become a problem once again for the Rebels, and they figure to be outmanned in this one.
Last year’s Garrard-Clay game was an aberration for both teams, as Clay went straight into the tank after losing in four overtimes Garrard, while the Golden Lions only got better. The Tigers bring some beastly linemen to Lancaster, but Garrard has the better team.
Finally, Boyle heads to Highlands to play the powerful Bluebirds, who were waxed by Trinity in a scrimmage last week. (They trailed 51-0 at halftime.) But that says less about Highlands, which is still one of the three to five best teams in the state, and more about how far behind Trinity the rest of the state really is. The Rebels should have a good season, but Fort Thomas is not a good place to open the season, and this won’t be their night.
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Sports editor Larry Vaught has compiled the opinions of the Advocate sports staff for a preseason predictions column for a number of years, but he decided not to do it this year. In lieu of that, here are my team-by-team predictions for the regular season, which would usually run in that space:
- Boyle County (7-3): Wins over Collins, Danville, Dixie Heights, Taylor County, Marion County, Mercer County, Whitley County; losses to Highlands, John Hardin, Lexington Catholic.
- Casey County (3-7): Wins over Clinton County, McCreary Central, Metcalfe County; losses to Lincoln County, Taylor County, Sheldon Clark, Fairview, Bell County, Wayne County, Corbin.
- Danville (8-2): Wins over Simon Kenton, Lincoln County, Corbin, Southwestern, Somerset, Middlesboro, Lexington Christian, Frankfort; losses to Boyle County, Green County.
- Garrard County (8-2): Wins over Clay County, Lloyd Memorial, Lincoln County, Bath County, Powell County, Western Hills, Estill County, Madison Southern; losses to Anderson County, Bourbon County.
- Lincoln County (5-5): Wins over Casey County, Washington County, Madison Southern, South Laurel, North Laurel; losses to Danville, Garrard County, Wayne County, Pulaski County, Southwestern.
- Mercer County (6-4): Wins over Allen County-Scottsville, West Jessamine, Nelson County, Marion County, Taylor County, Paul Dunbar; losses to Madison Central, Anderson County, Lexington Catholic, Boyle County.
There you have it. If they were on paper, I’d tell you to eat those predictions immediately after reading. Instead, I’ll probably eating at least some of those words come late October.
For what it’s worth — which is nothing — I went 59-10 in picking area games last season, an .855 winning percentage. That’s enough to satisfy me, not enough to make me consider a career in sports wagering.
Enjoy the season.