Friday football digest, week 1
It’s kickoff time at last, as another season of high school football gets under way only a few hours from now. Four of the six Advocate-area teams launch their seasons tonight and another gets started Saturday.
Last year marked the first time in decades that such a large percentage of local teams had a losing record, as five of the six teams finished under .500. It also marked the first time since 2003 that a local team won a state championship, as Boyle County won the Class 4A championship.
The myriad of questions surrounding this season will be answered over the next 2 1/2 months, but for now we’ll kick off with a few notes from close to home and a little farther away:
- In case you missed the bitter ending to Danville’s 2009 season or the Advocate’s special section on coach Sam Harp this week, Harp needs only one win to become the sixth coach to win 300 games in Kentucky. My guess is the Admirals won’t make him wait long.
- Boyle County will become the first area team to play its home games on artificial turf, which has been installed at Rebel Stadium. The Rebels held a preseason scrimmage on the turf at Centre College’s Farris Stadium, but their field will be ready in plenty of time for their home opener Sept. 17 against Mercer County. In fact, it’s expected to be ready for the Boyle soccer teams, which will once again share the facility with the football team, beginning next week.
- Mercer County will play almost as many games as Boyle on turf, as the Titans will play four of their first five games on fake grass, including their bowl game Saturday at Campbellsville, two games in Lexington and the game at Boyle.
- Garrard County has opened a new school, but football fans will be watching the Golden Lions at the same address where they’ve played since the 1960s. Dyehouse Stadium, which sits on the campus of what is now Garrard Middle School, will continue to host Garrard games and practices for the next few years.
- Casey County games weren’t broadcast on local radio last season, but they will be broadcast online for the first time this season. The games can be heard on www.radiolibertyky.com, an Internet-only station that recently went online. Former Casey County running back Doug Tarter will do play-by-play, and former Casey County News sports writer and fellow Cincinnati Reds diehard Jeff Bastin will handle color for the games each week.
- Other area teams will be broadcast on the same outlets where they have been for the last few years: Boyle County, WRNZ-FM (105.1) and hometownlive.net; Danville, WHIR-AM (1230) and hometownlive.net; Garrard County, WRNZ-FM (105.1) and hometownlive.net (Garrard games are delayed on radio until about 10 p.m. when they conflict with a Boyle game, but they’re still live online); Lincoln County, WPBK-FM (102.9) and wpbkfm.com; Mercer County, WHBN-AM (1420) and hometownlive.net.
- The area’s two bowl doubleheaders will be played next week. Lincoln County’s Death Valley Bowl is Aug. 24 (Rowan County vs. Lincoln, East Jessamine vs. Garrard County), and Danville will host the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic on Aug. 25 (Franklin County vs. Boyle County, Rockcastle County vs. Danville).
- Former Boyle quarterback Brandon Smith is back in high school football, nearly six years after ending a stellar playing career. Smith is an assistant coach at South Warren, a Warren County school that opened this month and will play a junior varsity scheduled this season before going varsity in 2011.
- South Warren is one of two new schools you’ll see on score lists this fall. The other is Collins, a new Shelby County school named for former Gov. Martha Layne Collins. Splitting Shelby County, which was previously in Class 6A, left the county with two 4A schools.
Finally, I’ll kick off my season with my predictions for week one:
- Anderson County over Garrard County.
- Boyle County over Johnson Central.
- Casey County over Caverna.
- Mason County over Danville.
- LaRue County over Mercer County (Saturday).