Friday football digest, week 6

Barring an off-the-charts upset, there will be only three games that matter in District 4A-5 this season, and the first of those games comes tonight when Mercer County visits Lexington Catholic.

That number is up from one, because the Boyle County-Lexington Catholic game is the only one that has been of any great importance — or great doubt — in this district recently. The improvement of Mercer and the fact that the Titans went toe to toe with the Knights last season means that you can’t count the Titans out of games against Lexington Catholic or Boyle, though they won’t be favored to win either one.

That they are in the conversation is a step in the right direction, but back-to-back losses — albeit to good teams — leave the Titans in an unpleasant position as they head to Lexington tonight. They are also hampered by the fact that their defense is giving up points in bunches, but that has been a problem for their opponent as well. Even in its wins, Lexington Catholic is getting scored upon at about the same rate as Mercer.

In fact, Lexington Catholic and Mercer are first and tied for second among teams with winning records that have allowed the most points so far this season. Lexington Catholic has given up 174 points (34.8 per game), while Mercer and Pikeville have each allowed 163 (32.6 per game). Any other team in Kentucky that has allowed at least that many points is at .500 or worse.

While the Titans and Knights slug it out in Lexington, Boyle opens its district schedule with a Taylor County team it has dominated in six meetings over the last 10 years. Taylor has put together a winning streak against a weak schedule, but don’t expect things to change tonight.

Danville returns to action after an open date with an important non-district game against Green County. The Admirals don’t necessarily have to win this game to save their season, but if they get blown out for a third straight game, it’ll be a sign that things are bad and getting worse.

Lincoln County steps back up in class for its District 5A-7 opener at Pulaski County, one of the top teams in 5A. The Patriots’ district looks pretty well balanced from positions two through six, but Pulaski is head and shoulders above the field.

Garrard County opens its 3A-5 schedule at home against a Bath County team it couldn’t beat last year. The Golden Lions will have four other district games, but they need this win if they want to make a run at first or second place.

Casey County looks like a good bet to get its first win — and effectively clinch a playoff berth — in its 3A-4 opener against McCreary Central, which had scored only six points in five games.

Here are the week 6 picks:

  • Boyle County over Taylor County
  • Casey County over McCreary Central
  • Garrard County over Bath County
  • Green County over Danville
  • Lexington Catholic over Mercer County
  • Pulaski County over Lincoln County

Last week: 3-0; season: 18-3 (.857).

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Say good-bye to contact in July

The KHSAA’s annual meeting last week, where delegates from every school meet to vote on by-law changes, had an unusually low number of proposals and little controversy this year, but one measure that was proposed and passed will bring a change to football practice schedules.

The proposal effectively takes all practice contact out of the month of July in a move designed to bring KHSAA rules into line with recommendations of groups such as the National Athletic Trainers Association regarding preseason practices in hot weather.

The changes set the start of practice and the start of contact practice at the same time, rather than tying those dates to the start of school in local districts. In the KHSAA’s view, it also gives the association and its member schools some say-so about making scheduling changes rather than having them forced upon them by outside groups such as legislators and sports medicine groups.

Here are the basics:

  • Non-contact activities such as seven-on-seven competitions may begin any time following the dead period, which ends July 9.
  • The first organized practice in helmets only will be no earlier than July 22. The first three days of practices will be in helmets only, followed by three days in helmets and shoulder pads. In the latter practices, players’ only contact must be with sleds and dummies.
  • Practice in pads cannot begin before Aug. 1. After contact practices begin, teams may not hold two-a-days or three-a-days on consecutive days.

Another part of the proposal would have also returned KHSAA football to a 10-game, 10-week schedule, eliminating the bye week, but that section was struck by an amendment. Teams may continue to play in the KHSAA’s so-called week zero, effectively giving them 11 weeks to play 10 games.

That means there will be about three weeks — give or take a couple of days depending on the calendar — between the start of practice in pads and the first games. Next year, for example, opening night will be on Aug. 22, which is 21 days after contact practices may begin. Based on last season’s opening night, Aug. 17, that number could be as low as 16 days.

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Friday football finals, week 5

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

  • Anderson County 55, Mercer County 21
  • Boyle County 34, George Rogers Clark 17
  • Lincoln County 35, Casey County 13

Danville and Garrard County are off this week.

And next Friday’s area games:

  • McCreary Central at Casey County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Green County at Danville, 7:30 p.m.
  • Bath County at Garrard County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Mercer County at Lexington Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln County at Pulaski County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Boyle County at Taylor County, 7:30 p.m.
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Friday football digest, week 5

It’s a light week on the local football front, with only four Advocate-area teams playing in three games.

Casey County will look for its first win of the season and its first win in 13 tries against visiting Lincoln County, which hasn’t played in Liberty since 2003 and which comes to town on an uptick with two straight wins.

Mercer County will try to bounce back from its first loss in a tough assignment at Anderson County, which also lost for the first time last week. Anderson has won four straight meetings in the series since it was resumed in 2009.

And Boyle County will try to beat a team from a higher classification for the third time this season when it travels to George Rogers Clark, a 6A team with a dismal defense.

That’s it. That’s all we’ve got. Danville and Garrard County are off this week.Here are the week 5 picks:

  • Anderson County over Mercer County
  • Boyle County over George Rogers Clark
  • Lincoln County over Casey County

Last week: 2-2; season: 15-3 (.833).

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Friday football finals, week 4

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

  • Boyle County 30, Anderson County 27
  • Central Hardin 48, Mercer County 27
  • Corbin 55, Danville 7
  • Lincoln County 27, Garrard County 25

Casey County is off this week.And next Friday’s area games:

  • Lincoln County at Casey County, 7 p.m.
  • Mercer County at Anderson County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Boyle County at George Rogers Clark, 7:30 p.m.

Danville and Garrard County are off next week.

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Danville headed to All ‘A’ volleyball tourney

The Danville volleyball team will play in the statewide All “A” Classic for the first time Saturday at Mid-America Volleyball Center in Jeffersontown.

This has been a season of firsts for Danville under coach Judie Mason, the longtime girls basketball coach who is coaching volleyball for the first time. The Lady Admirals won their first All “A” regional title a couple of weeks ago, and this weekend they could become the first Danville team to win eight or more matches in a season, even though the season isn’t halfway over yet.

Danville matched the school record for victories by beating Boyle County on Thursday night for its seventh win in 12 matches to date.

The 16-team  All “A” Classic is divided into four pools with four teams each. Danville’s pool-play matches are against defending champion St. Henry at 9 a.m., Whitefield at 11:30 a.m. and Caldwell County at 1:30 p.m.

The first- and second-place teams in each pool will advance to an eight-team championship bracket, while the other two will play in a consolation bracket. Play in both brackets begins at 3 p.m.

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Friday football digest, week 4

Two battles between undefeated teams, one local rivalry and one inter-sectional rivalry make up a pretty good night on the local high school football schedule.

Start with the matchup between Boyle County and an Anderson County team that has gotten better and better in recent years. The game at Boyle will be the toughest test yet for the young-but-better-than-we-thought-they-were Rebels, but it will also be the toughest test for the visiting Bearcats, whose early-season schedule has included wins over George Rogers Clark and South Oldham and an open date.

To the north, Mercer County hosts Central Hardin in the Titans’ home opener and a battle of 3-0 teams. This Class 6A opponent will also be a tough test for Mercer, though the Bruins’ schedule is also suspect, as they have wins over North Hardin, Grayson County and Madisonville-North Hopkins.

To the south, Garrard County and Lincoln County renew a rivalry that host Lincoln has owned for the past several years. The Patriots have won every annual game but one against the Golden Lions since 2005, and even they might be at a loss to explain why. What is easier to explain, however, is why both teams need this win very badly: The loser will fall to 1-3.

Much farther south, old rivals Danville and Corbin get together for the third straight year. This is a game worth playing because of the football histories of each school and because of their collective history. They haven’t played all that many games against each other, but there have been many memorable ones in a series that dates to at least 1935.

Casey County is off this week.

Here are the week 4 picks, as I try to bounce back from my first loss in three weeks (but congratulations to Lincoln on a win it needed):

  • Boyle County over Anderson County
  • Danville over Corbin
  • Lincoln County over Garrard County
  • Mercer County over Central Hardin

Last week: 4-1; season: 13-1 (.929).

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Friday football finals, week 3

Here are Friday night’s final scores from around the Advoplex:

  • Boyle County 41, Danville 7
  • Lincoln County 22, Lexington Christian 21
  • Mercer County 33, West Jessamine 20
  • Russell County 40, Casey County 6
  • Wayne County 42, Garrard County 15

And next Friday’s area games:

  • Anderson County at Boyle County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Danville at Corbin,  7:30 p.m.
  • Garrard County at Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
  • Central Hardin at Mercer County, 7:30 p.m.

Casey County is off next week.

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Friday football digest, week 3

Football games don’t come much bigger than this around here, at least not unless one of the local teams reaches the state finals. (And sometimes not even then.)

The annual Boyle County-Danville game draws the largest crowd of any area sporting event each year, and it’s probably one of the two or three biggest gatherings of people in one place at one time at any event, sports or otherwise.

And the venerable series has gotten a shot in the arm, thanks to Danville’s 28-21, come-from-behind victory last season, which ended a string of four straight Boyle wins in the series that weren’t terribly close.

It’s hard to imagine that tonight’s game at Admiral Stadium could be any more exciting than last year’s tussle, but there is every reason to believe it could be another good ballgame. I’ll go with the crowd and call the Rebels the favorites once again, but there are enough athletes on the Admirals’ side and enough questions on both sides to leave the outcome in doubt.

Consider this: Two of the three players who scored touchdowns for Danville in last year’s game are back (Jawan Grey and Ray Bradshaw have returned; Devonta Alcorn graduated), while all three players who scored touchdowns for Boyle (Casey Whittle, Blake Mason and Lloyd Hall) have moved on. What does that mean, maybe not much, but it’s one more thing worth considering on your way to the stadium.

While the biggest crowd is heading to Danville, the games go on at other venues, too. There’s a compelling game in Nicholasville, for instance, where Mercer County will try to improve to 3-0 for the first time since its 2006 championship season against a much-improved West Jessamine club.

Elsewhere, Casey County will restart its rivalry with Russell County at home, Lincoln County heads to Lexington Christian in search of its first win and Garrard County will host a talented Wayne County team that played its most recent game only four nights ago.

Here, then, are the week 3 picks:

  • Boyle County over Danville
  • Lexington Christian over Lincoln County
  • Mercer County over West Jessamine
  • Russell County over Casey County
  • Wayne County over Garrard County

Last week: 5-0; season: 9-0 (1.000).

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Lincoln loses assistant football coach in motorcycle accident

Mickey Goodwin, an assistant football coach at Lincoln County, died Friday in a traffic accident on U.S. 27 near Lancaster.

The Patriots elected to play their game Friday night against Bourbon County in Boyle County’s PBK Rebel Bowl as scheduled — although surely with heavy hearts — after family members told them Goodwin would have wanted them to play on.

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