August 17, 2011
We are just two days away from the return of high school football. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of some of the Week 1 matchups involving teams from south central Kentucky.
Trousdale County (TN) vs. Warren Central (Fruit of the Loom Bowl) - This is a tough way to open the season for the Dragons. Trousdale County has lost just two games in the past three seasons and won back to back state titles in 2008 and 2009. The Yellow Jackets also return eight starters on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, the Dragons have several weapons to replace off of a team that nearly reached the Class 5A state semifinals, namely Cortez Barber and Demonte Smith. It has taken Warren Central a few weeks to hit its stride the past two seasons and that could be the case again this fall. The Dragons will be tough in Class 5A, but Trousdale might have the upper hand in this one.
Winner: Trousdale County
Mayfield at Greenwood (Fruit of the Loom Bowl) - Mayfield loses a lot of production from its Class A state championship team, including quarterback Luke Guhy, but it does return leading rusher Jonathon Jackson. Meanwhile, Greenwood returns its quarterback, Jeff Witthuhn. Witthuhn hit the weights in the offseason and put on some added muscle and should be very difficult to bring down this season. Last season, the Gators shot themselves in the foot with costly mistakes and missed the playoffs as a result. The Gators say those mistakes are in the past. They’ll need to be if they want to beat Mayfield. This one could go either way.
Franklin-Simpson at Monroe County - The Wildcats and Falcons enter the fall on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to skill players. Franklin-Simpson returns its leading passer, rusher, receiver (Max Bennett, Darius Wickware and Jerrell Wickware) while Monroe County must replace its leading passer, rusher, and receiver from a year ago. That will probably be the difference in this game. It could take the Falcons a couple of weeks to gel offensively. On the flip side, the Wildcats’ offense should come out firing right away.
Warren East vs. South Warren (Rafferty’s Bowl) – The Spartans will make their varsity debut on Saturday after spending one year at the junior varsity level. Most start-up programs go through some growing pains the first couple of seasons and that could be the case for South Warren. We should know in the first month if the Spartans can be competitive or are if they are still a year away. Warren East struggled to a 2-9 record last season, but the Raiders only started three seniors. They return ten seniors this fall and should have about 70 kids on the roster, good numbers for Warren East. Expect an improved squad from a year ago, and with a manageable schedule, the Raiders could be one of the surprises in 2011.
Winner: Warren East
Allen County-Scottsville vs. Bowling Green (Rafferty’s Bowl) – Dating back to last season, Allen County-Scottsville is playing its second straight game at Houchens Smith Stadium. The Patriots lost in the Class 4A state final to Boyle County last December. Many of the young men that were so vital to ACS’ success last year are gone, 18 of them to be exact. However, the Patriots bring back an even larger senior class in 2011. Head coach Brad Hood told me in camp we will know right away where ACS is as a team. He’s exactly right because the Pats open the season against the Purples followed by a trip to Boyle County in Week 2. The Purples’ roster is hovering around triple digits and 30 of those are seniors. Highlands and Owensboro, two of the strongest programs in Class 5A are now gone. The Purples are ranked number one in nearly every preseason poll. The expectations are very high at Bowling Green and they should be. 2011 is probably its best chance to win a state title in quite some time.
Winner: Bowling Green
Metcalfe County vs. Barren County (TJ Samson Bowl) – The Hornets and Trojans are meeting in the TJ Samson Bowl for the fifth straight season. The past two years have been dominated by Barren County, defeating Metcalfe County 35-0 in 2009 and 2010. The Hornets are low on numbers this year. Their roster lists only 21 players. The Trojans’ roster more than triples that number. Both teams struggled in 2010, winning just three games combined so each will be looking for something positive to being the regular season. Simply put, Barren County has more bodies and should have the edge here.
Winner: Barren County
Todd County Central at Glasgow (TJ Samson Bowl) – In 2009, you could make the case that Todd County Central was the worst team in the state. You couldn’t say that last year. First year head coach Bryan Jones turned a winless team two years ago into a four-win team in 2010. You can feel the optimism in Elkton and the Rebels strongly believe they’re headed in the right direction. The schedule toughens up a bit, however, this fall. The Rebels must play Owensboro Catholic, Union County, and Hancock County in district action, and they face Glasgow on Saturday. The Scotties are hoping to erase the bad memories of last season when they were upset in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs by Fort Knox. The team doesn’t shy away from talking about that game. Instead, the Scotties intend on learning from it and their goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen in 2011. Glasgow returns three-year starting quarterback Parker Cash and D-I prospect Hunter Bowles. Toss in skill players like Lajuan Smith and Jalen Sublett, and the Scotties should contend for a district title once again. And they should win this weekend.
Other notable games: Logan County at Butler County (Winner: Butler County), McLean County at Edmonson County (Winner: Edmonson County), Ohio County at Muhlenberg County (Winner: Muhlenberg County), Russellville at Trigg County (Winner: Trigg County)
Be sure to watch Football Friday Night on WBKO at 10:20 for highlights and scores from Week One of high school football! Plus, we will preview Saturday's matchups in the Rafferty's Bowl and TJ Samson Bowl.