Coach: Kevin Wallace (21st season)
Cantrall Rating: 91.7
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AP ranking: No. 1
How the Purples got here: Defeated Marshall County (43-14), Christian County (44-29), Owensboro (50-21) and Fern Creek (34-7).
Total championship appearances: 10 (5-4 record entering Sunday)
Stakes: Bowling Green could pick up its fifth title in the last six seasons, a run last put together by fellow Western Kentucky stronghold Mayfield from 2010-2015.
Players to watch: Justice Dingle, a linebacker who transferred from Oakland (Tenn.) and has offers from UK, Louisville and Tennessee, is among the team leaders in tackles despite missing three games this season with a wrist injury. Jamale Carothers has rushed for 1,282 yards and 23 TDs and has 773 yards and 10 TDs receiving. Clark Payne has thrown for 42 TDs and 3,562 yards while tossing just four interceptions all year.
Quick hits: Dan Haley, who coached Bowling Green to its first title in 1995 before handing the program over to Wallace, also coached Paducah Tilghman to its first state title in 1973. He also coached Bryan Station to its first finals appearance in 1969. … Bowling Green has allowed nearly as many points in the playoffs (71) as it did during the regular season (75), in which it had five shutouts.
Coach: John Hines (18th season)
Cantrall Rating: 74.5
AP ranking: No. 9
How the Maroons got here: Defeated Harlan County (14-12), Whitley County (41-28), Southwestern (41-27) and South Oldham (62-55).
Total championship appearances: 4 (1-2 record entering Sunday)
Stakes: Pulaski County seeks its second state title and its first over Bowling Green, which defeated it in the two previous finals that it didn’t win.
Players to watch: Jake Johnson, a strong Mr. Football contender, has 1,613 receiving yards and 17 TDs. He leads the state in all-time receiving yardage (5,526) and total receptions (404) and has a team-high nine interceptions, two returned for TDs. Wiley Cain, a sophomore who was tasked with filling the void left by the graduation of Riley Hall, found his footing after missing several games with a broken collarbone. He’s thrown for 24 TDs and 2,095 yards. Jacob New leads the Maroons with 541 rushing yards and seven TDs. New also has a team-high 98 solo tackles. Rickey Maxey, who’s rushed for six scores, has been in on 176 tackles this season (95 solo).
Quick hits: Johnson passed former Somerset star John Cole for the career receiving mark and could pass him for the career TDs record with a once-in-a-lifetime effort against the Purples. He’s currently second all-time with 63 TDs, six behind the record Cole set in 2007. … Trinity star James Quick, now at the University of Louisville, held the previous career receptions record with 275.
PREDICTION: Bowling Green 48, Pulaski County 28.