City playoff games
All game times: 7:30 p.m.
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No. 7 Fairview at No. 4 Lexington Christian
Radio: WJMM-FM 99.1
Records: Fairview 11-1 (beat Williamsburg 27-20); LCA 9-3 (beat Raceland 48-8)
First time around: LCA beat Fairview 41-21 on Oct. 22, dominating both sides of the ball. LCA QB Scout McCamy ran for 152 yards and a TD, and threw for 79 yards and a TD. LCA's defense limited Fairview's ground attack to just over 100 yards.
New territory: Fairview is in the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history thanks to an efficient Wing-T offense and solid defense. The Eagles have run for 3,500 yards, led by Chris Brewer (1,062), Gary Felder (793) and Chris Littlejohn (649). Coach Nathan McPeek said his defense has been the key to Fairview's success, giving up only 134 points in 12 games. "We played our worst game all year against LCA," McPeek said.
On the upswing: LCA Coach Ray Graham said he "couldn't be more pleased with how his kids have focused and improved." In a loss to Corbin in their regular-season finale, the Eagles had a slew of penalties, but they've played crisp, clean football since then. While Scout McCamy has come on strong to lead the offense (he's thrown for 1,778 yards and 22 TDs, and run for 836 yards and 7 TDs), LCA's defense, led by Max Barjuca and Neil Whitman, has been a rock all year. "I couldn't be a happier coach with how we're playing," Graham said. LCA will welcome the return of senior lineman and UK recruit Zach West, who sat out the last three games with a bone spur.
Playoff picture: The LCA-Fairview winner takes on the Hazard-Pikeville winner next week.
No. 8 Lafayette at No. 6 Scott County
Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5
Records: Lafayette 7-5 (beat Meade County 21-20 in OT); Scott County 9-3 (beat Central Hardin 35-7)
First time around: Scott County beat Lafayette 47-20 for the district title on Oct. 22. The Cardinals returned a blocked punt for a TD to take an early lead, then relied on a balanced offense (249 yards running, 188 passing) to gouge the Generals.
Slow start, fast finish: Scott County lost its first three games this year, the program's first 0-3 start since before Jim McKee arrived as coach. Since then, the Cards have run off nine consecutive victories. What did McKee tell his players when they were winless in early September? "I remember saying, 'Hey, if the toughest thing you ever have to face in your life is an 0-3 start to a high school football season, let me sign up for that,' " McKee said. He figured it would take time for Scott County to mesh, considering he had a new QB (Ben Lawler) and had to replace 8 of 9 spots on the offensive and defensive lines. Lawler has found his niche, and veteran backs Marcus Hill and Josh Walls are chewing up yardage. Blake Irvin and Jordan Kindred have been standouts at defensive end.
Bruisin' Bubba: Since Lafayette moved Bubba Johnson to H-back (power back/tight end), he's been a monster. He's pushed his season totals to 1,093 yards and 15 TDs rushing, and 20 catches for 156 receiving yards. Johnson is also the Generals' fourth-leading tackler.
Playoff picture: The Lafayette-Scott County winner hosts the Male-Henderson County winner in the semifinals next week.
No. 6 Lexington Catholic at No. 1 Boyle County
Radio: WMJR-AM 1380
Records: Lexington Catholic 7-5 (beat West Jessamine 41-14); Boyle County 12-0 (beat East Jessamine 56-11)
First time around: Boyle County blasted LexCath 42-10 when they played on Oct. 8. The Rebels had 513 yards to LexCath's 167. Boyle County's Devon Cox ran for 136 yards and 2 TDs, and Devon Hale threw for 123 yards and 2 TDs. LexCath Coach Bill Letton said one of the keys to that game was Boyle County going 11-for-17 on third- and fourth-down conversions. "We had a chance to get them off the field, but we didn't do it," Letton said.
Streaking Rebels: Defending 4A state champ Boyle County has won 27 games in a row, and has beaten LexCath the last five times they've met. The Rebels have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Devon Cox (1,218 yards, 15 TDs) and Chris Cook (1,153 yards, 14 TDs). QB Devon Hale has thrown for 1,158 yards and 14 TDs. Mr. Football favorite Lamar Dawson leads the defense with 133 solo tackles and has contributed more than 700 yards rushing and receiving.
Slow starters: LexCath Coach Bill Letton didn't realize it until he saw a recent stat sheet that his team has been outscored almost 2-to-1 in the first half this season. That includes a 28-3 first-half hole in the loss to Boyle County. "So we've really been preaching about getting off to a good start," Letton said. Knights QB Kyle Bolin has shown steady improvement. He's thrown for 1,951 yards and 16 TDs, and run for 574 yards and 10 TDs. Adam Wachs and Anthony Kersey lead the defense in tackles.
Playoff picture: The LexCath-Boyle County winner plays the Bell County-Knox Central winner next week.
Top state games
Highlands at Johnson Central (5A): Can Johnson Central star J.J. Jude find running room against defending champ Bluebirds?
Prestonsburg at Corbin (2A): Blackcats beat Corbin 23-7 in last year's playoffs.
Somerset at Breathitt County (3A): Briar Jumpers have won 26 of last 27 games by average score of 44-12.
AROUND THE STATE
Catching on quickly
Tanner Napier hadn't played football since middle school when he decided to give the game another go as a senior at Lafayette this year. A 6-foot-4 wide receiver, Napier wanted to team up with a longtime buddy, Generals quarterback Matt Britt.
"I really didn't know what to expect," Napier said.
He surely didn't expect this: Napier was named player of the year in Class 6A, District 7. "Definitely surprised. I knew I could catch the ball, but I had no idea it'd turn out like this."
Napier, better known as a three-point shooter for Lafayette's basketball team, has 51 receptions for 879 yards and nine touchdowns. He's also caught the notice of college scouts, which means he may have to choose between football or basketball at the next level.
Lafayette first-year coach Carl Hayden was named 6A District 7 coach of the year. Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson and junior QB Vinny Miller took honors in 6A District 8. Lexington Christian first-year coach Ray Graham and senior lineman Zach West were the top coach and player in 1A District 5.
Trinity vs. St. X
They own 31 state titles between them, so the Shamrocks and Tigers would prefer to slug it out in the Class 6A finals as they've done four times in the last seven years. But the KHSAA shuffled the bracket so they meet in Friday's third round. Trinity is a solid favorite considering it blasted St. X 48-0 on Oct. 1.
This will be the 71st game between the archrivals, and the 16th time they've clashed in the playoffs. Trinity has an 8-7 edge in the post-season.
St. X leads the all-time series 36-32-2.
Dave Cantrall's Rating the State
Rankings for schools remaining in the playoffs:
1. Mayfield (12-0) 76.6
2. Beechwood (9-3) 70.6
3. Hazard (12-0) 67.9
4. Lexington Christian (9-3)61.7
5. Lou. Holy Cross (11-1) 61.0
6. Frankfort (9-3) 54.2
7. Fairview (11-1) 49.0
8. Pikeville (8-4) 44.9
1. Newport Catholic (10-2) 76.6
2. Murray (12-0) 69.1
3. Danville (9-3) 68.5
4. Owensboro Cath. (11-1) 67.2
5. Cov. Holy Cross (7-5) 64.6
6. Corbin (10-2) 62.8
7. Prestonsburg (10-2) 60.5
8. Monroe Co. (8-4) 54.8
1. Somerset (12-0) 73.0
2. Paducah Tilghman (10-2) 66.3
3. Central (6-6) 64.5
4. Belfry (8-4) 64.4
5. Breathitt Co. (8-4) 51.8
6. Russellville (9-3) 48.1
7. Russell (7-5) 43.3
8. North Oldham (8-4) 42.9CLASS 4A
1. Boyle Co. (12-0) 87.5
2. Bell Co. (12-0) 87.1
3. Allen Co. (11-0) 72.2
3. Lone Oak (11-1) 72.2
5. Knox Central (10-2) 71.9
6. Lexington Catholic (7-5) 71.8
7. Collins (11-1) 71.5
8. Western (9-3) 69.7
1. Highlands (11-1) 90.8
2. John Hardin (12-0) 86.3
3. Christian Co. (10-2) 83.2
4. Johnson Central (10-2) 81.6
5. Warren Central (10-2) 80.6
6. Pulaski Co. (11-1) 74.1
7. Harlan Co. (10-2) 73.0
8. Anderson Co. (9-3) 64.5
1. Trinity (11-1) 99.6
2. St. Xavier (10-2) 91.2
3. Ryle (11-1) 89.2
4. Simon Kenton (10-2) 86.8
5. Male (9-3) 84.8
6. Scott Co. (9-3) 84.5
7. Henderson Co. (9-2) 78.5
8. Lafayette (7-5) 68.8