10 predictions for the 2013 season
1. Drew Houliston, who has waited patiently behind Patrick Towles and Donovan McCoy to get his chance to quarterback Highlands, will put up big, big, numbers for the Bluebirds.
2. Belfry Coach Philip Haywood will describe his team as "a work in progress" all the way to the 3A state finals (again).
3. Conner quarterback and UK commit Drew Barker doesn't let a freak injury — strained Twitter-thumb ligaments — affect his passing.
4. The Environmental Protection Agency conducts a study to see if there is something in the water in Warren County that helps grow really good football players. (Check out the talent at Bowling Green, Greenwood, South Warren, Warren East and Warren Central.)
5. By the end of the season more Kentucky high school football coaches will have met UK offensive coordinator (and indefatigable recruiter) Neal Brown than their own superintendent.
6. There will be at least a 60-degree difference in temperature from when the season kicks off Friday night and when the state finals wrap up in brrrrrrr Bowling Green on Dec. 6-7.
7. The United States Geological Survey mistakenly issues an earthquake report after John Hardin's 6-foot-6, 355-pound defensive tackle Matt Elam and Highlands' 6-4, 300-pound offensive tackle Scottie Turner knock each other down when their teams face off on Sept. 14.
8. McCracken County, a new school created by the consolidation of Heath, Lone Oak and Reidland, plays the toughest schedule ever for a first-year team. The Class 6A Mustangs, coached by Jack Haskins (formerly with Lone Oak), play Paducah Tilghman and Mayfield to start the season, and also tackle Fort Campbell, Henderson County and Christian County in their debut season.
9. Radio color men have fun when Owensboro linebacker Logan Blue goes up against Bowling Green running back Blue Tisdale when the teams meet on Sept. 13.
10. Highlands and Trinity each win their 23rd state title, then immediately start working toward No. 24.
The number of Twitter followers for some top players:
11,866: Drew Barker (Conner)
6,451: Matt Elam (John Hardin)
4,965: Damien Harris (Madison Southern)
2,617: Reggie Bonnafon (Trinity)
2,235: Nacarius Fant (Bowling Green)
1,152: Adrian Middleton (South Warren)
786: Eli Brown (Warren East)
711: Lloyd Tubman (Seneca)
559: Reese Ryan (Lexington Catholic)
A dandy dozen circle-the-date games
■ Central at Lafayette, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m. — A rare opportunity for local fans to see Central's 3A dynasty (five state titles in six years).
■ Belfry at Harlan County, Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. — Smash-mouth, slobber-knocker showdown between mountain powers.
■ Bowling Green at St. Xavier, Sept. 6, 8 p.m. — The Purples, who have beaten St. X the last two years, go for an astounding three-peat.
■ Madison Southern at Madison Central, Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. — Madison Southern junior running back and Michigan commit Damien Harris faces the toughest defense he'll see in the regular season.
■ Mayfield at Paducah Tilghman, Sept. 7, 8 p.m. — This will mark the 100th time these Western Kentucky rivals have met. Mayfield has won the last seven years and leads the series 49-40-10.
■ Highlands at John Hardin, Sept. 14, 6 p.m. — Two teams that almost never lose in the regular season square off in a Saturday showdown.
■ Highlands at Covington Catholic, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. — Northern Kentucky archrivals clash in a Saturday matinee.
■ St. Xavier vs. Trinity, Oct. 4, 8 p.m. at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium — Can new St. X Coach Will Wolford turn the tide against Trinity?
■ Lexington Catholic at Boyle County, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. — This battle between 4A powers is always a treat.
■ Conner at Covington Catholic, Nov. 2, 1 p.m. — Conner QB and UK commit Drew Barker goes against one of the best defenses in the state in a Saturday afternoon headliner.
■ Mayfield at Caldwell County, Nov. 1, 8 p.m. — Caldwell County quarterback Elijah Sindelar gets tested by defending champ Cards.
■ Newport Central Catholic at Beechwood, Nov. 2, noon — Bragging rights game between 2A contender NewCath and Class A contender Beechwood.
Winningest programs since 2000
1. Trinity 167-22
2. Highlands 162-24
3. Boyle County 153-29
4. Mayfield 148-38
5. Newport Central Catholic 147-38
6. Bowling Green 145-29
6. St. Xavier 145-31
8. Belfry 144-38
9. Beechwood 143-37
10. Bell County 138-30
Winningest programs of all time
1. Highlands 842
2. Male 821
3. Mayfield 804
4. Paducah Tilghman 742
5. Danville 728
6. St. Xavier 716
7. Owensboro 691
8. Somerset 657
9. Ashland 645
10. Manual 636
Coaching win leaders
x-Philip Haywood, Belfry (38 years), 362-124
Bob Schneider, Newport Catholic (44), 345-183-2
Dudley Hilton, Bell County (35), 345-101
Mike Glaser, St. Xavier (31), 336-78
Sam Harp, Danville (32), 326-106
Bob Redman, Male (35), 317-115
x-Ivan McGlone, Russell (37), 309-146
Joe Jaggers, North Hardin (33), 292-105-3
Mojo Hollowell, Owensboro Catholic (38), 285-158-6
x-Tom Larkey, Harlan County (32), 282-103
x-denotes active coach.