Class 2A: Mayfield vs. Newport Central Catholic
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST Sunday at Western Kentucky University’s L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green
Cantrall Ratings: Mayfield 81.9, Newport Central Catholic 67.4
Final AP ranking: Mayfield No. 1, Newport Central Catholic No. 10
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Previous championship appearances (record): Mayfield 20 (11-9), Newport Central Catholic 13 (5-8)
Quick hit: These two have met three times before in the state finals. Mayfield took the first two games, 18-8 and 21-20 in overtime, in 1985 and 1986. Nearly 20 years later in 2005, Newport Central Catholic walked away with a 42-7 win. This makes seven straight finals for the Cardinals, who are back in Class 2A and could win their fourth in a row. It’s the fourth straight trip for the Thoroughbreds.
Mayfield leaders: Trajon Bright (1,362 rushing yards with 13 TDs; four TD receptions; 10 tackles; one fumble recovery), Landon Arnett (2,514 passing yards with 36 TDs/15 interceptions), Lane Kennemore (815 receiving yards with 14 TDs), Kevin Caldwell (630 receiving yards with eight TDs; one fumble returned for a TD), Kyle Hurt (99 tackles), Kincer Arnett (98 tackles), Nick Workman (five interceptions; 77 tackles)
4 The number of teams that have won four or more consecutive titles: Trinity (4 from 2005-08), Beechwood (4 from 1991-94), Boyle County (5 from 1999-03), Highlands (6 from 2007-12)
Newport Central Catholic leaders: Jacob Smith (1,469 rushing yards with 17 TDs), John Harris (694 rushing yards with 11 TDs), Patrick Henschen (1,271 passing yards with 11 TDs/11 interceptions), Erik Anderson (333 receiving yards with three TDs; six interceptions, two returned for TDs; two fumble recoveries; 39 tackles), Kobe Tallon (153 tackles), Kurtis Sutkamp (109 tackles), Maleek Lawrence (108 tackles)
21 The number of years between Newport Central Catholic’s first title in 1984 and its second in 2005.
Coach: Joe Morris
at Fort Campbell, 42-0 (W)
at Marshall County, 37-0 (W)
at Paducah Tilghman, 37-14 (W)
McCracken County, 37-31, OT (L)
Graves County, 46-14 (W)
vs. Corbin at Lindsey Wilson, 28-14 (W)
Murray, 17-7 (W)
Ballard Memorial, 49-12 (W)
at Webster County, 64-0 (W)
at Caldwell County, 25-24 (W)
Todd County Central, 41-7 (W)
Butler County, 50-0 (W)
Owensboro Catholic, 24-13 (W)
DeSales, 24-19 (W)
We’ve been very fortunate that this is our seventh in a row, but let me tell you something: they don’t get old.
Joe Morris, Mayfield football coach
Newport Central Catholic (9-5)
Coach: Dan Wagner
at Scott, 8-7 (L)
Cooper, 35-0 (L)
at Campbell County, 28-19 (W)
at Belfry, 28-10 (L)
at Harrison County, 47-7 (W)
Conner, 21-17 (L)
at Covington Holy Cross, 20-13 (W)
Lloyd Memorial, 29-26 (W)
at Newport, 48-8 (W)
at Beechwood, 31-14 (L)
vs. Gallatin County at Newport, 38-7 (W)
Covington Holy Cross, 46-15 (W)
vs. Lloyd Memorial at Newport, 41-0 (W)
vs. Danville at Newport, 15-7 (W)
We were kind of battling ourselves at the beginning of the year. Cost ourselves a lot of penalties, did stupid stuff. We were just playing our own little game. The good part is seeing them get away from that and start playing for the other guy standing next to ya. It’s almost night and day as far as coaching goes.
Dan Wagner, Newport Central Catholic football coach
Class 4A: South Warren vs. Johnson Central
Kickoff: 8 p.m. EST Sunday at Western Kentucky University’s L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green
Cantrall Ratings: South Warren 84.2, Johnson Central 76.7
Final AP ranking: South Warren No. 1, Johnson Central No. 4
Previous championship appearances (record): Neither team has ever advanced to the finals previously.
Quick hit: Spartans Coach Brandon Smith is the son of Boyle County legend Chuck Smith. South Warren lost a narrow game to Central in the Class 3A semifinals last year after advancing to the region finals the previous two years. Johnson Central bowed out four straight seasons to Highlands then three straight seasons to Covington Catholic before finally busting through for its first state championship appearance. Neither team has ever won a team title in any sport.
South Warren leaders: Kayron Namvong (1,136 rushing yards with 10 TDs), Ryder Little (1,131 passing yards with 18 TDs/10 interceptions; 786 rushing yards with 16 TDs), CJ Hayes (196 receiving yards with six TDs), Bryan Cummings (348 receiving yards with four TDs), Austin McElwain (224 receiving yards with four TDs; two fumble recoveries for TDs; 61 tackles), Devante Colton (89 tackles; one fumble returned for TD), Jacob Wilde (57 tackles; four fumble recoveries), Dimitri Bibb (four interceptions, one returned for TD; 43 tackles)
6 The number of years South Warren has been open (counting this school year).
Johnson Central leaders: Bryce Workman (1,031 passing yards with 12 TDs/five interceptions; 428 rushing yards with eight TDs; three interceptions; 21 tackles), Connor Ratliff (1,030 rushing yards with 12 TDs), Bryce Skaggs (634 rushing yards, seven TDs), Gunner Slone (333 rushing yards with nine TDs), Geordan Blanton (808 receiving yards with seven TDs; two interceptions; 52 tackles), Garrett McCloud (four interceptions; 39 tackles), Devon Patrick (76 tackles; one interception), Nathanial Wilcox (58 tackles), Blake Martin (57 tackles; one interception)
0 The number of losing seasons Johnson Central has had under Jim Matney. The Golden Eagles were 5-25 in the three years before Matney took over in 2004.
South Warren (14-0)
Coach: Brandon Smith
vs. John Hardin at WKU, 43-12 (W)
at Apollo, 42-6 (W)
Greenwood, 43-7 (W)
Central Hardin, 24-3 (W)
at North Hardin, 21-0 (W)
Franklin-Simpson, 27-0 (W)
at Warren East, 52-0 (W)
at Allen County-Scottsville, 40-7 (W)
Warren Central, 38-6 (W)
Pope John Paul II (Tenn.), 36-14 (W)
Hopkins County Central, 48-8 (W)
Allen County-Scottsville, 34-7 (W)
Franklin-Simpson, 34-7 (W)
Shelby County, 36-6 (W)
These seniors have taken a step forward every year, and for them to get this opportunity on the big stage to win a state championship is really special for them. It’s no fluke that they’ve gotten here, it didn’t happen by accident. They made it happen.
Brandon Smith, South Warren football coach
Johnson Central (12-1)
Coach: Jim Matney
at Fairland (Ohio), 41-6 (W)
at Lexington Catholic, 42-28 (W)
Harlan County, 42-0 (W)
Boyd County, 59-12 (W)
East Carter, 52-7 (W)
at Greenup County, 35-6 (W)
Rowan County, 42-6 (W)
at Ashland Blazer, 8-7 (W)
at Belfry, 41-0 (L)
Holmes, 41-0 (W)
Greenup County, 49-6 (W)
at Scott, 27-26 (W)
at Wayne County, 21-14 (W)
I think we’d only won a couple of ballgames in the four years before I got here. They were struggling and were just about to give up on football. It was nobody’s fault really, just a series of bad breaks and things. We’ve certainly rebounded and come a long way.
Jim Matney, Johnson Central football coach