How about some facts and figures from this year’s opening round of the football playoffs, aka The Least Interesting Friday in Kentucky High School Sports?
▪ All but 11 of the 93 games played in the first round were decided by more than 14 points. Seven of those games were extra-competitive, being decided by seven points or fewer.
Tates Creek emerged victorious in one of the single-digit finishes, staving off a Boone County rally on the road, 34-27. This week the Commodores head to Lafayette, which defeated them 50-28 in the regular season. Creek quarterback Cameron Workman was injured on the opening drive of that game and did not return. The junior was 20-of-30 for 255 yards and four TDs last week.
Lafayette’s 39-16 finish over Butler was its ninth double-digit win in 11 games, three more than at this point last season.
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▪ Forty-three contests ended with scores that qualified for a running clock (a margin of 36 or more points). Twenty of those games were decided by at least 50 points.
Lexington Catholic’s and Lexington Christian’s games didn’t end as game-quickening finals but both started the second half with leads that gave the clock operator a break. The Knights led Waggener 42-6 en route to a 55-22 week while LCA had a 56-6 edge over Shelby Valley which gave way to a 56-26 final.
On paper, this week’s opponents should make for more compelling bouts. Bardstown, whose only loss this season was to district rival Central, 21-19, brings the third-highest scoring offense in Class 3A to Lexington Catholic.
Somerset, which was either in or on the fringe of the media top 10 all season, took a 21-19 lead into the fourth quarter against LCA at home last month before the Eagles scored 22 fourth-quarter points on their way to a 41-28 win.
▪ Twelve games ended in shutouts, five of them occurring in Class 2A and none in Class A.
▪ Seventy of the 186 teams that played games last week — about 38 percent — had losing records. Ten of those teams — Allen County-Scottsville, Bell County, Campbell County, Campbellsville, Crittenden County, Eastern, Frankfort, Murray, Pike County Central and Washington County — advanced to the second round.
Surprisingly, six of them beat teams with winning records to do so. There’s a little fuel for the fire of fans who like the first round (they’re out there, believe it or not).
▪ This observer would be just fine if the first round of the football playoffs — along with the district tournaments in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball — went the way of the dodo. Advance the top two seeds from each district in football and send the top two district finishers in other sports on to the regional tournament. Make the regular season really matter.
More first-round notes
▪ Junior quarterback Ben VanHook set single-game school records for passing yards, attempts and completions in Harrison County’s first-round loss to Greenup County last Friday. VanHook was 28-of-48 for 421 yards and two TDs. He finished with an even 1,600 yards for the season.
▪ Central Hardin’s 50-0 win over Seneca officially gave the Bruins consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2006. Central Hardin defeated Muhlenberg North 35-0 on Sept. 22, 2006, and was later awarded a 2-0 forfeit win over Iroquois in a game it originally won 24-20 on Sept. 15 of that season.
The last team Central Hardin posted back-to-back shutouts without the help of forfeiture? In 1999, when it defeated Fort Knox (42-0) and Central (27-0) in the opening weeks of September.
▪ Trinity is ranked 21st in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 national football rankings. Since rallying for a 37-34 victory over Male on Sept. 9, the Shamrocks have allowed just 23 points in seven contests, which includes five shutouts. They host Eastern, whom they defeated 56-0 on the road last month, on Friday. Eastern’s 41-7 win over North Hardin was its first in the postseason since 2012, when it reached the state semifinals.
▪ Pineville’s 69-14 win over Jenkins was its first playoff victory since 2013 and its biggest since a 57-6 win against Lynn Camp in 2014. Senior quarterback Tuck Woolum rushed for 105 yards and five TDs on six carries and was 5-for-7 for 93 yards and two TDs.
Oddly enough, it was also the Mountain Lions’ second straight game against Jenkins, whom they hosted in the final week of the regular season. They won the first game 50-22.
▪ Seth Conn had 139 yards and four TDs on 12 carries for Pike County Central in its 43-34 win over West Carter. The Hawks travel to Russell, which got a bye to the second round and has won seven straight.