Let’s crunch some numbers involving the state football finals ...
▪ Every championship game last week was more poorly attended than its counterpart from a season ago. Overall attendance was down 22.6 percent, from 44,022 in 2015 to 34,052 this year. Last year’s total figure was up 4.9 percent from the year before (41,937), putting the drop from 2014 to 2016 at 18.8 percent.
This year’s games were the worst-attended since 2013, when only 24,188 people made it to Bowling Green thanks to a snowstorm that swept through the state. It was the second-lowest attended set of finals since football moved from four to six classes and the fourth-lowest this century
▪ Overall attendance fell 26.9 percent from 2007, the first year of six-class football, to last weekend. Interestingly, the games experienced a similar drop from 2007 to 2008 before rebounding.
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▪ The finals record for total attendance was set in 2010 when 47,759 watched Boyle County, Central, Highlands, Mayfield, Newport Central Catholic and Trinity take home state titles. Boyle County’s 21-14 win over Allen County-Scottsville in the Class 4A game set an attendance record for a championship played between schools not in the largest division and was the seventh-best attended title game in state history.
▪ Trinity-Lafayette had the biggest crowd this year (7,253). It was the third-smallest crowd for a Class 6A championship, besting the snowstorm season and the 2011 finals between Trinity and Scott County.
▪ Lafayette and Trinity combined for 31 penalties; the other 10 teams competing last weekend combined for 62. Trinity was flagged 17 times, matching the amount tossed in the Belfry-Central game, which featured the second-most infractions.
▪ The biggest single-game attendance drop from 2015 to 2016 was Class 3A, which had only 4,685 people turn out for the fifth edition of Belfry vs. Central. Last year’s finals between Belfry and Lexington Catholic drew a crowd of 7,755.
▪ Lafayette piled up 6,822 yards of total offense this season, the 12th most in state history for a single season. The Generals passed the 1999 Bryan Station team, which also fell in the state finals, as the top Lexington squad on the list.
▪ Belfry junior Derek Wellman finished with 195 yards on 26 carries to finish as the weekend’s rushing leader. U’kari Baker, a Central sophomore, had 187 yards on seven catches to end as the week’s top receiver. Baker also ended up leading all players in all-purpose yardage, finishing with 296 thanks to 109 yards on kick returns.
KHSAA football finals attendance in the 21st century
2013: 24,188 (statewide snowstorm)
2009: 37,339 (first year in Bowling Green)
2007: 46,620 (first year with six classes)