All game times 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted:
Bryan Station at Montgomery County
Records: Bryan Station 2-3 (lost to Lafayette 14-12 last week); Montgomery County 2-4 (beat Paris 20-8)
Rankings: Bryan Station is No. 12 and Montgomery County is No. 28 in Class 5A. ‘D’ in Defenders: Bryan Station’s defense was outstanding against Lafayette. It allowed only 116 yards and forced five turnovers. Earl McCann and Kris Bolton each recorded 11 tackles. On the season Bryan Station is allowing 208 yards per game.
Oh-so-close: If Bryan Station had avoided a few late-game mistakes, it could be 5-0. That’s a big “if,” but it also shows what kind of talent and potential the Defenders have.
County sweep: Montgomery County’s two wins have come against Bourbon County and Paris. Tyler Cundiff and Ryan Hackworth have combined for 700 yards rushing for the Indians, who have an open date next week before visiting powerhouse Johnson Central.
Key to victory: If Bryan Station sophomore QB Brady Boling continues to show improvement in his passing, RB Patrick Cornett will get more running room. That could spell trouble for Montgomery County.
Lafayette at Tates Creek
Records: Lafayette 4-2 (beat Bryan Station 14-12); Tates Creek 2-3 (did not play last week)
Rankings: Lafayette is No. 14 and Tates Creek is No. 28 in Class 6A.
Radio: WLAP-AM 630
Rivalry turnaround: In 2002, Mike Harmon’s second year as Lafayette coach, the Generals ended a six-year losing streak to Tates Creek and went on to beat the Commodores five out of six times. Harmon is now in his first year coaching Tates Creek and looking to reverse the trend he started at Lafayette.
Comeback Generals: Lafayette rallied from a 12-0 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to beat Bryan Station last week. Keenan Green’s 77-yard kickoff return got things going, but it was Lafayette’s defense that made the difference by forcing two turnovers in the last two minutes.
Passing time: Traditionally a run-first team, Tates Creek has more yards passing (728) than rushing (617). The Commodores probably haven’t thrown this much since All-State QB Scott Etter passed for 3,000 yards and 31 TDs in 1986 and ’87.
Key to victory: Tates Creek has to contain Lafayette’s speed guys, particularly Eric Shaw and Keenan Green. They can burn you as runners, receivers and kick returners.
Lexington Catholic at East Jessamine
Records: Lexington Catholic 3-3 (beat Harrison County 61-7); East Jessamine 3-2 (lost to Western Hills 21-20)
Rankings: Lexington Catholic is No. 1 and East Jessamine is No. 20 in Class 4A. East edged: East Jessamine had beaten Western Hills six times in a row before the Wolverines pulled out a win in the closing minutes last week. Jaguars QB Zac Cantrell had a solid game, throwing two TD passes and running for another score.
Catching on: Will Letton and Daniel Vogelsang are key receivers for Lexington Catholic as they showed last week. Each had two TD catches, and they combined for 159 receiving yards.
One foot forward: Lexington Catholic’s Lane Pumphrey has kicked four field goals this year, giving him 16 in his career. He’s also booted 80 of 85 extra points. He’s not just an accurate toe. He starts at defensive back and is the Knights’ fifth-leading tackler.
Key to victory: The Knights limited Harrison County to minus-38 yards on the ground last week. If they get that kind of defensive effort again, East Jessamine could be in for a long night.
Nicholas County at Lexington Christian
Records: Nicholas County 1-4 (lost to Bourbon County 14-6); LCA 4-2 (lost to Corbin 48-34)
Rankings: Nicholas County is No. 29 and LCA is No. 2 in Class A.
Radio: WJMM-FM 99.1
History of mismatches: LCA has beaten the Bluejackets six times in a row by an average score of 55-12, including a 62-19 playoff win last year.
Good news/bad news: LCA’s offense had 484 yards against Corbin last week, led by Domonique Hayden, who rushed for 301 yards and four TDs. But LCA’s defense surrendered 514 yards, and Corbin’s Caleb Watkins ran for 330 yards and four TDs in the Redhounds’ victory.
Pick-off man: LCA junior Drew Walls, who had 11 interceptions last season, has three picks this season and is tied for second on the team with 27 tackles.
Key to victory: The Eagles, who appear to have Nicholas County outmanned, need to stay healthy before heading to Breathitt County next week.
Paul Dunbar at Henry Clay
Records: Dunbar 1-4 (beat Southwestern 29-27); Henry Clay 1-4 (beat Clark County 40-13)
Rankings: Dunbar is No. 32 and Henry Clay is No. 8 in Class 6A.
Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5
Balance due: Dunbar is starting to show some offensive variety behind the running of Steven Willis, who carried 25 times for 139 yards against Southwestern, the passing of Trent Martin, who has thrown for 686 yards, and the receiving of Martaveous Mays and Kendall Davis, who have combined for 35 catches and 420 yards.
Eruption zone: Henry Clay rang up 27 points in the fourth quarter against Clark County last week. That’s only six fewer points than the Blue Devils have scored in the other three quarters combined this season. RB Tyler Hooker sparked the Henry Clay surge.
Advantage, Devils: Henry Clay has beaten Dunbar twice in two of the last three years, including playoff wins in 2007 and 2004.
Key to victory: Both teams got their first victories of the season last week. Whoever plays better defense will make it two wins in a row.
Top state game
Prestonsburg at Beechwood, Saturday, 4 p.m.: Unbeaten 2A Blackcats visit unbeaten 1A Tigers.
AROUND THE STATE
On-target QB: Woodford County's Steven Duckworth tied the state record for completions when he hit on 40 of 49 passes for 416 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-14 victory over Franklin County last week. "If I'd known he needed just one more to break the record, I would have had him get it," Yellowjackets Coach Chris Tracy said. (Stephen Sizemore of Hazard set the record when he connected on 40 of 59 passes against Jenkins in 2000.)
"(Duckworth) doesn't get a lot of press because of his size (5-foot-10, 175 pounds)," Tracy said. "But he is by far one of the better quarterbacks in Central Kentucky He's quick, smart, a good athlete and makes good decisions."
Duckworth threw for 2,324 yards and 19 TDs last year and ran for 712 yards and five TDs. He has passed for 1,344 yards and 14 TDs this season but hasn't run as much. His top receivers include Chris Brown, Bobby Neal and Steven Peavler.
Brown University, Centre and Hanover are among the schools showing interest in Duckworth, who also plays defensive back.
Passing Couch: Clay County quarterback Zach Lewis is expected to break Tim Couch's state career record for passing yardage Friday night. Lewis threw for 316 yards in a loss to Middlesboro last week. That pushed his four-year total to 12,098, only 69 shy of Couch's mark of 12,167.