We're down to the nitty gritty of high school football season: district play. Some teams got a head start on carving out position for the postseason; the rest begin their quests Friday night.
Such is the case for the districts in which Lexington teams play. Here's a primer on how things look for the city heading into the most critical part of the regular season:
■ In the big school districts, Scott County (District 7) and Lafayette (District 8) have set themselves apart as the teams to beat.
Paul Laurence Dunbar has come on of late, reeling off three straight wins. They'll face off against what Coach Paul Rains called "a murderer's row" the next four weeks — at Bryan Station, playing host to Henry Clay and Scott County before ending the season at Boyle County, which is not a district game. A win in any of those four games would be a positive step for the rebuilding Bulldogs.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Bryan Station's defense didn't stumble against Lafayette last week, but its offense did. If the Defenders are to challenge Scott County (and beat the Cardinals for a second straight season), they'll have to get back into a rhythm.
They'll also need Andre Davis to be himself again. The senior quarterback injured his throwing shoulder during last week's game and is a game-time decision for Friday, Coach Frank Parks said.
No 6A team has been as much of a quagmire as Henry Clay (3-3), which at times appears as if it can score with anyone, and then at others — like last week at Pulaski County — almost unwilling. The Blue Devils have the pieces to put a run together, but will they gel?
In the opposite district, at a glance Lafayette seems to face an easier path to district glory.
Its biggest challenger is probably Madison Central, which had a cup of coffee in the top 10 early in the season before getting manhandled by Bryan Station and Lexington Catholic in consecutive weeks. The Indians responded with a beatdown of their own, 55-0 at Woodford County, last week. The meeting between them and Lafayette on Oct. 16 will probably determine the No. 1 seed here.
"We believe if we compete and play the game the right way we will be right in the thick of things," Madison Central Coach Mark Scenters said.
Tates Creek Coach Antoine Sims said the bye week gave his team an opportunity to get healed up heading into the stretch run.
"We have our hands full," said Sims, whose team has proved capable of hanging big numbers on the scoreboard ... and giving them up. The Commodores could play spoiler if they develop a defensive identity quickly.
Clark County went 0-6 against a tough non-district slate. Before you write them off, remember this: The Cards ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak last year and with a 2-1 district record.
■ No team in its district has as many losses as does Lexington Catholic. None has played as brutal a schedule, either, so LexCath was happy to have a bye last week.
The Knights went 0-3 against Ryle (No. 10 in the state), Johnson Central (No. 17) and Cooper (No. 11). They've played the last three games without starting quarterback Legend Brumbaugh, who injured his collarbone. There's been no update on his status, LexCath Coach Mark Perry said.
"We are excited to get back out on the field," said Perry, whose team plays host to Western Hills on Friday.
■ Lexington Christian must overcome a tough Danville team whose only loss is to 3A titan Boyle County, and a Somerset squad that's quickly distanced itself from last season's winless iteration. The Eagles were flying high until a recent two-game slide.
District tournaments begin in boys' and girls' soccer next week. Here are the matchups (all times are p.m., No. 1 seeds marked) for the 42nd and 43rd Districts:
■ Boys' 42nd at Bryan Station: (1) Henry Clay vs. Scott County, 6; and Sayre vs. Bryan Station, 8 on Wednesday; championship at 8 on Thursday
■ Girls' 42nd at Bryan Station: (1) Henry Clay vs. Sayre, 6; and Scott County vs. Bryan Station, 8 on Tuesday; championship at 6 on Thursday
■ Boys' 43rd at Lafayette: Tates Creek vs. Lexington Christian, 7 on Monday; Lafayette vs. Paul Dunbar, 6; and Creek-LCA winner vs. (1) Lexington Catholic, 8 on Tuesday; championship at 7 on Thursday
■ Girls' 43rd at Tates Creek: Lafayette vs. Tates Creek, 7 on Monday; Lafayette-Creek winner vs. (1) Lexington Catholic, 6; and Dunbar vs. Lexington Christian, 8 on Tuesday; championship at 7 on Friday
You can view schedules for every district at scoreboard.kentucky.com/kybsc15 and http://scoreboard.kentucky.com/kygsc15.
Lacrosse Hall of Fame
The Kentucky Lacrosse Association will host its inaugural Hall of Fame event at the Kentucky Center in Louisville on Saturday. It is sold out.
One of the inductees in the inaugural class is Terry Justice, a former University of Kentucky lacrosse player and coach who now heads the Transylvania men's program. He won the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year award last season after guiding Transy to a regular-season and conference-tournament championship.
Justice founded the boys' program at Lexington Catholic in 2004. He led the Knights to state runner-up finishes in 2006 and 2008 and finished with a 73-33 record in high school before taking the Transy job in 2011.
Other inductees are: Steve Auden, who coached the Manual girls' team to four state titles and produced the first Division I lacrosse player from Kentucky (Alicia Meredith); Scott Howe, who has won 10 state titles at St. Xavier since taking over in 2001; Pete Schroeder, who started Trinity's program in 2002, winning five state titles since; Mary Brainard, a girls' official who resides in Lexington.
Pulaski kicker eyes mark
Derek Burgett, a four-year football starter at Pulaski County, is on pace to finish with the second-most PATs in the state for his career.
Burgett has kicked 198 extra points. The No. 18 Maroons (5-1 with four games to play) are averaging six touchdowns a game. If they keep that up Burgett could have 222 PATs entering the playoffs.
The state record is shared by Palmer Ward (Scott County, 2010-13) and Jack Coorts (Lone Oak, 2007-10), each of whom kicked 297.
Third on the list is Monte Merrick of Bell County, who kicked 216 extra points from 2005-08.
Burgett has committed to Union College.
Small college players of the week
■ Former Henry Clay goalkeeper Kate Dishion was named the Great Midwest Athletic Conference's women's soccer athlete of the week. She had 13 saves in Kentucky Wesleyan's 1-0 shutout of Trevecca Nazarene and guarded the net in the Panthers' 4-0 win over Brescia last week.
■ Kentuckians swept the most recent Mid-South Conference volleyball player of the week honors. St. Catharine's Rebecca Just (Manual) was named attacker of the week while Lindsey Wilson's Caitlyn Tino (Male) and Mackenzie Montano (Mercy) were named defender and setter of the week, respectively.