Adair County football coach Travis Gay didn't overload his team with outlandish expectations this season. "Our motto was, 'Just get better today,'" he said.
So far, so good. Or great.
The Indians (6-0) are off to the best start in school history. They host South Warren (7-0) on Friday night.
Adair County is the highest-scoring team (48.2 points per game) in Class 3A. South Warren is the stingiest team (6.0 ppg) in 3A. "Something's gotta give," Gay said with a laugh.
Whatever happens, Adair County's program seems to be on the uptick in Gay's fourth season as coach. The Indians have some key seniors, including linebackers Dakota Price and Dylan Conn, and center Spencer Claypool. But the starting lineup includes six sophomores, including running back Jordan Lasley, who has 19 touchdowns and leads 3A in scoring, and quarterback Chance Melton, who has totaled 857 yards and 17 TDs passing and running.
"We like what we've been doing," Gay said. "South Warren is a great team, but we're not going to change a whole lot. It should be a fun night."
■ Pulaski County Coach Johnny Hines has heard the reports that say Madison Southern star Damien Harris is doubtful for Friday night's nationally televised (ESPNU) game against the Maroons. Harris suffered a leg injury in the Eagles' loss to Southwestern last week. "I know there's been a lot of talk about him not playing, but we expect to see Damien Harris on the field going full speed ahead," Hines said. Pulaski County, which won 14 games in a row last season before losing to Bowling Green in the Class 5A finals, is 6-0 this year. "We've played well in certain spots in certain games," Hines said. "Sometimes we execute, sometimes we make mistakes. But I do think we've gotten a little better each week." The Maroons got a scare three weeks ago when junior Riley Hall, whom Hines considers the best quarterback in the state, was in a car accident. He suffered cuts on his head and a sore left shoulder but didn't miss a game. "He was a little uncomfortable, but he's feeling better every week," Hines said. Hall has completed 89 of 133 passes (67 percent) for 1,334 yards and 17 TDs. He's been intercepted once.
■ Before he was injured against Southwestern, Damien Harris ran for 152 yards and two TDs. He also caught a TD pass and returned a kickoff for a score. Harris has 121 career TDs, including 111 rushing. Both totals rank second in state history. Harris has 6,704 career rushing yards, 14th on the state record list.
■ Lexington Catholic played with extra emotion in its 26-17 victory over district rival Boyle County last Friday. Two days before the showdown, Lee Anne Kirn, a beloved guidance counselor at the school, died of a heart attack. She was 49. Her daughter Gracie is a junior at Lexington Catholic. "Thursday was a really, really rough day for everybody," Coach Mark Perry said. "On Friday, the players were able to put that emotion into a dedication for Mrs. Kirn." Many players wore yellow (Mrs. Kirn's favorite color) tape on their wrists. In the rainy post-game celebration, the players hoisted Gracie onto their shoulders. After Perry talked to his team, they said a prayer for Mrs. Kirn. The players then held yellow carnations aloft before placing the flowers in the end zone in her memory.
■ East Jessamine Coach Mike Bowlin said "it was hard to fathom" how his team could beat 5A district rival Franklin County last week. East Jessamine had lost 14 of its previous 16 games, including a 45-0 defeat to the Flyers last year. The Jaguars were coming off close losses to West Jessamine and Woodford County. But East Jessamine took advantage of six Franklin County turnovers (four fumbles, two interceptions) and won 39-21. "It kind of came out of the blue," Bowlin said. "We got into the flow of the game, and the longer it went the more confident we got." Chris Mastin ran for 115 yards and two TDs, and Kyle Gann threw for 117 yards and a TD. "We couldn't catch a break against West or Woodford," Bowlin said. "But against Franklin County, every ball bounced our way, and the interceptions were right in our hands." Can the Jaguars build on the upset? "There are two ways to treat success. You can get complacent, or you can get hungry," Bowlin said.
■ Caldwell County has won 19 of its past 20 games. The lone loss was to Murray in the third round of the 2A playoffs last year. The district rivals play again Friday night. Caldwell County's Elijah Sindelar threw for 245 yards and three TDs in last week's win over Green County. Sindelar's 127 career TD passes are fourth-most in state history. His 11,198 passing yards also rank fourth all time.
■ Bowling Green senior tight end Cameron Wallace, who suffered a torn ACL a few weeks ago, had surgery Saturday in Nashville. The night before he made a curtain call in the Purples' lopsided win over Logan County. He was the long snapper on extra-point kicks in the first half. Logan County agreed not to rush the line on PATs and risk further injury to Wallace.
■ Beechwood's 0-2 start to the season is forgotten, and the Tigers are looking like Class A title contenders. Beechwood has won four in a row, including a 28-13 win over 4A Covington Catholic last week. Kyle Fieger passed for 127 yards and two TDs, and Joe Studer led the defense with 10 tackles.
■ This week in high school football in 1989: Pikeville quarterback Jason Howard passed for 232 yards and three TDs. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception in a 66-22 win over Jenkins. ... Sophomore Greg Couch threw for two TDs and ran for two to lead Leslie County past Prestonsburg 28-21. ... Donnie Redd, Joe Ganns and David Walker had two TDs apiece as Danville beat Anderson County 48-13.
■ Henry Clay senior Margaret Clifton, part of the Blue Devils' state runner-up golf team, won the National Guard's Best and Brightest Award at the Leachman/KHSAA State Tournament. Juniors Leslie Ginter and Sara Bidarian, and seniors Kie Purdom, Leah Mabry Mims and Clifton helped Henry Clay to its fourth consecutive top-10 finish in the state.
■ June Buchanan, a small, private school on the campus of Alice Lloyd College, has hired Elisha Justice as its boys' basketball coach. Justice, 23, led Shelby Valley to the Sweet Sixteen title in 2010 and was Mr. Basketball. He played college hoops at Louisville and Pikeville. "We loved his character, " June Buchanan Athletic Director Brandon Hayes said. "I got to watch him in college. He has amazing leadership skills and he knows the game. We thought he was a great fit for our program."