This is the best Friday night of high school football we've seen this season, and it's the best we'll see until the third week of the playoffs. Enjoy the bounty of big district games:
No. 1 Male (7-0) at Trinity (5-3): After beating St. X last week, Male goes for the sweep of the Class 6A Catholic powers. Trinity's defense was stellar in a 14-3 win over Manual.
No. 2 Bowling Green (6-1) at Warren Central (5-2): The three-time defending 5A champ Purples go for a 20th consecutive district victory.
No. 3 Scott County (7-0) at No. 10 Bryan Station (5-2): Scott County has beaten the Defenders 13 times in a row since 2000.
No. 4 Manual (6-1) at No. 8 St. Xavier (5-3): Manual tries to end a 24-game losing streak to the Tigers.
No. 6 Simon Kenton (8-0) at No. 9 Dixie Heights (6-1): Simon Kenton looks to show it's the best 6A team in Northern Kentucky.
Louisville Christian (8-0) at No. 17 DeSales (7-0): Last year the Centurions beat DeSales in the regular season, but the Colts won the rematch in the playoffs on their way to the 2A state title.
No. 16 Caldwell County (7-0) at Murray (5-2): Caldwell County is 19-1 in its last 20 games. The loss was to Murray in the 2A playoffs last year.
Bell County (6-1) at Corbin (6-1): Both teams have aspirations of contending in 3A.
■ Williamsburg's Skyler Griffith began his senior season as one of the most productive receivers in state history. He had 178 career receptions (11th-most all-time) for 3,676 yards (sixth-most) and 40 TD catches (eighth-most).
But with the Yellow Jackets in need of a quarterback — Dalton Sizemore graduated after leading them to a Class A state runner-up finish last year — Griffith took the reins. He's made the transition look easy. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior has passed for 1,388 yards and 19 TDs, and run for 528 yards and 11 TDs for unbeaten Williamsburg.
"He's a phenomenal kid, a phenomenal athlete," Coach Jerry Herron said. Griffith, who also plays basketball and baseball, quarterbacked Williamsburg to a middle school state title in 2010, so he's familiar with the position.
He has talented skill people around him. Senior receiver Corey Shelton is climbing the state record lists. He has 183 catches for 3,458 yards and 48 TDs. Chase Lowrie is another capable target, and Fred Massey is a big contributor at running back. Williamsburg's goal is a return trip to the state finals and make up for last year's 42-0 loss to Mayfield.
"Until we win that last game we've not accomplished our goal," Herron said. "It's a long, tough road ahead, and we know that."
■ Ray Zuberer Jr. is the latest quarterback to put up big passing numbers for Owensboro Catholic.
In 2004, Zach Barnard threw for 4,660 yards and 52 TDs to lead the Aces to a state runner-up finish. Over the past few years, David Woodward, Isaac Hardesty and Houston Hartz have each topped 3,000 yards passing in a season for the Aces.
Zuberer, a junior, is flourishing in his first season at the controls of John Edge's high-octane offense. Zuberer has thrown for 2,556 yards and 38 TDs in eight games. Zuberer is also a standout in baseball (with an offer from Western Kentucky) and basketball.
"He's a great athlete, so he's used to all of this," Edge said. "He's learned a lot and now he's excelling."
Zuberer, son of former Aces' girls' basketball coach, Ray Sr., led an epic Owensboro Catholic comeback last week. Mater Dei (Breeze, Ill.) led 42-22 in the third quarter, but the Aces rallied to win 68-57. Zuberer passed for 474 yards and eight TDs and ran for 66 yards and a TD.
■ Madison Southern was without star running back Damien Harris (sprained MCL) when it lost to district rival Pulaski County 35-0 last week.
But the victorious Maroons lost star quarterback Riley Hall in the second quarter when he suffered a broken collarbone.
Pulaski County Coach Johnny Hines said Hall will be sidelined 4-6 weeks. That means Hall might not be back until the second or third round of the playoffs. Hines said George Gregory, a junior wide receiver, will move to quarterback in the meantime. Jesse Whitaker and Matt Hendricks might also take some snaps.
■ Breathitt County's James Fletcher Collins had almost 600 all-purpose yards and six TDs in the Bobcats' 62-42 win over Clay County last week.
"He's special," Coach Kyle Moore said of the junior quarterback.
Collins ran 23 times for 433 yards and four TDs. He caught a 15-yard TD pass and returned a punt 82 yards for a score. He also had 53 yards in kickoff returns.
In a win over Magoffin County two weeks ago, Collins ran for 319 yards and four TDs, and had a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD. Collins' brother, Will Thomas, who played at Lexington Christian and Breathitt County, is a walk-on at UK.
■ Clay County's Evan Napier has never had a team decimated by injuries like this year's Tigers.
"It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen," he said. "We've lost 12 players, including all our linebackers."
Clay County has lost seven games in a row since an opening win over Perry Central. Despite their struggles, the Tigers have had bright spots.
In the loss to Breathitt, junior receiver Wes Wolfe had eight catches for 180 yards and three TDs. Senior running back Sam Carr rushed for 120 yards and two TDs, and had five catches for 103 yards and a score.
■ Jacob McKee rushed for 205 yards and two TDs as Russell beat Mason County 38-7, ending the Royals' 21-game regular-season winning streak.
■ Letcher County Central beat district rival Harlan County 54-24, its first win over the Black Bears in five years. Zane Blair ran for 109 yards and three TDs, and passed for 139 yards and a TD. Jaylen Williams rushed for 194 yards and three scores, and Hunter Hall had two TDs for the Cougars.
■ Highlands got a big game from senior quarterback Beau Hoge but suffered a rare regular-season loss, falling to Miami (Fla.) Columbus 38-34. Hoge threw for 341 yards and five TDs. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hoge, son of ESPN analyst and former NFL player Merril Hoge, is getting looks from BYU, Ohio and Cincinnati.
■ Ashland Blazer junior Quinton Baker, who has an offer from UK, ran for 274 yards and three TDs in a 48-8 rout of Sheldon Clark.
■ Jacob Doss (Lexington Catholic) has coached Windermere (Fla.) Prep to a 5-0 record this season. Windermere is outscoring its opponents by an average of 57-18. Doss set a state record at Lexington Catholic by throwing a TD pass in 39 consecutive games.
■ This week in high school football in 1992: Leslie County freshman Tim Couch passed for 251 yards and three TDs in a 22-10 win over Paul Laurence Dunbar. ... Lexington Catholic's Davon Davis rushed for 199 yards and four TDs in a 42-6 rout of Berea. ... Chris Claypool threw for a TD, ran for a TD and returned a kickoff for a score as Bourbon County qualified for the playoffs for the first time in school history by beating Western Hills 35-12. ... Tates Creek blanked Henry Clay 14-0, saddling the Blue Devils with their 17th consecutive loss.
■ Henry Clay boys' basketball had a serious setback when Jeremiah Tisdale suffered a torn ACL last week.
The 6-foot-1 left-hander will have surgery Oct. 28 and miss his senior season. "It's a big blow to us," Blue Devils Coach Daniel Brown said. Tisdale was injured when he went up for a dunk "and came down funny," Brown said. "Nobody touched him. One of those things that's hard to explain."
Tisdale averaged 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. He had 27 points and seven steals in Henry Clay's loss to Scott County in the region finals. Brown said Tisdale "dominated" in leading Henry Clay to the state AAU title this summer. Tisdale has an offer from Georgetown College, and interest from Northern Kentucky, Pikeville, Troy and Lincoln Memorial.
■ Less than seven months after he wrapped up his college playing career, Elisha Justice is the new boys' basketball coach at June Buchanan.
Justice, 23, said he couldn't stay away from the game. "I knew I had to do something with basketball. That's what I know and that's what I love." Justice planned on helping out this season at Shelby Valley, which he led to the state title in 2010 before the opportunity arose at June Buchanan.
Justice said he learned a lot from his former coaches — Jason Booher at Shelby Valley, Rick Pitino at Louisville and Kelly Wells at Pikeville — and he won't hesitate to call them for advice.
■ Andy Green, a former Lexington Christian Academy and UK baseball standout, will be the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach next season.
Green interviewed for the Diamondbacks' manager position, but Chip Hale got the job. Hale added Green to his staff this week. Green, 37, has been manager at Mobile (Ala.), Arizona's AA affiliate, the past two years. He has been in the Diamondbacks' organization for 11 years as a player or coach.