High School Sports

Class A football finals preview: Pikeville vs. Beechwood

Pikeville vs. Beechwood

Kickoff: 8 p.m. EST Thursday at Western Kentucky University’s L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green

Cantrall Ratings: Pikeville 74.0, Beechwood 73.6

Final AP ranking: Beechwood No. 2, Pikeville No. 4

Previous championship appearances (record): Beechwood 14 (11-3); Pikeville 5 (3-2)

Quick hit: Beechwood last reached the finals in 2008, when it defeated Hazard 14-7 for its 11th state title — all won in Class A. Pikeville’s last appearance was in 1991; the Panthers fell 34-6 to Beechwood’s second championship team.

Pikeville leaders: Daric Pugh (1,826 rushing yards with 33 TDs; two receiving TDs; one fumble recovery returned for a 95-yard TD), Wyatt Battaile (1,162 passing yards with 17 TDs thrown to just three interceptions; 393 rushing yards with four TDs; 18 tackles and four interceptions, two of which were returned for TDs), Blake Charles (132 total tackles), Chatlin Jarrell (456 receiving yards with six TDs).

Beechwood leaders: Kyle Fieger (2,590 passing yards with 38 TDs to only three interceptions; 152 rushing yards with a score), Ethan Stringer (1,553 yards rushing with 21 TDs); Brett Slusher (1,112 receiving yards with 19 TDs; eight rushing TDs with 410 yards; has three interceptions and four fumble recoveries, four of the seven returned for TDs).

7 The number of seasons since Beechwood last reached the state championship game.

24The number of seasons since Pikeville last reached the state championship game.

PIKEVILLE (12-2)

Coach: Chris McNamee

Results

at Prestonsburg, 43-6 (W)

Letcher County Central, 49-12 (W)

at Paintsville, 23-22 (L)

Sheldon Clark, 41-6 (W)

at Belfry, 34-8 (L)

South Floyd, 68-14 (W)

at Hazard, 56-28 (W)

Phelps, 53-0 (W)

at Jenkins, 57-6 (W)

Pike County Central, 53-0 (W)

Playoffs

Lynn Camp, 68-8 (W)

Williamsburg 56-14 (W)

Hazard, 50-6 (W)

at Paintsville, 42-23 (W)

A lot of people want to bring up the good ’ol days and I love ’em too, but these guys weren’t around then and they have to make their own way. I’m really happy for them that they’ve been able to take it this far.

Chris McNamee, Pikeville football coach

BEECHWOOD (13-1)

Coach: Noel Rash

Results

at Lloyd Memorial, 48-22 (W)

at Somerset, 48-14 (W)

at Ironton (Ohio), 35-19 (W)

Covington Catholic, 41-21 (L)

Covington Holy Cross, 55-21 (W)

Newport, 69-24 (W)

at Bellevue, 49-0 (W)

Ludlow, 62-6 (W)

Dayton, 69-0 (W)

Newport Central Catholic, 31-14 (W)

Playoffs

Eminence, 62-0 (W)

Frankfort, 48-10 (W)

at Louisville Holy Cross, 21-9 (W)

at Russellville, 34-25 (W)

I think I get more nostalgic about it cause sometimes when you keep going, you forget how lucky and fortunate you are to be there. The drought has made us realize that.

Noel Rash, Beechwood football coach

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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