All eyes will rightfully be on Lexington this weekend as Trinity, the top-ranked team in Class 6A and up to No. 19 in USA Today’s national rankings, visits Lafayette — last year’s Class 6A runners-up and ranked third in the latest AP rankings — in a potential finals preview.
But another exciting battle will start about 30 minutes later in the Central time zone. Bowling Green, last year’s Class 5A champion, hosts St. Xavier, which completed an amazing comeback at Lexington Catholic last Friday.
The Purples had won four straight against St. X before a 45-19 drubbing in Louisville last season. Aside from that anomaly, Bowling Green has been competitive with St. X or Trinity each season since it began playing one of the two schools in 2005. The matchups — and others like them that dot the Purples’ pre-district schedule — are what Coach Kevin Wallace considers a “prelim to the playoffs.”
In 2003 and 2004, Bowling Green went undefeated in the regular season before bowing out in the second round of the playoffs each season. That spurred the addition of more high-level teams to the schedule, a move that has undoubtedly helped Bowling Green become one of the state’s premier programs.
“Once we got to playing those types of teams, even though we weren’t winning, we felt like it was something that was good for us in the long run to play against those type of people,” Wallace said. “ ... I’ve coached long enough to know that my regular-season record is not gonna get me fired. So if we lose to somebody like this, it’s a growing experience.”
Case in point, last season’s blowout.
“I think we really let go of that St. X loss but grew from it and matured from it,” Wallace said.
You could say that; the Purples reeled off 12 straight wins en route to their fourth title in five seasons. Eleven of those wins were by 14 points or more.
Wallace is hoping for a big crowd Friday night, but some locals might gravitate to the intercounty battle between Greenwood and South Warren about 10 miles away.
South Warren, a budding power in Class 4A, jumps up to Class 5A next season. The Spartans will play in District 2 with Bowling Green. There will be no problems filling a stadium for that one, Wallace said.
“You better get here early,” Wallace said. “We won’t have to complain about a crowd that night.”
▪ Four teams — DeSales, Eminence, Leslie County and Nicholas County — have played two games and have yet to allow a point this season.
Beechwood, Casey County, East Carter, Ludlow and Morgan County — all of whom have played just one game — also haven’t allowed a point.
Prediction: After Friday, the list of teams who haven’t allowed a point this season will be zero.
▪ Only one team has crossed the 100-point barrier through two weeks of play. Defending Class 2A champ Mayfield has won its first two games — versus Fort Campbell and Marshall County — by a combined score of 104-7. This week Mayfield hosts Paducah Tilghman in the 103rd meeting between the programs. Tilghman, in its first year under former standout Kurt Barber, is 0-2 after losing to 6A foes McCracken County (41-6) and Central Hardin (29-21) in a six-day period.
▪ The state’s next three top-scoring teams so far? South Warren (99), Perry County Central (98) and Lafayette (97).
▪ Pulaski County sophomore Wiley Cain broke his collarbone in the Maroons’ opener against Harlan County on Aug. 19 and will be out six to eight weeks. Tight end Matt Hendricks made his first start under center for Pulaski County in its loss to Scott County last week. Maroons Coach John Hines said Hendricks played pretty well for a guy who hadn’t gotten quarterback reps since he was the team’s JV starter as a freshman. “He’ll get better each week,” Hines said. Pulaski County (1-1) is off this week before traveling to Russell County (2-0) next Friday.
▪ Three Kentucky teams were ranked in MaxPreps’ latest ranking of the top 150 football teams in the nation. Trinity moved up three spots to No. 25. Belfry climbed to 53rd (from No. 115) while Simon Kenton made its debut at No. 118. South Warren, previously ranked 91st, fell out of the rankings (likely due to the relative strength of its schedule).
▪ Scott County will induct several new members to its athletics hall of fame preceding the Cardinals’ home football game against Cincinnati Elder. Those to be honored are: Rebecca (Gray) Dyer, Scott County’s all-time leading scorer with 2,907 points who won Miss Basketball in 2007; Camille (Cooper) Ozumba, who went on to win an NCAA title at Purdue and played in the WNBA; all 16 players from the girls’ basketball team that finished as state runners-up to Mercy in the 2010 Sweet Sixteen.
An official induction ceremony will take place 5:30 p.m. at the Georgetown College Conference Center. Inductees will also be recognized at the football stadium before the game begins.