High School Football

The top 10 high school football teams in each of Kentucky’s six classes

Demarco Fishback had a huge stop on Noah Ellison in the red zone. The Lafayette generals played the Trinity Shamrocks for the KHSAA Class 6A state Football Championship on Saturday, December 3, 2016.
Demarco Fishback had a huge stop on Noah Ellison in the red zone. The Lafayette generals played the Trinity Shamrocks for the KHSAA Class 6A state Football Championship on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Preseason polls

Let’s get straight to it — here are the top 10 teams in each of Kentucky’s six football classifications, as voted on by coaches in the Herald-Leader’s preseason poll, with their 2016 record and a fact supplied by sportswriter Josh Moore.

CLASS A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Beechwood

14-1 (champs)

Tigers return 7 offensive, 8 defensive starters from last year’s title squad

2. Hazard

12-3

Cory Smith was 95 yards shy of a 3,000-yard rushing season as a junior

3. Ky. Country Day

10-3

Senior tight end Josh Lifson committed to Air Force late last month

4. Paintsville

13-1

Paintsville’s recently renovated locker room is among the sharpest in the state

5. Russellville

12-2

Panthers have had just one losing record under John Myers (his first season in 2004)

6. Pikeville

10-3

Quarterback Wyatt Battaile decided to forego his senior season on the football field

7. Lou. Holy Cross

7-5

College-level linebacker Mario Convenuto also rushed for 1,100 yards last year

8. Raceland

10-3

Fifteen seniors graduated from last year’s edition of the Rams

9. Bracken County

8-3

Several key players return from team that put together a historic season in 2016

10. Paris

5-6

Sixth-year coach Brian Washington suffered his first losing season last year

CLASS 2A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Louisville Christian

14-1 (champs)

Two-way junior star Milton Wright holds offers from UK, Louisville

2. Mayfield

13-1

Strong line and deep receiving corps should have Cards back in title hunt

3. DeSales

10-3

Former Central head coach Ty Scroggins is now an assistant here

4. Danville

12-3

Ads lost prolific passer Zach Dampier but return leading rusher Don Harris

5. Lexington Christian

12-1

Workhorse Dillon Wheatley is among state’s most underrated college propsects

6. Owensboro Catholic

11-2

Aces have three straight seasons with 10 or more wins

7. Newport Central Catholic

7-6

Junior Kyle Kelly led team in rushing (821 yards, 14 TDs) last season

8. Somerset

7-5

Briar Jumpers haven’t reached regional since 2013

9. Covington Holy Cross

10-4

Indians had first winning season since 2011 last year

10. Glasgow

8-3

Junior lineman Tanner Bowles’ offers include UK, LSU, Louisville

CLASS 3A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Belfry

14-1 (champs)

Pirates last year became sixth program to win at least four straight titles

2. Corbin

12-2

Belfry ended the Redhounds’ season each of the last two years

3. Lexington Catholic

7-6

The Knights host Lafayette and travel to LCA in back-to-back weeks

4. Boyle County

7-5

Sophomore Reese Smith a difference-maker on both sides

5. Elizabethtown

10-4

Panthers won region title with only 28 varsity players last year

6. Central

9-6

Championship-level program welcomes new coach Marvin Dantzler

7. Caldwell County

8-5

Star QB Shane Burns forgoing senior season to focus on baseball

8. Russell

10-2

The Red Devils’ last opponent the last three seasons was Belfry

9. Garrard County

5-6

Senior linebacker Josh Warren had 85 tackles last year as a junior

10. Western Hills

7-4

Wolverines seek first back-to-back winning seasons since 2008-2009

CLASS 4A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Johnson Central

14-1 (champs)

Golden Eagles brought school its first team title ever last December

2. Franklin-Simpson

14-1

Wildcats went undefeated ... until last year’s finals in Bowling Green

3. Wayne County

11-3

Cards should get strong tests early from Pulaski County and Boyle County

4. Hopkinsville

10-2

Incumbent QB Jalen Johnson transferred to a Louisville basketball prep school

5. Ashland Blazer

9-4

Leading passer, rusher Braxton Ratliff returns for 2016 region finalist

6. Shelby County

11-2

All the Rockets’ wins were part of a streak beginning their second game last year

7. Collins

7-5

Nesean Roseberry could become school’s all-time leading rusher this season

8. John Hardin

9-5

Former Western Hills coach Chris Engstrand now at the Bulldogs’ helm

9. Franklin County

4-7

Junior Tre Simmons will be a go-to receiving threat and run the ball a bit

10. Spencer County

8-4

Linebacker Kadin Smith (Purdue) is the program’s first Power Five commit, ever

CLASS 5A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Bowling Green

15-0 (champs)

Purples have won 27 straight games coming into this season

2. Christian County

9-3

Kolbe Langhi (2,425 yards, 23 TDs) is among state’s best returning passers

3. Fern Creek

11-3

Tigers’ 28 seniors this year are the most in program history

4. South Warren

9-4

Junior linebacker Jacob Lacey recently committed to Notre Dame

5. Pulaski County

12-3

Lineman Zack Ferris (Marshall) is Maroons’ first FBS-level recruit in history

6. Owensboro

10-3

Red Devils lost to eventual champs across two classes the last four years

7. Covington Catholic

9-4

Permanent lights have been installed heading into team’s 50th anniversary

8. Doss

6-6

Star receiver Terez Traynor sidelined for most of season with a broken leg

9. Highlands

3-8

Last year was program’s first losing season since 1955

10. South Oldham

12-2

Dragons advanced to state semifinals for the first time in 2016

CLASS 6A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Trinity

15-0 (champs)

Rocks haven’t lost to an in-state team outside of Louisville since 2004 (Dixie Heights)

2. St. Xavier

10-4

Trinity, whom they couldn’t meet until finals, ended Tigers’ season last three years

3. Scott County

11-3

Cardinals haven’t lost a district game since the 2014 regular season

4. Male

10-3

Bulldogs reached at least the regional round three of the last four seasons

5. Pleasure Ridge Park

7-5

Cornerback/receiver Shannon Bishop committed to WKU in July

6. Simon Kenton

11-2

Pioneers’ first three games — Meade County, Bryan Station, Conner — are on the road

7. Lafayette

13-2

Senior-to-be Cameron Morgan led Generals in rushing (1,627 yards) in 2016

8. Manual

9-3

Only Male, St. X and Trinity have beaten Crimsons the last four years

9. Ryle

12-1

Bruising rusher Jake Chisholm should be in Mr. Football mix

10. McCracken County

7-4

Marc Clark is program’s third coach in fifth year of existence

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Preseason polls

Let’s get straight to it — here are the top 10 teams in each of Kentucky’s six football classifications, as voted on by coaches in the Herald-Leader’s preseason poll, with their 2016 record and a fact supplied by sportswriter Josh Moore.

CLASS A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Beechwood

14-1 (champs)

Tigers return 7 offensive, 8 defensive starters from last year’s title squad

2. Hazard

12-3

Cory Smith was 95 yards shy of a 3,000-yard rushing season as a junior

3. Kentucky Country Day

10-3

Senior tight end Josh Lifson committed to Air Force late last month

4. Paintsville

13-1

Paintsville’s recently renovated locker room is among the sharpest in the state

5. Russellville

12-2

Panthers have had just one losing record under John Myers (his first season in 2004)

6. Pikeville

10-3

Quarterback Wyatt Battaile decided to forego his senior season on the football field

7. Louisville Holy Cross

7-5

College-level linebacker Mario Convenuto also rushed for 1,100 yards last year

8. Raceland

10-3

Fifteen seniors graduated from last year’s edition of the Rams

9. Bracken County

8-3

Several key players return from team that put together a historic season in 2016

10. Paris

5-6

Sixth-year coach Brian Washington suffered his first losing season last year

CLASS 2A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Louisville Christian

14-1 (champs)

Two-way junior star Milton Wright holds offers from UK, Louisville

2. Mayfield

13-1

Strong line and deep receiving corp should have Cards back in title hunt

3. DeSales

10-3

Former Central head coach Ty Scroggins is now an assistant here

4. Danville

12-3

Ads lost prolific passer Zach Dampier but return leading rusher Don Harris

5. Lexington Christian

12-1

Workhorse Dillon Wheatley is among state’s most underrated college propsects

6. Owensboro Catholic

11-2

Aces have three straight seasons with 10 or more wins

7. Newport Central Catholic

7-6

Junior Kyle Kelly led team in rushing (821 yards, 14 TDs) last season

8. Somerset

7-5

Briar Jumpers haven’t reached regional since 2013

9. Covington Holy Cross

10-4

Indians had first winning season since 2011 last year

10. Glasgow

8-3

Junior lineman Tanner Bowles’ offers include UK, LSU, Louisville

CLASS 3A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Belfry

14-1 (champs)

Pirates last year became sixth program to win at least four straight titles

2. Corbin

12-2

Belfry ended the Redhounds’ season each of the last two years

3. Lexington Catholic

7-6

The Knights host Lafayette and travel to LCA in back-to-back weeks

4. Boyle County

7-5

Sophomore Reese Smith a difference-maker on both sides

5. Elizabethtown

10-4

Panthers won region title with only 28 varsity players last year

6. Central

9-6

Championship-level program welcomes new coach Marvin Dantzler

7. Caldwell County

8-5

Star QB Shane Burns forgoing senior season to focus on baseball

8. Russell

10-2

The Red Devils’ last opponent the last three seasons was Belfry

9. Garrard County

5-6

Senior linebacker Josh Warren had 85 tackles last year as a junior

10. Western Hills

7-4

Wolverines seek first back-to-back winning seasons since 2008-2009

CLASS 4A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Johnson Central

14-1 (champs)

Golden Eagles brought school its first team title ever last December

2. Franklin-Simpson

14-1

Wildcats went undefeated ... until last year’s finals in Bowling Green

3. Wayne County

11-3

Cards should get strong tests early from Pulaski County and Boyle County

4. Hopkinsville

10-2

Incumbent QB Jalen Johnson transferred to a Louisville basketball prep school

5. Ashland Blazer

9-4

Leading passer, rusher Braxton Ratliff returns for 2016 region finalist

6. Shelby County

11-2

All the Rockets’ wins were part of a streak beginning their second game last year

7. Collins

7-5

Nesean Roseberry could become school’s all-time leading rusher this season

8. John Hardin

9-5

Former Western Hills coach Chris Engstrand now at the Bulldogs’ helm

9. Franklin County

4-7

Junior Tre Simmons will be a go-to receiving threat and run the ball a bit

10. Spencer County

8-4

Linebacker Kadin Smith (Purdue) is the program’s first Power Five commit, ever

CLASS 5A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Bowling Green

15-0 (champs)

Purples have won 27 straight games coming into this season

2. Christian County

9-3

Kolbe Langhi (2,425 yards, 23 TDs) is among state’s best returning passers

3. Fern Creek

11-3

Tigers’ 28 seniors this year are the most in program history

4. South Warren

9-4

Junior linebacker Jacob Lacey recently committed to Notre Dame

5. Pulaski County

12-3

Lineman Zack Ferris (Marshall) is Maroons’ first FBS-level recruit in history

6. Owensboro

10-3

Red Devils lost to eventual champs across two classes the last four years

7. Covington Catholic

9-4

Permanent lights have been installed heading into team’s 50th anniversary

8. Doss

6-6

Star receiver Terez Traynor sidelined for most of season with a broken leg

9. Highlands

3-8

Last year was program’s first losing season since 1955

10. South Oldham

12-2

Dragons advanced to state semifinals for the first time in 2016

CLASS 6A

School

2016 record

Something to know

1. Trinity

15-0 (champs)

Rocks haven’t lost to an in-state team outside of Louisville since 2004 (Dixie Heights)

2. St. Xavier

10-4

Trinity, whom they couldn’t meet until finals, ended Tigers’ season last three years

3. Scott County

11-3

Cardinals haven’t lost a district game since the 2014 regular season

4. Male

10-3

Bulldogs reached at least the regional round three of the last four seasons

5. Pleasure Ridge Park

7-5

Cornerback/receiver Shannon Bishop committed to WKU in July

6. Simon Kenton

11-2

Pioneers’ first three games — Meade County, Bryan Station, Conner — are on the road

7. Lafayette

13-2

Senior-to-be Cameron Morgan led Generals in rushing (1,627 yards) in 2016

8. Manual

9-3

Only Male, St. X and Trinity have beaten Crimsons the last four years

9. Ryle

12-1

Bruising rusher Jake Chisholm should be in Mr. Football mix

10. McCracken County

7-4

Marc Clark is program’s third coach in fifth year of existence

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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