We hope your coaches inspire.
We hope your players avoid injury.
We hope your weather remains docile.
We hope your fans cheer responsibly.
We hope your officials are treated respectfully.
And above all, we hope everyone has a good time with you.
The Herald-Leader’s enjoyed hyping up your return over the last couple of weeks. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us this season — especially since your final weekend will be held in our town for the first time since 1976. Below you’ll find links to the entirety of our preseason high school football content, all assembled into helpful categories.
Ready. Set. HIKE!
The big picture
Top 10 teams in all six classes: Coaches in each class voted for the best teams around the state, and Josh Moore shared a helpful fact about each team.
Will every state champion repeat this year?: In Kentucky, the best teams from year to year don’t usually change much. Josh Moore assessed the chances of each of last year’s champions to repeat in 2017.
A crash course in Mr. Football history: Did you know the city of Lexington has never produced a Mr. Football winner? Or that Louisville hasn’t produced the most winners? Also includes a list of every previous award recipient.
The winningest coaches in Kentucky history: Can you name the top 10? If you can’t, we’ve got you covered.
Top 50 players (plus 35 more): In terms of the level of talent it yields from Paducah to Pikeville, Kentucky is a football state. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Best college prospects: Ben Roberts highlighted three central Kentuckians who have offers from the University of Kentucky, as well as the top 10 recruits in the state’s class of 2018.
Central stars: Ten players in central Kentucky — not including Lexington or Scott County — that you should know heading into the 2017 season.
Is quarterback the most important position in high school football?: A coaching adage suggests that a football team can only be as good as its 11th-best player. But, if the guy at quarterback is an other-worldly talent, that might not hold true.
Lexington’s best: Need help picking a game to go see in Lexington each week? Here are Josh Moore’s preseason picks, along with an entire schedule for every Lexington high school team.
Central Kentucky selections: Josh Moore identified 10 of the best games this season happening in the counties surrounding Lexington.
Small-town selections: Kentucky’s 20-most populated counties were left out of consideration for Josh Moore’s week-by-week picks of small-town games to see.
Central storylines: Ten storylines involving Central Kentucky teams that you should be mindful of heading into 2017.
Bryan Station: The Defenders lost seven starters to the new high school, but their head coach says this is probably the closest group he’s had in six seasons at the school.
Frederick Douglass: Lexington’s first new high school in 27 years is positioned to make noise ride out of the gate.
Henry Clay: Coaches believed this year’s Blue Devils were well ahead of where they were in the preseason in 2016.
Lafayette: Two players from last year’s team are now in the Southeastern Conference, but the Generals remain focused on a title.
Lexington Catholic: This year’s Knights have some big expectations because of an experienced offensive line, a dynamic running back and a quarterback with a UK offer.
Lexington Christian: LCA’s undefeated season was cut short in the third round of the playoffs last year; its loaded senior class wants to rectify that shortcoming.
Paul Laurence Dunbar: Coach Chris Mullins has a long-term outlook for a program that’s had eight head coaches since 2000.
Scott County: Central Kentucky’s most dominant program over the last 10 seasons has the pieces to make another state-title run.
Tates Creek: Spring football was ignored in favor of a more rigorous weight-room routine during the Commodores’ offseason.
“I think a lot of people left us for dead. ... If I have to motivate you on a Friday night, you may be playing the wrong sport.”
“My best friend is in there. I met him two months ago and now I consider him my best friend. I feel like we’ve all come together.”
“We have pretty high expectations. We want to compete for the city championship and also for the state championship.”
“With all the good and the great things that have happened over the past couple of years, and even this little black cloud that floats over Lafayette football, we’re going to go out and have a lot of fun.”
“Bits and pieces at times look more polished than others, but it’s still really early.”
“For this season, we’ve got a slew of people that are back that are eager and hungry to prove that 12-1 was great last year, but we’re ready to take that big next step.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar
“The culture is the problem. When you’re turning over coaches every two and a half years, you’re setting the stage for lots of issues.”
“Friday night here is still pretty much what you think about when you think about Friday Night Lights and hometown America.”
“I’m really counting on our senior leadership this year. We have 18 of ’em, and of those 18, there may be one that doesn’t have a lot of playing experience on Friday nights.”