What happened this week in Kentucky high school football? Here are five observations from the week.
1.) Boyle County is back
Chuck Smith waited a long time between victories over Lexington Catholic, whom the Rebels crushed, 48-17, on Friday night in Danville.
The last time Smith was the winning coach in the series? The year 2000, when Boyle County twice defeated Lexington Catholic by two points in the midst of an undefeated championship season.
Of course, Smith missed a good chunk of the games between Y2K and today; he was an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky from 2005-2012 before returning in 2014 to the school where he won five straight state championships from 1999-2003. Boyle County had gone 0-4 against Lexington Catholic in the second Smith era until Friday night, the Rebels’ last win in the series coming in 2013.
Smith’s personal stake in the contest was far inferior to what it meant for the team.
“In the last three years I’ve been back, we don’t know how to win a big game. We don’t know how to do it,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about it and we’ve been preaching about it. Tonight, it’s not so much that we beat Lexington Catholic, it’s that we learned how to win a big game. And that’s why I’m proud of ’em. They played their hearts out.”
2.) Tiger tribute
Elijah “EJ” Austin, a freshman who played football at Hopkinsville, died on Oct. 7 after a gun he was holding accidentally discharged. He was honored in multiple ways Friday night.
EJ’s mom, Brandee Austin, walked out with Hopkinsville players as an honorary captain before the game. She was presented with flowers by the captains of Calloway County, whom the Tigers were playing that night.
His number, 11, was painted in the corners of each end zone. The community released hundreds of balloons at halftime to pay their respects.
Hopkinsville defeated Calloway County, 49-0, for its first shutout of the season; a fitting tribute to a young man who appeared on the verge of becoming a defensive star (he ranked among Hoptown’s best tacklers already).
Tyler Dixon of the Kentucky New Era spoke with Brandee Austin after the game.
“He was out there with them,” she told the paper.
3.) Completed triangle
Trinity, Male and St. Xavier — the top three teams in the latest Class 6A poll and three of the top four in the latest Cantrall Ratings (Scott County is No. 2) — have finished their annual round robin. St. Xavier shutout Male, 27-0, to leave the Bulldogs sitting with zero points against the Louisville Catholic powerhouses so far this season. Trinity shutout St. X, 28-0, on Sept. 29, and defeated Male, 22-0, on Sept. 8.
4.) Colonel scare
Christian County, an undefeated Class 5A contender ranked third in the latest media poll, had to go into overtime to defeat Graves County (4-4), 21-14, on Friday night. Ja’Quon Long caught two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score in overtime, for the Colonels (8-0). He finished with 101 yards on seven catches.
5.) Who wins?
Someone’s getting a win this season: the pair play next week at Station.