Are you just now tuning in for the high school football season? Well, it’s over.
At least, the regular season is. Don’t worry, though: here’s a need-to-know rundown to get you prepared as Kentucky’s high school teams prepare for the first round of postseason play.
Mr. Football’s coming from Louisville or the north
Entering the season many anointed Rondale Moore — the highlight-reel receiver at Trinity who’s committed to Texas — as the frontrunner for Kentucky’s highest individual high school football honor. The senior hasn’t disappointed: he’s suited up for nine of the Rocks’ 10 games and has 78 catches (tied for 18th in KHSAA history for a single season) for 1,003 yards — an average of 12.9 yards per catch — and 10 touchdowns against the state’s toughest schedule.
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Moore’s only slight is his in-state career production – because of eligibility issues following his transfer from Indiana, he didn’t get to suit up for the Rocks last season until the playoffs. He played just four games as a junior but recorded 464 yards and nine TDs on 20 catches.
If voters overwhelmingly value hefty career numbers, Ryle’s Jake Chisholm seems the man to beat. He’s already shattered his previous season-highs with 2,159 yards and 32 TDs as a senior, giving him 4,553 yards and 63 TDs with at least one more game to play. A couple more monster games would likely give him a top-40 all-time rushing season.
Chisholm could lose support in Northern Kentucky because of another likely finalist, Covington Catholic quarterback A.J. Mayer, a Miami (Ohio) commit who’s thrown for 2,045 yards, 23 TDs and only three interceptions for the undefeated Colonels.
The same could hold true for Moore in the Louisville area because of Jairus Brents, the state’s No. 1 uncommitted recruit who’s been a long-time target of UK (he’s also been offered by Alabama, among many others) and is a do-it all threat for Waggener. The Wildcats’ season won’t last as long as Trinity’s, but a late commitment to UK might have a more meaningful impact in some folks’ minds than back-to-back undefeated seasons from Moore and the Shamrocks.
The most sizable threat outside of the urban areas is probably Tyrese Allen, a defensive tackle who’s committed to West Virginia and whose candidacy could gain momentum if he helps lead Paintsville to its first state championship in December.
Class 4A seemed like hot mess past the top 3-4 teams most of the season, and trying to assess the class got more difficult as defending champion Johnson Central dropped its final two games of the regular season after starting 8-0.
The Golden Eagles, along with Wayne County (9-1), still commanded as much of the state’s attention as they have in recent seasons. Ashland Blazer’s upset of Central two weeks ago put the Tomcats (8-2) closer to the forefront of title conversations than they’d been all year. Collins’ only two losses were to Boyle County (a Class 3A contender) and Ballard (a Class 6A program), and the Titans were considered a top-three team much of the year.
Past that foursome, muddiness reigned.
Season’s best surprise
Logan County, which completed its first undefeated regular season nearly one year to the date after it snapped what was then a state-worst 42-game losing streak, was by far the state’s most inspiring team story. The Cougars have never hosted a home playoff game in their history; they’ll open the Class 4A postseason on their own turf on Friday.
Class 2A’s top was tops
The five teams leading the Cantrall Ratings in Class 2A — DeSales, Mayfield, Danville, Lexington Christian and Christian Academy of Louisville — finished with a combined record of 46-4, and two of the losses were handed by one to another (DeSales to CAL and Danville to LCA).
Class 5A’s top five teams went 45-5, Class 3A’s were 44-6 and Class 6A’s went 43-7. The top teams in Class 4A and Class A went 40-10 and 36-13, respectively.
Biggest winners …
Six teams finished with undefeated regular-season records: Christian County, Covington Catholic, Danville, DeSales, Logan County and Trinity. It’s possible for four of them to end the year without a blemish.
… and losers
Sixteen teams finished with winless regular-season records: Berea, Boyd County, Breckinridge County, Butler County, Calloway County, Caverna, Covington Holy Cross, Fulton City, Harrison County, Letcher County Central, Marion County, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Seneca, Shawnee, Warren Central and Woodford County. Both Betsy Layne and Nelson County scored wins on the final night of the regular season to avoid 0-10 campaigns.
Caverna, Covington Holy Cross, Fulton City, Seneca, Shawnee, Woodford County and Warren Central all will have at least one more chance to get in the win column this season after qualifying for postseason competition.