The Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl championship games are upon us. All six contests will be played at Kroger Field in Lexington over the weekend.
Below you’ll find coverage that has been produced in the lead-up to the finals by numerous news organizations across the state. Enjoy!
Big ballers: The top players to watch on every state finals team (Josh Moore): Each team’s biggest name, along with a look at all the known college recruits playing in the finals.
What to know about every 2017 state football finalist (Josh Moore): Historical and enrollment information about all 12 state football finalists.
How to watch and follow the high school football state championships (Josh Moore): Ticket and broadcast information and links for every championship game.
First-timers, Titletown revival add intrigue to state football finals (Josh Moore): First-time finalists Madison Southern and Raceland, along with the dual returnees Boyle County and Danville, make this year’s finals more fun.
We drafted fantasy teams using the state football finalists. You can too (Josh Moore): Mark Sonka, Josh Sullivan and I drafted fantasy football teams from the 12 state football teams. Includes draft criteria and scoring information for those who’d like to play at home.
They won two games in three years. Now they’re one win away from a state title (Josh Moore): Profiling the ascension of Madison Southern, a program that a decade ago was in shambles.
This Kentucky coach won five state titles in a row. See how he celebrated (Josh Moore): A video montage of Boyle County Coach Chuck Smith’s celebrations after winning each state title from 1999-2003.
Why will it take three days to play six state championships this week? (Josh Moore): KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett explains why the six championship games were spread across three days.
Want cheaper UK basketball tickets? Go watch a high school football game (Josh Moore): A look at the discounts available to KHSAA football finals ticket-holders.
These stories weren’t written for the state finals but will help add some context to the games:
He once was recruited by SEC schools. Now one of state’s top players is ignored. What’s going on? (Josh Moore): Carter Smith is a critical piece to what Madison Southern does.
My first date with Kentucky’s biggest high school football rivalry (Josh Moore): A personal story of experiencing the St. Xavier-Trinity rivalry for the first time.
High school kicker didn’t show up until halftime. He hit the winning field goal. (Josh Moore): The Boyle County-Danville rivalry is among the best in the state, and this year’s edition produced a thriller — and two state finalists.
Madison Southern playing in first ever state title game (Bryan Kenendy): The Lexington ABC affiliate spoke with Madison Southern head coach Jon Clark ahead of the Eagles’ game against Covington Catholic in the Class 5A finals on Saturday.
Ashland Daily Independent
Cool Foot Luke: Rams kicker a Lemaster of his craft (Matthew Sparks): A feature on Luke Lemaster, who hit a game-winning field goal to send Raceland to the Class A finals.
No-jukin’ Judd. Rams’ Adkins focuses on north-south running (James Collier): How Judd Adkins became the featured running back for Raceland.
Central carries county banner (Zack Klemme): Johnson Central, which became the fourth county school to three-peat as a state finalist, is profiled.
Golden Eagles ‘have been here before’ (Zack Klemme): A preview of Johnson Central’s rematch with Franklin-Simpson in the Class 4A finals.
On your Mark (again), get set. Rams assistant Lewis making nitnh state finals appearance (Rocky Stanley): Raceland is playing for a title for the first time ever, but the same cannot be said of assistant coach Mark Lewis.
State finals notebook: Tomcats to celebrate golden anniversary in Lexington (Zack Klemme): Ashland Blazer’s 1967 state championship team will be recognized during the finals this weekend.
Bowling Green Daily News
Franklin-Simpson's Brady reaches emotional conclusion to prep career at state (Elliott Pratt): Wildcats standout Saul Brady was possibly one football practice away from dying earlier in the season.
Franklin-Simpson using Houchens-Smith Stadium to prep for state (Elliott Pratt): A look at why the Wildcats are practicing at WKU’s facility this week.
What to watch: State championship games (John Snodgrass and James Weber): The pair broke down the Beechwood-Raceland and Covington Catholic-Madison Southern games.
In the family: Another generation of Admirals play for state title (Matt Overing): Three Danville players in this year’s Class 2A finals have parents who played in Danville’s overtime win in the 1987 finals.
Boyle County rushing attack the foundation on offense (Matt Overing): The Rebels have two rushers who’ve crossed 1,000 yards on the season. The last time that happened, they won a state title.
Admirals’ offense taking new strides in 2017 state run (Matt overing): Danville graudated the starting quarterback, Zach Dampier, from its 2016 state runner-up squad. The offense is different, but still explosive, under new signal caller Zach Thornton.
Louisville Courier Journal
Male coach Chris Wolfe breaks down the St. Xavier-Trinity football state final (Jason Frakes): Male lost to both Catholic powerhouses during the regular season. Wolfe provided some insight into what both teams want and need to do in their Class 6A finals rematch.
Trinity's Rondale Moore: Texas commitment, Mr. Football candidate is 'total package' (Jason Frakes): Profile of the Shamrocks receiver, who’s already set a school record for receptions.
After two seasons away, Evan Walker is making an impact for St. Xavier football team (Jason Frakes): He quit playing football for a two seasons to focus on basketball. His return has helped St. X.
Can St. Xavier turn the tide on Trinity's football dominance? (Jason Frakes): The Tigers have not fared well against the Shamrocks as of late.
Class 5A football final: What to watch between Covington Catholic, Madison Southern (Jason Frakes): Breakdown and pick for the Class 5A finals
Class 4A football final: What to watch between Franklin-Simpson, Johnson Central (Jason Frakes): Breakdown and pick for the Class 4A finals
Class 3A football final: What to watch Friday night between Corbin and Boyle County (Jason Frakes): Breakdown and pick for the Class 3A finals
Class 2A football final: What to watch between Danville, Mayfield (Jason Frakes): Breakdown and pick for the Class 2A finals
Class A football final: What to watch between Beechwood, Raceland (Jason Frakes): Breakdown and pick for the Class A finals
Northern Kentucky Tribune
Beechwood enters Class 1A state football final with distinct advantage in big game experience (Evan Merrill): Most of Beechwood’s 2017 starters played in the Tigers’ championship win at the end of the 2016 season.
The Paducah Sun
Mayfield boss Morris: State finals trip an expectation (Al Willman): After Saturday, the Cardinals will have played for state titles in eight of the last nine years.
Sledgehammer has become special tradition at Southern (Nathan Hutchinson): “It sets the tone. When it’s placed in the ground, the game is on and it’s time to get physical.”
5-foot-4 Andrew Quintin is one of Southern’s biggest leaders (Nathan Hutchinson): The senior is “barely big enough to play a position,” head coach Jon Clark says, but his impact is felt among the Eagles.
Senior quarterback Landen Stacy has been a big part of Southern’s success (Nathan Hutchinson): A nice profile of Madison Southern’s dual-threat signal caller.
Jeff Brohm, Purdue Recruiting Home State of Kentucky (Lyndsey Gough): Boyle County lineman Will Bramel is among the in-state football players who will play at Purdue.
One For The Ages: Trinity vs. Male, 2002 4A State Championship Game (Garrett Moore): Spectrum looked back at the highest scoring state-title game in KHSAA history.
Kickoff Kentucky Featuring Mayfield (Lyndsey Gough): Back in July, the Cardinals were breaking their huddle with “State champs.” Now they’re one game away.
County Connection: Corbin Redhounds Hope To Go All The Way This Season (Lyndsey Gough): Spectrum’s season preview of Corbin, which had championship aspirations from the get-go.
The Sporting Times
Class 1A-6A State Championship Previews/Breakdowns, Records, Picks (Tyler Mansfield): The magazine broke down every state championship and made picks for each game.
Franklin-Simpson set for Class 4A state final rematch against Johnson Central (Tyler Mansfield): A look at how the Wildcats qualified for the finals, getting a second shot at a team that routed them last year.
Corbin Redhounds prepping for state (Marcus Browning): Justin Haddix spoke with the TV station ahead of the Class 3A finals matchup with Boyle County.
From deadly diagnosis to sideline at state title game (Will Puckett): Corbin’s Caleb Mitchell, a starting safety and wide receiver, was diagnosed with staph and MRSA infections early in the postseason.
Johnson Central making 3rd straight state title appearance (Marcus Browning): Jim Matney spoke with the TV station ahead of the Class 4A finals matchup with Franklin-Simpson.