High School Football

HIKE: A preview of Friday night's top games

FRIDAY NIGHT'S KICKOFFS

City games

All game times 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted:

Clark County at Henry Clay

Records: Clark County 4-1 (lost to Madison Central 49-35 last week); Henry Clay 0-4 (lost to Lafayette 24-14)

Rankings: Clark County is No. 11 and Henry Clay is No. 12 in Class 6A.

Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5

Familiar face: Cardinals senior Ryan Williams, one of the state's leading rushers with 1,124 yards and 13 TDs, was at Henry Clay before transferring to Clark County for his junior year. He also played youth football in Lexington with several of the current Blue Devils.

Wasted chances: After last week's loss, Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson bemoaned his team's failure to capitalize on scoring chances. The Blue Devils have been in the red zone 14 times this season, and come away with points four times. Another key statistic: Henry Clay is 8-for-52 (15%) on third-down conversions.

On-and-off rivalry: These teams have met seven times in the last 15 years. Clark County's last win against the Devils was in 1996.

Key to victory: Williams has had a knack for busting loose for long runs. Henry Clay must rein him in if it hopes to avoid its first 0-5 start since 1997.






Harrison County at Lexington Catholic

Records: Harrison County 3-2 (beat Bourbon County 49-14); Lexington Catholic 2-3 (lost to Boyle County 14-11)

Rankings: Harrison County is No. 18 and Lexington Catholic is No. 2 in Class 4A.

Triggerman: Van Isaac is in his third year as Harrison County's starting QB. He threw for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore and again as a junior in a balanced attack. He's already passed for 991 yards and 6 TDs this season.

History lesson: Lexington Catholic has had its share of close games against Harrison County, including a 14-0 win last year. Under Coach Ray Graham, Harrison County's physical style of play gave the Knights trouble. Will that trend continue under new Breds coach Aaron Stepp?

Time to grow: Lexington Catholic is averaging less than 20 points and 200 yards a game, half of its production in recent years. But look for the offense to start clicking behind QB Nic Ward and RB Greg Raglin in the next couple weeks.

Key to victory: The Knights' defense did itself proud against Boyle County last week. A similar effort against Harrison County is needed as a building block.






Lafayette at Bryan Station

Records: Lafayette 3-2 (beat Henry Clay 24-14); Bryan Station 2-2 (did not play)

Rankings: Lafayette is No. 15 in Class 6A; Bryan Station is No. 12 in Class 5A

Radio: WLAP-AM 630

Rested and ready? After wins over Dunbar and Western, Bryan Station has lost to district rivals Johnson Central and Woodford County. Last week's open date couldn't have come at a better time as the Defenders try to regain their early-season mojo.

Pickin' and grinnin': Bryan Station DB Earl McCann has three interceptions and returned them for an average of 46 yards.

Return weapon: Lafayette's Keenan Green returned a kickoff 90 yards for a TD last week, but a referee's mistake nullified the score. The ref blew his whistle when he thought Green was knocked out of bounds near midfield, but it was a teammate, not Green. There was so much confusion that the officials eventually had Henry Clay kick off again. Green has returned six kickoffs for an average of 28 yards.

Key to victory: A collision of two teams with lots of speed should be interesting to watch, especially darting RBs Patrick Cornett of Station and Eric Shaw of Lafayette. Whoever finds more running room may lead his team to victory.






Lexington Christian at Corbin

Records: LCA 4-1 (lost to Raceland 37-35); Corbin 5-0 (beat Knott Central 48-14)

Rankings: LCA is No. 2 in Class A; Corbin is No. 4 in Class 2A.

Radio: WJMM-FM 99.1

Testing time: LCA had a tough road game last week when it lost to Raceland on a late field goal. Now comes a visit to tradition-rich, unbeaten Corbin. The Redhouds have a punishing ground game, led by Ryan Fritts and Caleb Watkins. LCA is familiar with Fritts, who rushed for 249 yards and four TDs in a 47-21 win over the Eagles last season.

Impact newcomer: LCA's Joey Meehan, a transfer from Hazard, has caught 10 passes for 172 yards and two TDs; he's averaging 29 yards on 11 punts, and he's made 11 tackles.

Making its points: LCA has scored at least 34 points in its last 10 games. In five games this season the Eagles are averaging 49 points and 487 yards a game.

Key to victory: LCA star RB Domonique Hayden was bottled up by Raceland last week. His O-line has to get him some running room against Corbin if the Eagles are going to pull the upset.






Southwestern at Paul Dunbar

Records: Southwestern 3-2 (beat Lincoln County 35-6); Dunbar 0-4 (lost to Tates Creek 28-27 in 3 OTs)

Rankings: Southwestern is No. 18 in Class 5A; Dunbar is No. 32 in Class 6A

Warrior weapons: QB T.T. Wooldridge (520 passing yards), FB Jake King (575 rushing) and WR/RB Adam White (340 rushing, 167 receiving) are Southwestern's play-makers. Mr. Versatility: Martaveous Mays leads Dunbar in tackles, scoring, kick returns, receiving yards and all-purpose yards.

Bountiful OT: In 16 quarters of action in four games, Dunbar got in the red zone seven times and scored four TDs. On three possessions in overtime last week, the Bulldogs scored three TDs.

Key to victory: Dunbar's offense has given up 14 sacks (for minus 108 yards). The Bulldogs must do a better job in protecting and decision-making to have a chance against Southwestern, which beat them 27-21 last year.






Top state games

Trinity vs. St. Xavier at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: St. X holds 33-30-2 edge in the rivalry, but Trinity has won three of last four, including an overtime thriller in last year's Class 6A championship.






AROUND THE STATE

Many happy returns

The first time Dalton Cissell touched the football as a freshman at North Bullitt, he returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown against Spencer County.

It was a sign of a star-in-the-making.

Cissell, now a senior, has rushed for more than 5,500 yards and has 64 career TDs.

He has run back three kickoffs and a punt for scores this season, including a 95-yard kickoff return against LaRue County last week when he had 300 all-purpose yards. "Watching the video of his returns, he hits the hole full speed, makes a cut and then goes," North Bullitt Coach Brett Newton said. "With his compact size (5-foot-10, 195), his speed is a little deceiving, and teams take bad angles at him."

Newton expects opponents to stop kicking in Cissell's direction, but that won't keep him out of the end zone. He's also a threat as a runner and receiver. He's rushed for four TDs this year, and has caught four passes, all for TDs.

Rusty rivalry

Mayfield and Paducah Tilghman, arguably the two most storied football programs in western Kentucky, meet for the 95th time Friday night. But the rivalry is missing its luster this season.

Mayfield is 1-3, and coming off its first-ever loss to Crittenden County. Tilghman is 1-4, and coming off only its second loss to Union County in 25 years. (Tilghman also expects to forfeit its one victory this season because it used an ineligible player against Webster County.)

Mayfield holds a 47-37-10 series edge over the Blue Tornado.

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