High School Football

HIKE: Your guide to Kentucky high school football for Nov. 21, 2008

CITY GAMES (all game times 7:30 p.m.)

Henry Clay at Boone County

Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5

Records: Henry Clay 6-4 (beat Ryle 24-7 last week); Boone County 8-3 (beat Dunbar 48-23)

Ratings: Henry Clay is No. 4 and Boone County is No. 7 in Class 6A.

Trick-or-treat memories: When these teams met Halloween night, Henry Clay won 14-7. Tyler Hooker scored twice for the Blue Devils, who had 221 total yards and no turnovers. Boone County had 219 yards and one fumble.

Charles in charge: Boone County's Charles Quainoo leads the state in rushing, averaging 200 yards a game. He also has 21 touchdowns. The Rebels prefer to stick to the ground. They've rushed for 3,200 yards this season and passed for 844.

Red-zone resurgence: Henry Clay's early-season struggles included 11 turnovers in 14 red-zone possessions in its first three games. Limiting fumbles and interceptions has helped the Devils win six in a row.

Finding balance: The Devils have developed an efficient run-pass attack. QB Cole Mielcarek has thrown for 1,496 yards and 12 TDs. Jason Rider has 52 catches for 701 yards and six TDs. Tyler Hooker, Jerry Williams, Shannon Coofer and Bo Brooks have combined to rush for 1,321 yards and 14 TDs.

Familiar formula: Winning at Boone County is never easy, especially in the playoffs in cold weather. Henry Clay did it in 1995, edging the Rebels 6-0 in overtime in the region finals. Two weeks later, the Devils played St. Xavier in the state title game.

Key to victory: Just as it did three weeks ago, Henry Clay must match the Rebels' physical style. The Devils also need to capitalize on their scoring chances, because they probably won't get many.

Up next: Friday's survivor will play the Conner-Simon Kenton winner in the third round of the 6A playoffs the day after Thanksgiving.

Lexington Catholic at Harrison County

Records: Lexington Catholic 7-4 (beat Bourbon County 52-0); Harrison County 6-5 (beat West Jessamine 42-13)

Ratings: Lexington Catholic is No. 3 and Harrison County is No. 15 in Class 4A.

Rout remembrances: When Lexington Catholic played the Thorobreds in early October, it led 54-7 at halftime and cruised to a 61-7 victory. Harrison County had six turnovers, including four interceptions. Knights QB Nic Ward threw for 182 yards and three TDs, two of them to Will Letton.

Playoff history: Harrison County reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history last year before losing to Lexington Catholic 34-0. The Knights also knocked the Thorobreds out of the playoffs in 2006, beating them 55-7 in the first round.

Passing chance: If Harrison County is to pull the upset, QB Van Isaac needs to be on his game. Over the last two years he's thrown for almost 3,000 yards and 17 TDs. The Thorobreds' defense has to do its part, too, and force some turnovers.

Key to victory: Lexington Catholic can't be looking ahead to next week's probable showdown with unbeaten Boyle County. If the Knights are focused on the task at hand, they should be able to handle Harrison County.

Up next: Friday's survivor advances to play the Boyle County-Franklin County winner in the third round of the 4A playoffs the day after Thanksgiving.

Lexington Christian at Williamsburg

Radio: WJMM-FM 99.5

Records: LCA 8-3 (beat Lynn Camp 62-8); Williamsburg 10-1 (beat Paris 50-6)

Ratings: LCA is No. 2 and Williamsburg is No. 9 in Class A

History lesson: LCA Coach Paul Rains has a special place in his heart for Williamsburg. He's a 1980 graduate and former Yellow Jackets player. He also got his first coaching job at Williamsburg when he was a college kid at Cumberland. That doesn't mean he doesn't want to jolt the Jackets. Remember, LCA played Williamsburg in the 2007 season opener, and the Eagles won 62-28.

Jackets zipping along: Williamsburg is unbeaten since dropping its first game to Frankfort 19-14. Ed Lawson has rushed for 1,403 yards and 17 TDs. Ryan Moses has thrown for 2,390 yards and 28 TDs. Aaron Brock is the top receiver with 55 catches for 1,126 yards and 13 TDs.

Battle-tested: LCA has lost to Breathitt County, Corbin and Raceland, who have a combined record of 31-1. Rains said playing that kind of competition "gave us a good dose of humility. We're not too full of ourselves, and we know we have to be ready to play every Friday night."

Key to victory: LCA's offense can put up points on just about anybody, behind the passing of Lucas Witt (2,159 yards, 27 TDs), the running of Domonique Hayden (1,710 yards, 26 TDs) and the receiving of Brandon Burdette (60 catches, 635 yards, eight TDs). The burden is on LCA's defense, which has to keep teams from lighting up the scoreboard.

Up next: Friday's survivor will play the Raceland-Fairview winner in the third round of the 1A playoffs the day after Thanksgiving.


Numbers game: The scoreboard doesn't lie: the first round of the playoffs offered little excitement, and reaffirmed the notion that the post-season needs to be trimmed to include only the top two finishers in each district. Of 96 playoff games last weekend, only six were decided by a touchdown or less. More than half (49) had at least 30-point margins.

Play it again: Seventeen of this week's 48 playoff games are rematches from the regular season. Most of the first meetings were lopsided affairs. The best rematches figure to be in 6A — Henry Clay at Boone County, Simon Kenton at Conner, and Seneca at Eastern. In 4A, Marion County at Bullitt East should be a close game.

Getting his kicks: Bell County senior Monte Merrick has set a state record for career extra points. He has booted 205, breaking the mark of 201 set by Karl-Heinz Williams of Trinity six years ago. Merrick could add to his total when unbeaten Bell County hosts Rockcastle County in the 4A playoffs Friday night.

Merrick, who has 14 career field goals, has scholarship offers from Western Kentucky and Kansas State, according to Bobcats Coach Dudley Hilton.