Breathitt Co. at Lexington Christian
Records: No. 57 Breathitt County 1-3 (lost to Perry Central 37-14 last week); No. 48 LCA (beat Louisville Christian 55-27)
Radio: WJMM-FM 99.1
Struggling Bobcats: No. 2 in Class 3A this pre-season after a state runner-up finish last year, Breathitt County has lost to Sheldon Clark, Prestonsburg and Perry Central after an opening win over Mercer County. The Bobcats are having problems on both sides of the ball. Sheldon Clark and Perry Central bottled up star RB Channing Fugate, who has rushed for 559 yards and seven TDs.
Movin' the chains: LCA's offense has been in high gear the first three games. The Eagles are averaging 45 points and 430 yards. Lucas Witt has thrown for 531 yards and nine TDs. Domonique Hayden has run for 519 yards and 8 TDs. Branden Burdette has 11 catches for 278 yards and five TDs.
Key to victory: Over the years LCA's defense has had trouble stopping strong run-oriented teams. That was the case against Breathitt County and Corbin last year. Do the Eagles have the right stuff defensively this season? A rematch with Breathitt County is the first of three tough non-district tests for the Eagles, who host Lexington Catholic next week, and Corbin in late-October.
Henry Clay at Simon Kenton
Records: No. 8 Henry Clay 3-0 (beat Scott County 21-7); No. 7 Simon Kenton 3-0 (beat Shroder, Ohio, 56-21)
Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5
More than Miles: RB Miles Simpson, who rushed for 2,309 yards and 37 TDs in leading Simon Kenton to the 6A finals last year, is the team's brightest star. (He has a scholarship offer from UK.)But QB Chad Lawrence is helping carry the load. He's thrown for 552 yards and seven TDs and run for 245 yards and two TDs.
Dialing long distance: The whole field is a red zone for Henry Clay. In their first three games the Devils scored eight TDs from 30 yards or more, including four longer than 60. They hit Scott County from 85 and 95 yards last week.
Key to victory: Henry Clay QB Jerry Williams is questionable after bruising his Achilles tendon last week. If he can't go, the Devils' defense will have to bear a bigger burden against a strong team on the road.
Lafayette at George Rogers Clark
Records: No. 32 Lafayette 3-1 (beat Franklin County 26-12); No. 71 George Rogers Clark (lost to Dunbar 13-7)
Pass defense: Lafayette isn't allowing opponents much air time. In four games the Generals have allowed 312 passing yards. Credit pressure on the QB and good coverage in the secondary (including five INTs). Lafayette's run defense isn't shabby, either, giving up an average of 144 yards a game.
City-scape: George Rogers Clark plays all five Lexington public schools this year. The Cards have lost to Bryan Station and Dunbar. After Lafayette, they play new district rivals Henry Clay on Oct. 9 and Tates Creek on Oct. 16.
Key to victory: The Cards have to contain Eric Shaw Jr., who had 327 all-purpose yards and three TDs against Franklin County.
Lexington Catholic at Madison Central
Records: No. 30 Lexington Catholic 2-2 (lost to Lone Oak 52-49 in OT); No. 38 Madison Central 0-3 (lost to Ballard 37-7)
Radio: WMJR-AM 1380
Most for Least: In LexCath's first three games Ryne Least had a total of five catches for 61 yards. Against Lone Oak he had nine catches for 238 yards and three TDs.
All comers: Madison Central's three losses have been to teams in different classes — 2A Newport Central Catholic (38-12), 5A John Hardin (41-17) and 6A Ballard (37-7). Next up is 4A LexCath. Madison Central is 0-3 for the first time since 1994.
Key to victory: If LexCath wants to contend for a state title, it better shore up its defense. Over the last two weeks the Knights have surrendered 1,029 yards and 101 points in losses to St. X and Lone Oak.
Paul Dunbar at Tates Creek
Records: No. 101 Dunbar 2-2 (beat George Rogers Clark 13-7); No. 74 Tates Creek 1-2 (did not play)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630
Blooming Rose: The Bulldogs got a lift from John Rose last week. The 6-2, 180-pound sophomore ran 16 times for 58 yards and a TD, and caught a 64-yard TD pass against George Rogers Clark. Dunbar's offense, averaging 14.5 points and 230 yards, needs all the boost it can get.
Cashing in: When Tates Creek has had a chance to score, it has made good. The Commodores are 7-for-7 in converting red-zone possessions into TDs. A not-so-good statistic shows Tates Creek is only 4-for-39 on third-down conversions.
Key to victory: On paper, this looks like a low-scoring game, with the defenses dominating. Whichever team can break a big play or two figures to win.
Top state games
Male at St. Xavier: A Male victory would elevate the Bulldogs to top-contender status with St. X and Trinity.
Owensboro at Bowling Green: Bragging rights as best 5A team in Western Kentucky are on the line.
AROUND THE STATE
Titans honor Tankers: Mercer County's football program will permanently retire football jersey No. 66 in a ceremony before Friday's home game against Boyle County. It is the Titans' way of honoring the 66 Kentucky National Guard members, known as the Harrodsburg Tankers, who fought the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II. Many of the men endured the Bataan Death March, and 29 died from disease, malnutrition or poor treatment.
Mercer County assistant coach Bart Bredar got the idea to honor the Tankers after showing his classes a documentary on them. "I'm not from Harrodsburg, so I was amazed at this history," Bredar said. "These men were true heroes." A framed No. 66 jersey will be given to the Kentucky National Guard, the VFW of Harrodsburg, and Mercer County High School. The Titans will also wear a decal on their helmets from now on. "The character, honor and integrity of these men made them people worth emulating," Bredar said.
Double whammy: St. Xavier and Trinity both lost last Friday — St. X to Cincinnati St. X, and Trinity to Cincinnati Elder. It was the first time in six years the Louisville powerhouses fell on the same night. On Sept. 5, 2003, Lexington Catholic beat St. X, and Manual beat Trinity. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Sept. 30, 1994, to find the Tigers and Shamrocks losing on the same Friday.