Pikeville at Hazard

Who: Pikeville (7-2) at Hazard (6-3)

Kickoff: Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Daniel Field, Hazard.

Coaches: Pikeville, Chris McNamee. Hazard, Dan Howard.

Notes: Pikeville is coming off of a 49-0 shutout win over Phelps in district action, while Hazard is coming off of a 14-0 district road win over Sayre.

The winner will earn the No. 1 seed in the Class A playoffs, but both teams have secured a first round playoff win with their wins over district opponents Phelps and Sayre.

Pikeville rolled to a 43-7 win over Sayre in district action and the 49-0 shutout win over Phelps last week.

But Pikeville will be thinking about last season’s loss to the Bulldogs in the second round of the Class A playoffs.

Last season Pikeville rolled to a 43-7 regular season win over Hazard, but once the playoffs rolled around, the Bulldogs pulled off a 21-12 upset win over the Panthers.

The Panthers had success on offense against Hazard in last year’s playoff game.

Pikeville threw for 151 yards and rushed for 152. That’s 303 total yards of offense, but they only found the end zone twice.

Hazard’s defense bent, but didn’t ever break in that game.

Isaac McNamee was nine for 16 for 102 yards and two interceptions.

Blake Birchfield rushed for 63 yards and a TD on eight carries. Brayden Thomas followed with 51 yards and a TD on nine carries. McNamee rushed for 18 yards and Zac Lockhart added five yards on the ground.

Lockhart was held to only 25 yards receiving on five catches.

Wade Hensley led the Panthers with a 49-yard reception.

Pikeville will be ready Friday night.

Now for Hazard, in that game it was the Max Johnson show for the Bulldogs.

Johnson had a great all-around game.

Johnson rushed for 107 yards and a TD on 23 carries. He added three catches for 54 yards receiving.

Johnson’s success on the ground, helped the Bulldogs move the chains and eat the clock up on Pikeville.

But his offense wasn’t the all he did.

On defense, he had nine tackles and two interceptions. He returned one of the interceptions for a TD to seal the win late in the game.

Johnson was all over the field and was the difference maker.

So what’s different this time around?

A lot.

Pikeville knows what to expect and the Panthers will be fired up to get back at the Bulldogs.

But Hazard has improved also.

The Bulldogs have a young talented quarterback who has been getting better and better and their secondary is very good.

It should make for an interesting matchup.

Who 2 Watch: For Pikeville, Blake Birchfield. For Hazard, Max Johnson.

Both running backs will try and control the game behind their offensive lines.

Pikeville boasts one of the best offensive lines in the state regardless of class.

That has paid big dividends for Birchfield.

Birchfield leads the state in rushing yards in all classes with 1,408 and is second in average yards per game with 176 rushing yards per game.

Birchfield has been dynamic this season.

Look for the Panthers to feed him the ball behind their powerful line.

Hazard had a really good line last season and they have performed well again this year.

Johnson won’t sneak up on the Panthers this time, though.

But the Bulldogs will have to win in a similar fashion as last year.

But with Pikeville probably preparing for that, can Johnson still control the game?

If so, the Bulldogs might have a chance.

The top seed in the district will decided Friday night.

Sayre at Phelps

Who: Sayre (6-2) at Phelps (2-7)

Kickoff: Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Gaino Stiltner Field, Marty Casey Stadium, Phelps.

Coaches: Sayre, Chad Pennington. Phelps, Andrew West.

Notes: Sayre fell to Hazard 14-0 in district action, while Phelps fell to Pikeville 49-0 in district play.

This contest will determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in Class A District 7 action.

Both teams will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs with two district losses each.

This game will also give one of the teams their first district win of the season.

Sayre was good before district play started.

The Spartans started the season 6-0.

But since, it’s been tough sailing.

In district play, Sayre has only scored seven total points.

Both Pikeville and Hazard slowed down quarterback Cole Pennington’s production.

This season, Cole Pennington is 115 for 180 passing for 1,450 yards and 14 TDs with two interceptions.

In district play, Cole Pennington is 29 for 55 passing for 213 yards, no TDs and an interception.

He was averaging 206 passing yards per game, until district play.

He will have to have a big game against Phelps if the Spartans want to win.

Phelps is looking to stop a four game slide.

It will be a tough game for the Hornets, though.

Phelps had more success running the ball against Pikeville than Sayre, but the Spartans did better through the pass game.

Both teams had similar offensive outputs against the Panthers. The Spartans had 119 total yards of offense compared to Phelps’ 122 total yards.

But Phelps was better offensively against Hazard than Sayre.

Against Hazard, the Hornets gained 224 totally yards of offense and had one score, while Sayre gained 151 total yards of offense and was shutout.

It could be an interesting game Friday night.

Who 2 Watch: For Phelps, the defensive line.

Pikeville and Hazard both had success by pressuring Cole Pennington and making him get the ball out of his hands sooner than he wanted to.

The pressure made easy throws a lot tougher.

The Hornets will have to win the line at scrimmage and use the pressure to make Cole Pennington to get rid of the ball sooner than he wants.

If they can create pressure and maybe bring him down with a sack or hurry, it makes things tougher on the whole offense.

That could lead to an interception or turnover.

Phelps will have to make things difficult for Cole Pennington if they want to pick up the win Friday night.

Belfry

at Pike Central

Who: Belfry (3-5) at Pike Central (3-6)

Kickoff: Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Hawks Nest, Buckleys Creek.

Coaches: Belfry, Philip Haywood. Pike Central, Ronn Varney.

Notes: Belfry rolled to a 43-13 win over Lawrence County in district action last week, while Pike Central fell to Magoffin County 76-54 in district play.

If the Pirates win, the lock up the No. 1 seed heading and ensure home field advantage the first two rounds of the Class 3A playoffs.

Pike Central looks like they will enter the Class 3A playoffs with the No. 4 seed even if the Hawks upset the Pirates because of their losses to Lawrence County and Magoffin County.

Chances are we’ll see these two teams square off again in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Belfry has won three straight games after opening the season 0-5.

That slow start had to do more with the Pirates’ schedule and being inexperienced against such stiff competition.

As always, it looks like coach Philip Haywood’s team is on track to make some noise in the Class 3A playoffs.

A lot of folks thought that Lawrence County would give the Pirates a game last week, but Belfry reminded everyone that they are Belfry.

The Pirates stuck to the game plan and cruised to the big win.

Belfry rushed for 348 yards as a team.

Most of that came from standout Isaac Dixon.

Dixon led the way for the Pirates with 186 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.

Zayne Hatfield and Dre Young each rushed for 57 yards on the night; Young scored two TDs, though and Hatfield didn’t find his way into the end zone.

Neal Copley also added 19 yards on the ground and a score on three carries. Braxton Hatfield added 13 yards on two carries. Austin Harlow followed with 10 yards on two carries and quarterback Caden Woolum rushed for six yards and a TD on four carries.

Belfry’s offense has looked a lot better since Woolum has settled in at quarterback.

It helped get Dixon back on track and take some extra pressure off of him.

On defense, freshman Isaiah Stanley has been getting better and better and against Lawrence County he had 17 tackles. Kade Justice followed with 13 and Hatifled added 11. Copley had 10 tackles on the night.

Dixon came up with an interception, the only Pirate turnover of the night.

Pike Central and Magoffin County lit the scoreboard up for the second straight season last Friday night.

In 2020, the Hawks picked up an 82-52 win over the Hornets. That was the game that Matt Anderson rushed for over 400 yards and set a new state record with nine TDs in a game.

Last Friday, Anderson had another big game, just not quite as big as last year.

Anderson finished the night with 305 yards on the ground and five TDs on 29 carries against Magoffin County.

Quarterback Tayvian Boykins was two for seven passing for 31 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 165 yards and two TDs on 19 carries.

Pike Central has a really good offense, but the question is can the Hawks defense slow Belfry down?

The Hawks have to slow Belfry’s offense down and still score points.

That’s a tough task to pull off.

Who 2 Watch: For Belfry, Isaac Dixon. For Pike Central, Matt Anderson.

Dixon is one of the top running backs in the state regardless what class he plays in and Anderson is in that same conversation.

Dixon is a speedy back and can do a little bit of everything and is a big part in the Pirate defense as well.

Anderson likes to run the ball and run the ball and run some more.

The running back with the most success could determine which team leaves the field with a win or loss Friday night.

Bath County

at Shelby Valley

Who: Bath County (5-4) at Shelby Valley (4-4)

Kickoff: Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Johnson Brothers Athletic Complex, Robinson Creek.

Coaches: Bath County, Chris Lane. Shelby Valley, Anthony Hampton.

Notes: Bath County edged Prestonsburg 21-20 at home last week in district play, while Shelby Valley rolled to a 60-12 district win over East Ridge.

This will be the final district game for both teams and will determine who the No. 3 seed and No. 4 seed heading into the Class 2A playoffs.

The winner of the contest will enter the Class 2A playoffs as the No. 3 seed and have to travel to Martin County. The loser of the contest will enter the playoffs with the No. 4 seed and have to travel to West Carter for the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.

But both teams will get in.

Bath County secured their spot with a win over Prestonsburg last week. Even if they lose and Prestonsburg knocks off Martin County, the Wildcats will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Blackcats.

Quarterback Jacob Easton leads the Bath County offense. Easton is 42 for 103 passing for 567 yards and three TDs with seven interceptions on the season. He has added 242 rushing yards and four TDs on 24 carries.

Quentin Lewis leads the rushing attack for Bath County. Lewis has rushed for 920 yards and 17 TDs on 129 carries this season. Carter Hart followed with 425 rushing yards and four TDs on 80 carries.

Zachary Otis leads the Bath County wide receivers with eight receptions for 192 yards and a TD. Jordan Everman follows with 11 catches for 148 yards and a TD. Hunter McCoy has seven catches for 117 yards and a TD.

Hart leads the defense with 57 tackles and three sacks. Hayden Meeks follows with 50 tackles and three sacks.

Bath County has 14 sacks on the season. Bath County has created 11 turnovers as well. Bath County has recovered six fumbles and came away with five interceptions.

Shelby Valley’s offense was dynamic last week.

When the Wildcats get going, they can put up a lot of yards and points.

The Wildcats had 574 yards of total offense last week. Shelby Valley passed for 180 yards and rushed for 394.

Russ Osborne had a big game against East Ridge as he was 12 for 17 passing for 172 yards and a TD. He also added 47 rushing yards and a TD on four carries.

Running back Jayden Newsome rushed for a team-high 177 yards and two TDs on 12 carries. Ethan Bentley followed with 168 yards rushing and four TDs on 12 carries; he also scored on five-two point conversions as well.

Shelby Valley’s defense also stepped up and slowed down a good East Ridge offense holding them to just 12 points on the night.

The Wildcats had five team sacks and finished the night forcing four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumble recoveries).

If Shelby Valley puts together another performance like last week the Wildcats should have a chance to pick up a home win over Bath County.

Who 2 Watch: For Shelby Valley, Gavin Branham.

Branham is a force up front on both sides of the ball.

He is the leader on the offensive and defensive lines.

Last week, he had an excellent all-around game.

He finished with six tackles and two and 1/2 sacks on defense.

On the season, he has 47 tackles (11 of those for a loss) and two and 1/2 sacks. He also also forced a fumble as well.

Look for Branham to set the tone for the Wildcats Friday night.

West Carter at East Ridge

Who: West Carter (6-2) at East Ridge (2-6)

Kickoff: Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Warrior Field, Lick Creek.

Coaches: West Carter, Daniel Barker. East Ridge, Donnie Burdine.

Notes: West Carter is coming off of a 35-14 win over Martin County in district action, while East Ridge is coming off of a 60-12 loss to district rival Shelby Valley.

This will be the final regular season district game for both teams.

The Comets secured the No. 1 seed heading into the Class 2A playoffs with its win over Martin County last week. Even if East Ridge pulled the upset win, the Comets hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Martin County.

East Ridge will be on the outside looking in when it comes to the Class 2A playoffs. The Warriors haven’t won a game in district action this season.

West Carter is led by quarterback Eli Estepp. Estepp is 57 for 118 passing for 1,134 yards and 13 TDs with four interceptions.

Running back Cole Crampton is having a big season as well as he has rushed for 989 yards and 13 TDs on 166 carries.

Jackson Bond leads the Comet wide receivers with 17 catches for 419 yards and three TDs. Blake McGlone follows with 21 catches for 320 yards and four TDs. Crampton has added eight catches for 215 yards and three TDs.

Isaac Bond leads the Comet defense with 62 tackles and 1/2 sack. Conner Greene has 68 tackles and a sack.

The Comet defense has forced six turnovers this season. They have recovered four fumbles and have two interceptions.

East Ridge has been plagued with injuries all season.

Losing standout Jo Jo Ratliff earlier this season really took the air out of the Warrior defense.

East Ridge has been pretty good on offense.

But the Warriors will have to put together a complete game if they want to upset West Carter.

Dylan Burdine has been the leader for the Warrior offense.

Burdine is 99 for 168 passing for 1,594 yards and 14 TDs with four interceptions. He also leads the rushing attack with 609 yards on the ground and 14 TDs on 121 carries.

Nathan Martin is second in rushing with 232 yards and two TDs. Zack Mason has added 155 yards on 29 carries. Isaiah Adkins has 114 yards and a TD on 27 carries. Gabe Mullins has added 101 yards on 31 carries.

Brad Howell leads the East Ridge receivers with 23 catches for 503 yards and seven TDs. Adkins follows with 25 catches for 386 yards and three TDs. Mason has 29 catches for 338 yards and a TD. Landon Robinson has 12 catches for 210 yards and two TDs.

Dalton Caudill leads the defense with 93 tackles and two sacks. Mason follows with 63 tackles and Mullins has 51 tackles on the season.

The Warriors have forced 10 turnovers on the season. East Ridge has recovered seven fumbles and came away with three interceptions.

Who 2 Watch: The East Ridge run game.

East Ridge only gained 60 yards on the ground against Shelby Valley.

The Warriors will have to get creative and maybe get the ball to Adkins and Mason on sweeps to take some pressure off of the backfield.

Burdine likes to scramble, but last week against Shelby Valley, the run game wasn’t as effective.

If the Warriors can run the ball and slow things down and keep the chains and clock moving, then they might stand a better chance against a really good West Carter team.