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Shelby Valley at East Ridge

Who: Shelby Valley (4-1) at East Ridge (1-4)

Kickoff: Friday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Warrior Field, Lick Creek.

Coaches: Shelby Valley, Anthony Hampton. East Ridge, Ben Runyon.

Notes: Shelby Valley is coming off of a 49-36 win over district rival, while East Ridge is coming off of a 50-34 win over district rival Bath County.

If the Wildcats knock off the Warriors this week and Bath County next week, Shelby Valley will lock up the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game in the Class 2A playoffs.

Last week, East Ridge’s win over Bath County looks like it will at least lock up the No. 4 seed in the Class 2A playoffs for the Warriors. If East Ridge can upset Shelby Valley Friday night and West Carter next week, the Warriors could potentially climb higher than the No. 4 seed in Class 2A District 8 playoffs.

Shelby Valley’s offense has been an adjustment for everybody this season.

The Wildcats haven’t been known for their passing game in the recent past.

But that changed this season.

Why?

Freshman quarterback Russ Osborne.

That’s why.

Osborne isn’t a typical freshman quarterback.

He has a great feel in the pocket and can make all throws. He is also a threat to run the ball.

The Shelby Valley offensive line had to have time to adjust from being run blockers to passing blockers too.

Shelby Valley likes to spread teams out and get as many people as possible involved in the offense.

Osborne isn’t afraid to throw to any receiver on the field.

On the season, Osborne is 49 for 92 passing for 862 yards and eight TDs with only two interceptions. He is also second on the team in rushing with 235 yards and four TDs on 36 carries.

Osborne has completed passes to 10 different receivers this season and has thrown TDs to five different receivers.

On defense, Lincoln Biliiter is having a big season for the Wildcats. Billiter leads the team in tackles with 46 total tackles and a team-high two sacks. He also has an interception.

Last week, Isaiah Adkins had himself a game for East Ridge.

Adkins rushed for 230 yards and four TDs on 16 carries in the Warriors’ win.

Jeremy Taylor also rushed for 111 yards and two TDs on 19 carries.

Adkins and Taylor are a good one-two punch in the East Ridge backfield. Taylor runs with power and tries to open the middle, while Adkins does his best work on the edges.

Quarterback Zack Mason was two for four passing last week against Bath County for 21 yards, while Landon Robinson was also two for four passing for 18 yards.

Taylor also led the defense in the win against Bath County with 13 total tackles and a sack. Connor Puckett followed with 12 total tackles and a sack of his own. Dalton Caudill added 11 total tackles and Casey Kendrick also reached double figures in tackles with 10 total tackles.

East Ridge has been getting better week-by-week and it finally paid off with the Warriors’ first win of the season.

In five games this season, the Warriors have surpassed their total scoring from 10 games last season. In 10 games last season, East Ridge scored 106 total points all season. Through five games this season, the Warriors have scored 124 points. You don’t always see improvement, but if you look at the statistics, the Warriors are improving on both sides of the ball.

Last season, the Warriors defense gave up 415 points in 10 games. That was an average of 41.5 points per game. This season, the Warrior defense is slightly better as they are giving up 36 points per game.

East Ridge will be a heavy underdog next week against West Carter, but the Warriors will have a shot to win their final two games against Knott Central and Betsy Layne.

Who 2 Watch: For Shelby Valley, sophomore running back Jayden Newsome. For East Ridge, Isaiah Adkins.

Newsome is having a solid sophomore season. He leads the Wildcat rushing attack with 502 yards and five TDs on 54 carries.

Last season, Newsome rushed for 1,114 yards and seven TDs.

He is on pace to surpass his freshman season stats.

Newsome had one of his best showings on the season last week. He rushed for 229 yards and three TDs on 21 carries.

If Newsome has a big week, look for the Wildcats to have a chance to pick up another big district win.

Adkins is having a big season for the Warriors. He leads the team in rushing with 605 yards and eight TDs on 75 carries.

Adkins runs with speed and power.

He will have to have his best performance of the season if the Warriors want to come up with the upset win over the Wildcats.

Hazard at Pikeville

Who: Hazard (0-4) at Pikeville (4-1)

Kickoff: Friday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Hillard Howard Field, Hambley Athletic Complex, Pikeville.

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

Notes: Hazard was on a Bye Week last week due to COVID-19 at Harlan County, while Pikeville cruised to a 54-6 win over district rival Phelps.

If Pikeville wins, the Panthers will get the No. 1 seed in the district and earn a first round Bye in the opening week of the Class A playoffs. District 7 only consists of three teams leaving the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds to play each other in the opening round and giving the No. 1 seed the first round Bye.

Hazard has struggled this season.

In four games, the Bulldogs have been outscored 147-49.

The Bulldog defense is giving up 36.75 points per game, while the offense is only averaging 12.25 points per game.

Hazard needs to get off to a good start.

Look for the Bulldogs to try and slow the game down and rely on their run game.

Hazard wants to clock to eat up as much time as possible to keep the high potent Pikeville offense off the field.

But the problem with that is that Pikeville’s defensive line and front seven on defense are really strong and quick.

The Bulldogs will have to try and find a power run game.

Hazard is more effective throwing the ball this season with Garrett Miller, so they might try to spread Pikeville out and use quick hitters in the passing game to try to get some one-on-one coverage in space.

Whatever the Bulldogs plan of attack is on offense, they will have to put together long sustained drives to keep Pikeville off the field.

But Pikeville’s defense is playing just as well as the offense this season.

Pikeville’s offense is clicking and quarterback Isaac McNamee is starting to develop some depth at the wide receiver spot other than Zac Lockhart.

He has completed passes to eight other receivers that aren’t named Zac Lockhart.

Lockhart leads the team by far in receptions with 32 receptions for 579 yards and nine TDs. Blake Birchfield follows with nine catches for 101 yards and a TD. Wade Hensley has five catches for 62 yards and a TD. Jeb Wilkerson has two catches for 50 yards. Grant Scott has added a 42-yard catch and Brandon Lowe has four catches for 32 yards and a TD.

McNamee is still searching for a clear cut No. 2 receiver because Birchfield is the team’s top running back this season with 475 yards and five TDs on 79 carries.

McNamee is 54 for 88 passing for 876 yards and 12 TDs with three interceptions.

This is Pikeville’s last scheduled regular season game at the moment after Knox Central cancelled its November 6 meeting with the Panthers to make up a district game.

Pikeville could sit out the last three weeks of the regular season and the opening round of the playoffs if the Panthers can’t add any games in the last three weeks of regular season play.

Who 2 Watch: For Hazard, watch for the duo of Max Johnson and Tyson Turner. For Pikeville, watch for Nate Collins.

Turner and Johnson are the Bulldogs’ No. 1 and 2 running backs and receivers.

Turner leads the rushing attack with 235 yards and a TD with 29 carries. Johnson follows with 118 yards and a TD on 18 carries.

Turner also leads the receivers with 14 catches for 199 yards and a TD, while Johnson is on his heels with 10 catches for 198 yards and a score.

On defense, Johnson is second on the team in tackles with 29 total tackles, while Turner has 18 total tackles. Johnson also has an interception and has forced a fumble.

Collins is having a big season on offense and defense for the Panthers.

Collins missed the game against Campbell County that the Panthers lost.

On the season, Collins is second on the team in rushing with 281 yards and four TDs on 28 carries.

On defense, Collins has 25 total tackles; two of those are for losses. Collins also leads the Panthers in sacks with two.

If Collins has a big game, look for the Panthers to pull out the big win.

Magoffin County at Pike Central

Who: Magoffin County (3-2) at Pike Central (2-3)

Kickoff: Friday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Hawks Nest, Buckleys Creek.

Coaches: Magoffin County, Chris Gamble. Pike Central, Eric Ratliff.

Notes: Magoffin County picked up a 44-24 win over district rival Floyd Central last week, while Pike Central fell to district rival Lawrence County 29-28.

Pike Central had a chance to earn at least the No. 2 seed against Lawrence County if the Hawks could’ve pulled out the win last week.

The Hornets and the Hawks will battle it out for the No. 3 seed this week. Floyd Central looks like it will be the odd team out of the playoff picture in the five-team Class 3A District 8 race.

Magoffin County has wins over Betsy Layne, Martin County and Floyd Central this season, while the Hornets dropped games to Belfry and Lawrence County.

Magoffin County likes to air the ball out.

Quarterback Lucas Litteral leads the way for the Hornets. He is 52 for 114 passing for 995 yards and 12 TDs with four interceptions.

Aden Barnett leads the wide receivers with 18 catches for 363 yards and six TDs. Brad Standifer follows with 15 catches for 356 yards and three TDs. Isaiah Salyer has 12 catches for 151 yards and two TDs.

Caleb Howard leads the running game with 162 yards on 15 carries. Barnett follows with 94 rushing yards and three TDs on 14 carries. Litteral leads the team with 24 carries, but he has only rushed for 74 yards and two TDs.

Magoffin County’s offense has been solid all season, except for being shutout by Lawrence County. In five games, the Hornets have scored 156 points. That’s good for 31.2 points per game.

Pike Central can score the ball as well.

So look for this game to be an offensive shootout.

In five games, Pike Central has scored 186 points. That’s good for an average of 37.2 points per game for the Hawks.

Pike Central put up 70 against Floyd Central and followed it with a 50-point performance against Phelps.

The Hawks don’t air the ball out, though.

Pike Central has rushed for 2,029 yards on the season, while just throwing for 124 yards.

The Hawks boast four running backs to rush for over 300 yards this season.

Matt Anderson leads the Pike Central rushing attack with 666 yards and seven TDs on 87 carries. Keegan Bentley follows with 581 yards and nine TDs on 58 carries. Quarterback Tayvian Boykins has rushed for 414 yards and five TDs on 56 carries. Noah Iricks has rushed for 303 yards and two TDs on 30 carries.

Who 2 Watch: The defenses.

Both teams can score the ball, but both teams have trouble stopping the opposing offense.

Magoffin County’s defense has given up 138 points this season. That’s an average of 27.6 points per game.

Pike Central’s defense has given up 204 points this season. The Hawk defense is giving up 40.8 points per game.

The defense to step up and make the most stops or create the most turnovers, might be the difference between a win or a loss.

Belfry at Lawrence County

Who: Belfry (3-2) at Lawrence County (2-0)

Kickoff: Friday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Luke Varney Athletic Complex, Louisa.

Coaches: Belfry, Philip Haywood. Lawrence County, Alan Short.

Notes: Belfry fell to Class 6A North Hardin 21-20 last week, while Lawrence County pulled out a 29-28 win over Pike Central.

The winner of this contest should be the No. 1 seed heading in the Class 3A playoffs from District 8.

The Pirates had a bad snap on an extra-point late and Lawrence County made the only extra-point kick against Pike Central last week.

So both teams know the importance of the kicking game.

Belfry learned a lot and grew up a lot against such a tough opponent.

Lawrence County started the season late.

The Pirates are rounding into shape and the run game looks a lot different from their early season loss to Pikeville.

Belfry’s defensive line is also getting better and better each week.

Last week, Belfry quarterback Brett Coleman had a fantastic game. Coleman led the running attack with 150 yards rushing and three TDs on 21 carries.

Standout Isaac Dixon showed he is willing to do whatever it takes to win for the Pirates. Dixon has emerged as one of the state’s top running backs. Last week, he played the fullback role in Belfry’s offense.

Was he effective?

Absolutely.

Dixon finished the game with 135 rushing yards on 25 carries. He showed he can run up the middle or on the outside like he’s known for.

Dixon is a complete back that doesn’t get the credit he deserves on the state scene.

Look for the Pirates to make improvements from last week.

Lawrence County shutout Magoffin County 39-0 in their opener two weeks ago and followed with a last second win over Pike Central last week.

But this week, the step up in play might be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.

Quarterback Alex Strickland is three for nine passing on the season for 58 yards and a TD. He has added 108 yards and four TDs on 25 carries.

Running back Dylan Ferguson leads the Bulldog rushing attack with 265 yards and three TDs on 28 carries.

Who 2 Watch: For Belfry, the defensive line.

The Pirates put pressure on North Hardin quarterback Manie Wimberly last week and held the Trojan running game to just 113 rushing yards on the night.

Last week, the Pirates held University of Kentucky commit Lavell Wright to 108 rushing yards and a TD on 20 carries.

Belfry won the battle at the line, but North Hardin made enough plays in the pass game to pull out a close win.

Belfry just keeps getting better.

The Pirates get to the ball quick and close any holes as fast as they open.

Look for Belfry to pick up a big district win if the defensive line has a big game.

Phelps at Sayre

Who: Phelps (1-4) at Sayre (5-0)

Kickoff: Friday, October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Kentucky Christian University, Grayson.

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

Notes: Phelps is coming off of a 54-6 loss to Pikeville in district action, while Sayre knocked off Carroll County 28-13.

Phelps is trying to get back in the win column after dropping two straight games.

Last season, the Hornets knocked off Sayre 41-13.

The Hornets are putting up big offensive numbers, but it’s not paying off in the win column.

Phelps has scored 151 points in five games. That’s good for 30.2 points per game.

The Hornet defense has given up 217 points this season, though. That’s an average of giving up 43.4 points per game.

The Hornets have played up in class in every game, but two. Phelps won against Class A Betsy Layne 54-26, but fell to reigning Class A state champion Pikeville 54-6 last week.

Phelps has played Class 2A Martin County and Shelby Valley and Class 3A Pike Central.

Last week, Pikeville held senior quarterback Dom Francis in check. Francis was three for eight passing for 34 yards. He rushed for a team-high 49 yards on 11 carries as well.

Francis will have to bounce back and have a big game this week if the Hornets want to pick up a big road win.

The Hornets held a 28-20 lead against Pike Central in the third quarter a couple of weeks ago, but the Hawks wore down Phelps with the numbers game.

Sayre is a small school, so that shouldn’t be as big of a concern this week.

The Spartans opened the season with a 38-34 win over Eminence in the season opener. Then Sayre followed it with a 42-6 win over Berea. The Spartans picked up a 40-0 shutout win over Trimble County in Week 3. Sayre then knocked off Covington Holy Cross 28-14 in Week 4. Last week, the Spartans knocked off Carroll County 28-13.

Sayre coach Chad Pennington should be a familiar name to most football fans. Pennington was a standout at Marshall before having a successful NFL career. Pennington was the starting quarterback for the New York Jets for the best part of his career.

Last season, Pennington took over as head coach at Sayre and the Spartans went 1-9.

This is just the third year of playing football for the Spartans.

Pennington has turned the program around this season.

He will try and lead them to their sixth straight win Friday night against Phelps.

Quarterback Cole Pennington leads the way for the Spartan offense. He is 97 for 137 passing for 1,208 yards and 18 TDs with two interceptions on the season.

Caleb Kern leads the way for the running attack with 195 yards and a TD on 39 carries. Jackson Marshall follows with 155 yards and three TDs on 15 carries.

Trey Dennis leads the wide receivers with 43 receptions for 508 yards and 10 TDs. Marshall follows with 26 catches for 284 yards and three TDs. Gory Givens has 11 catches for 152 yards and two TDs.

Who 2 Watch: For Phelps, Dom Francis.

Don’t expect Francis to have another game like he did against Pikeville.

Francis has been putting up big numbers for the Hornets all season.

He can run and pass the ball.

On the season, Francis is 29 for 59 passing for 454 yards and four TDs.

He also leads the team with 817 rushing yards and nine TDs on 86 carries.

Francis will have to have a big game if the Hornets want to pick up a big win over Sayre.

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