Friday Night Fletch picks the Semi-State Champions; and then there were four- @EddieEviston @Bluecolonels @pths_football @coachthomp9 @coach_marksbury @1776Bank @PrepSpin @KyHighFootball @kyhighs @HLpreps @840WHAS @sfitz_840whas @evans02_Mike @minguabeefjerky

Here come the Aces...Catholic takes the field

Six classifications have four remaining teams vying for title

…and then there were four. Well said. we have four teams in each of the six (6) classifications still contending. Out of some 222 football programs in Kentucky, there are 24 who will get the honor of conducting practice on Thanksgiving Day. How will it flesh out this coming Friday Night? Friday Night Fletch and our staff will take a swipe at predicting that very thing.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

1A Semis-

Can Campbellsville slay the giant?

Friday Night Fletch

Pikeville (10-2) @ Campbellsville (11-1)

KPGFootball predicted score: Campbellsville 28, Pikeville 27

Campbellsville “Eagles”

Analysis: Somebody, someday has to slow or stop the Pikeville onslaught on the 1A crown. Pikeville consistently has the deepest talent, finest facilities, best coaching, and all the other amenities which add up to success at the high school level. However, this has sort of felt like Campbellsville’s year. They have come through every time, this season, we have attempted to discount them. We like them to advance to Kroger Field but by the slimmest of margins.

Raceland (10-3) @ KCD (11-2)

KPGFootball predicted score:  Raceland 28, Kentucky County Day (KCD) 20

Analysis: Raceland has seemed a “team of destiny” since beating Pikeville by a single point in the regular season. The Rams have played all comers this season and haven’t lost to a 1A team yet. They have lost three (3) games most 1A’s would have never scheduled. KCD is right in the title hunt this (like most) years. We don’t see them getting over the Rams, sorry Louisville.

2A Semis-

Owensboro Catholic seems destined to play for it all and it has felt that way to us all year

Friday Night Fletch

Beechwood (12-1) at Mayfield (11-1)

KPGFootball predicted score: Mayfield 35, Beechwood 28

Analysis: I know “B-Rad” and the crew at RedHelmet.com will be pleased to learn I am finished predicting some 2A juggernaut can invade War Memorial Stadium in Mayfield, Kentucky and beat Joe Morris’s Cardinals. Matter of fact, I may never again make such a prediction. Beechwood is good, and the defending champions beat this same Mayfield squad, by a single point, at Kroger Field a year ago; but, the Tigers don’t seem as unbeatable as some other Tiger squads have appeared to us in previous seasons. Besides that, the home field is worth a few points. At Mayfield, it may be worth a couple scores.

Somerset (10-3) at Owensboro Catholic (13-0)

KPGFootball predicted score: Owensboro Catholic 42, Somerset 20

Brady Atwell, “All-Dude”

Analysis: We have been very high on O. Cath all season. They have always been able to out-scheme higher caliber athletes and compete with programs with which it has previously had no business competing throughout its history. This year’s roster is different. We call anatomically great, high school football players, “dudes” and the not so great are called, “busters.” O. Cath is a roster which has thrived, notwithstanding a few “busters” laboring on its behalf throughout its football history. The Aces have quite a few “dudes” on the ’23 version of the roster. Do they have enough to win a 2A title? We don’t know. They do have enough to play for one.

3A Semis-

How far can Dudley Hilton ride his stud hoss of a RB?

Friday Night Fletch

Lexington Catholic 9-4 at Christian Academy-Louisville (12-1)

KPGFootball predicted score: Christian Academy-Louisville 31, Lexington Catholic 21

Analysis: Lexington Catholic’s school motto should be “Doing more with less.” We also think it should be in latin but we were unable to convert it for you. The Knights have been tough all season and have yet to lose a game to a 3A ball club. The same can be said of Christian Academy-Louisville, who will be referred to as “CAL” for the remainder of this analysis. Both of these two teams played Lexington Christian Academy (LCA) with Lex. Cath. losing to LCA by seven (49-42) on September 15 and CAL losing to LCA by two-points (14-12) on September 8. Make no mistake, Lex. Cath. has plenty of scheme and roster talent to invade Louisville and come away the winner. Will they? That is a completely different question. We like CAL in this game, Friday night, by 10-points. Call it a gut-feeling.

Bell County (12-1) at Hart County (13-0)

KPGFootball predicted score: Bell County 28, Hart County 27

Daniel Thomas, Bell County

Analysis: With every rung up the ladder, past the second round, the Hart County Raiders have climbed we have met it with, “they have never gone this far in the playoffs before now.” Head Coach, Chad Griffin, can’t be held responsible for what has gone along before; only what his team is presently doing. What they are doing it winning and going further in the playoffs than any Raider squad preceding it. Can they take the act to Lexington, Kentucky’s Kroger Field? They could. They have a few things standing in the way. They have a Bell County coach (Dudley Hilton) who is one of the greatest to ever stride a Kentucky HS sideline. They have a running back (Daniel Thomas) who has gained more yards in a single season than any RB to ever play the HS game in the Bluegrass before him. If there is nothing else you have learned this year, I hope you have learned legendary coaches are legendary for a reason and teams have to run the rock to advance in November/December. Hart County runs the rock just fine. However, no one pounds the rock any better than Daniel Thomas. At the end of the day, we believe the Dudley Hilton factor is too steep a climb to overcome. This game could go either way. We like Bell County by a single point.

4A Regionals-

Four (4), 13-0 squads do battle this weekend

Friday Night Fletch

Paducah Tilghman (13-0) at Covington Catholic (13-0)

KPGFootball predicted score: Covington Catholic 35, Tilghman 28

Analysis: We broke this game down in a “deep dive” analysis published yesterday. Here is the link to that article.

Boyle County (13-0) at Franklin County (13-0)

KPGFootball predicted score: Boyle County 35, Franklin County 14

John Griffin

Analysis: There is a great line from the movie, “Rudy,” delivered by the actor portraying Dan Devine, the coach of the “Fighting Irish” in the film. Devine isn’t portrayed too flatteringly; but, this line is solid gold. In the film, with the Irish about to take the field against the Georgia Tech Yellow-Jackets, Devine says, “No one, and I mean no onecomes into our house and pushes us around.” Obviously, Notre Dame was not playing Justin Haddix’s Boyle County Rebels. Boyle County pushes around exactly whomever they decide is worth pushing. We have liked them all year. We have believed them to be Kentucky’s best HS team all year. We like them Friday night. Sorry, Franklin County; it’s basketball season.

5A Semis-

We believe the Red Devils ready to shock the world…

Friday Night Fletch

Owensboro (9-4) @ Bowling Green (10-3)

KPGFootball predicted score: Owensboro 37, Bowling Green 34

Analysis: These are the two “Senior High Schools” still operating in Kentucky. Friday night, they will each play the other. There was a time, this season, we wouldn’t have made this pick. However, Owensboro “Senior” ran South Warren off the field in the second round, 53-22, and turned around and “running clocked” a tough Atherton squad in the Regionals, 43-7. Bowling Green played South Warren, beating them by seven points on October 13, 2023 at South Warren. Bowing Green beat Owensboro in Bowling Green, back in August, by 14-points. However, does this look like August to you? It doesn’t to us either. Owensboro doesn’t look like the same team today it was then. Bowling Green has drawn Owensboro Apollo, Graves County, and a seven (7)-win, six (6)-loss Fairdale team in the Regionals. Little question Owensboro (Senior High) has traveled a more difficult road to get here. Still, the Purples played for the title a year ago, losing to a team realigned into 6A, and have everybody back (practically). This game could go either way. We like the Red Devils by three.

Alexander

Cooper (11-2) @ Highlands (12-1)

KPGFootball predicted score: Ft. Thomas-Highlands 35, Cooper 21

Analysis: Highlands beat Cooper, and its superstar edge rusher, Austin Alexander, 58-51, in Union on September 22, something the commonwealth is now learning was no small accomplishment. Highlands gets the same Jaguars, in Fort Thomas, this coming Friday night. We have liked the “Bluebirds” all year and foreshadowed, many weeks ago, we thought them the best team in 5A. That is either because we know about what we are talking; or, it could mean we are a bunch of “old farts” sitting around and pontificating about the “glory days.” Either way, we’re taking Highlands to advance to Kroger Field.

6A Semis-

Kalen “Jaws” Washington has Bryan Station looking poised for hardware

Friday Night Fletch

Bryan Station (Lex., 10-3) at Ballard (10-3)

KPGFootball predicted score: Bryan Station 28, Ballard 24

Jaws” Washinton, ’25 RB

Analysis: We talked about Ballard on our radio show, “Friday Night Kentucky” which we co-host with NewsRadio 840WHAS’s Scott Fitzgerald. As we said then, Ballard looks like they should look, beats who they should beat; and, if the ball bounces its way, could win it all this or virtually any year at the 6A level. Bryan Station is a team we have discounted, and counted out, much of the year and they keep dong the same thing, over and over again…proving us wrong. The maturity and performance of ’25 RB, Kalen “Jaws” Washington, has The Defenders playing on a different plane coming into the semi-state matchup than they have at any other time this season. Washington was scintillating in the regionals, gaining 187-yards, and scoring a pair of rushing TDs, in his 19-carries against Ryle’s “Raiders.” These two teams played during the regular season with Bryan Station beating Ballard, by seven (28-21), in Louisville on September 8. We like the “Defenders” again Friday night, though we should mention it is always difficult to beat a team a second time in the same season. Just saying…

Frederick Douglass (“Freddy D,” 8-4) @ Trinity (10-3)

KPGFootball predicted score: Trinity 28, Freddy D 21

Analysis: Remember our telling you it is hard to beat the same team twice in a single season? Well, we should mention that Freddy D beat Trinity, 17-14, on August 26 in Louisville. The Broncos get to bus over to Louisville to find out if it can replicate that outcome with a little more riding on this game’s result. Trinity, winners of its last eight straight ball-games, has the best freshman QB in Kentucky, if not ever, in Zane Johnson. Johnson has thrown for 27-TDs, steering a program which “never plays freshmen,” or so was its claim prior to this season. Johnson has thrown for over 2,000 yards, his freshman season, and keeps leading his charges to victories, which really is the only meaningful statistic for this or any QB. Clinton Sansbury has scored 22-rushing TDs, and is the club’s leading scorer with over a thousand rushing yards on the year. Brady McEnaney has 12.5-TFLs and nine (9) QB-sacks from his LB-post. This game will either demonstrate Trinity’s progression since last seeing Freddy D or teach us (finally) that Freddy D may well be the class of big-boy, Kentucky football no matter how many out of Kentucky powerhouses beat them earlier in the year.

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you toPLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1532 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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