Caldwell County vs. Christian County…

As promised, and coming into the 2018 season opener, we have the Caldwell County Tigers, from the 3A Classification, opening on the road in the Jerry Claiborne Bowl, against the 5A Christian County Colonels.  Here’s a break down of that match-up and, at the end, the KPGFootball opinion as to whom will win Friday night!

For the visiting Tigers…

Jaggers

Caldwell County was 10-3 in 2017 and lost in the state quarters to E-Town High School at home. The Tigers opened on August 18, 2017 at home against the Colonels, who beat them 27-10 in a game which was much closer than that but got away from the home team late. It was QB Joby Jagger’s first start under center upon Shane Burns electing to forego his senior year of high school to concentrate on baseball. Since that time, Jagger’s has proven himself to be one of the most efficient, effective, and skilled QBs in the western end of the Commonwealth throwing for nearly 2,500 yards in 2017 and 28 TD passes. The Tigers return two of the top seniors in Kentucky in Jameer and Trel Riley and one of the top receivers in Kentucky in Oliver Parker. The biggest thing to watch in this one is how the Tiger defense fairs against what figures to be a ground based attack without its three top run stoppers from a year ago, Will Beshear, Dylan Gray, and probably the best LB KPGFootball personally saw play in 2017, Hunter VanHooser. With all the offensive weaponry returning, Caldwell County will find the end zone, will they be able to stop the Colonel ground forces from grinding out yards, controlling the clock, shortening the game, and limiting Jaggers and crew from getting too many opportunities? Well, that is the 64 dollar question, now isn’t it?

For the home-standing Colonels…

Source credited on Photo

Unfortunately for the Colonels, the team which will take the field against Caldwell County High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on Friday night will bear scant resemblance to the team which beat the Tigers on August 18th of last year. The Colonels lost 23 seniors from off its 11-1 football team, in 2017, to include an all-time career, quarterback in both passing yards and TDs thrown in Kolbe Langhi, its top receiver in JaQuon Long, a back-four guy good enough to be playing in the Big Ten this fall in Cory Trice, its most imposing defensive lineman in Peyton Leneave, its second leading rusher in Diion Leavell, and two of its top tacklers in Shamar Foster and Artriavious Gaither. In toto, the Colonels lost 17 starters from a year ago, out of its 22 offensive and defensive positions, to graduation. Now add to that the fact its second leading receiver, Ellis Dunn, transferred to Hopkinsville High School and the Langhi brothers, Jude and Zack, both decided to attend the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and that is 20 starters gone from off of last year’s roster. The Colonels will go huge in the backfield, out of the I-formation, with big, 280 pound, Jaylen McGee at fullback leading the way for Jadonavin “TT” McNeal, last year’s leading rusher.  For the Colonels to stay in this one, the offense line, which will have only two returning starters (Adrian Ybarra at center; Seth Riley at guard) needs to be able to open holes and be effective in the ground game and keep QBs Donte Abren and J’Lin Powell from being flushed from the pocket, though Powell’s having to create with his feet is a more attractive proposition than the drop-back, pro-style, starter in Abren.

Matchups to monitor…

Watch how well Jaggers and the Rileys match up with what amounts to new and unproven 2nd and 3rd level defenders for the Colonels on defense. Watch how well new QB, Donte Abren, holds up against pressure and whether he can make plays with his feet, particularly in late down and short distance situations like his predecessor was able to do for his offense. Watch how well transfer J’Lin Powell is able to figure into the Colonels’ offensive plans at QB, being relatively new to the offensive system and not having as many practice reps as Abren. Watch how well the Colonels are able to run right at Caldwell County’s defense behind the blocking of the 280 pound FB, McGee, and the 210 pound RB, McNeal; especially with the Tigers having to replace three LBs, from 2017, who were really fantastic, particularly in the run game. Watch and see if the new Colonel offensive front can either match or contain Sr. “Big” Ben Thompson and his D-line mates.

KPGFootball’s call…

It is really hard to make a call here largely because JV and freshmen football is largely uncovered in the Commonwealth. Sometimes losing a lot of starters makes performing very well impossible and sometimes the talent “down on the farm” so to speak just needed to players in front of them to get out of their way to permit them to shine. County’s players from off of last year’s team were fantastic and it is hard to imagine that what will be replacing them will be ready to either meet or exceed the standard set by last year’s players, at least not week zero. The Tigers have been picked loftily in its classification, this preseason, largely owing to its having a lot coming back, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and at key skill positions. We like the boys from Princeton, Kentucky in this one…

Caldwell County…28                                                Christian County…10

Reporting for KPGFootball, this is Fletcher Long reminding all of you ballers out there that #WeGotUCovered and to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE.

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