It could all come down to the placekicker and the Cardinals like their chances should that happen
We probably write more about PK’s than any of our competitors. There are three phases of a football game and the “third phase” or the special teams is too often overlooked. Lincoln Suiter won the game against 3A power, Paducah Tilghman, earlier this year. Could it come down to the junior specialist once more? Should it, he’ll be ready.Fletcher Long, Head of the Scouting Division, KPGFootball
Mayfield will host one of the hottest teams in 2A playing the game right now in LCA at War Memorial Stadium, Friday night. Of course, “Mighty Mayfield,” as the program is often referenced, enters the semi-state game with LCA (9-4) riding a perfect 13-0 slate.
The argument could be fairly made it is Mayfield which is the hottest team in the classification. The Cardinals are the only team left standing with an unblemished record after all.
Still, LCA is home to the South’s premier QB in Cutter Boley (’24) and a roster full of talent many other teams would be pleased to adopt anytime the Eagles should get tired of them. There are plenty of stars who may well factor into the outcome of the game. There is one we believe could play a quintessential role and it isn’t who you might think.
Zane Cartwright is one of the more effective and efficient QB’s in Kentucky’s ’24 graduating class. He may not possess the pizzazz of Boley (233 for 366 for 3,665-yards and 34-TD’s versus 14-picks), but it is hard to not admire a QB who has completed nearly 65% of his passing attempts (109/168) and thrown for 1,801-yards with a 7:1 TD to INT ratio (21-TD’s against only three (3) thrown picks).
Mayfield, even as good as Cartwright has proven himself to be, may not want this contest to come down to a battle of the QB’s. No team in Kentucky is winning that battle if the recruiting pundits are to be believed.
Should it come down to a kicker…well, that’s a whole other story. Mayfield is loaded at the PK position. With Lincoln Suiter being only a junior, this 3rd-phase superiority is one from which Mayfield may continue to benefit on into next season.
In the Regional Finals, against an undefeated Metcalfe team, Suiter was a perfect four (4) for four (4) in PAT’s. The final score settled on 28-0, so that statistic may have gone unnoticed.
However, go back to September 2, 2022 at home against defending 3A finalist Paducah Tilghman. Mayfield would win the game 16-14 on the strength of a closing FG from its left-footed star kicker. By golly, Suiter’s efforts were front and center that night.
Suiter’s “left foot” could be a factor Friday night.
These teams are evenly matched. LCA is scared of exactly no one.
You don’t schedule Madison Central (6A), Lexington Catholic (4A), CAL (3A), Belfry (3A), and Pikeville (1A) when you play in 2A’s toughest perennial district (District 4; Somerset, Danville, LCA) if teams easily intimidate you. The same could be said about Mayfield, scheduling Graves County (5A), Tilghman (3A), Hoptown (4A), and McCracken (6A). District 1 in 2A is far from a cakewalk (Mayfield, Murray, Caldwell).
Looking at what Suiter has done in ’22, he is 52 of 55 in PATs. Suiter has converted 2/3rd’s of his FG attempts (4/6). Suiter is 3rd on the team in scoring.
LCA’s Will Howell has been close to as impressive in PAT conversion rate. Howell has converted 51 of his 54 attempts. However, in FGs, the ’24 kicking prospect is one (1) of four (4).
Advantage Mayfield? I suppose Friday night may come down to accurately answering that very question. We suppose we shall see what we shall see!
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