Our guess…the preseason 2A Top-five (5), how we see it…@minguabeefjerky @kyhighs @HopkinsCentral @evans02_mike @_CoachManning @PrepSpin @1776Bank @KyHighFootball

Beechwood is the standard for excellence (as is Mayfield) at this level of play

Every year we publish, preseason, which teams we believe will challenge for the title at each of Kentucky’s competitive classifications. No classification is ten teams deep.

This year, the below five (5) teams appear to us to each have a claim on being the best team at this level of play. It will be difficult to unseat Beechwood or Mayfield as each one of these “expects” to win the title every year. However, Breathitt, Owensboro Catholic, and Lexington Christian boast fine teams with lots of roster talent.

This should be interesting. This is how we see it…

Beechwood Independent, No. 1.

I wish I could tell you graduating mattered at Beechwood, but it really doesn’t. The boys from Ft. Mitchell just perpetually reload and go back after titles, year after year.

QB, Clay Hayden was a sophomore a year ago and the ’25 signal caller returned after completing close to 68% of his passing attempts, throwing for close to 2,000 yards and 21-TD’s against only two (2) INT’s.

Chase Flaherty (’25) will fill departed Mitchell Berger’s shoes at RB. Flaherty gained 768-yards as a sophomore on 111-carries with 19-rushing TD’s.

Luke Sleet will return to anchor a defensive secondary which picked 23-passes a year ago with 388-IRNY’s with a pair of pick-sixes thrown in for good measure.

Beechwood is not out of Hergott’s even where Mr. Football, Cam Hergott, is playing for EKU. Tyson Hergott returns at TE/DE and promises to interject himself into the Tiger equation. 

This easily could be the best coaching staff at this level of competition, Kentucky-wide. That, and just being Beechwood, promises the Tigers will be in this thing to the bitter-end!

Mayfield High, No. 2

Joe Morris’s Cardinals tell us they may have the best team they have had in quite a while. Since they regularly play on Kroger Field for the title (seemingly) annually, that its a right scary proposition.

Joe Morris

Xavier Biggers (’24) transfers over from Murray High to handle the primary carries at RB. Last year, at Murray, Biggers gained 1,031-yards in 87-carries with 11-rushing TD’s.

In case you are wondering, that is close to 12-yards a carry (11.85).

Biggers also led Murray in receptions. His talent is unquestionable as both a runner and receiver.

Zane Cartwright (’24) is one of the west’s best at QB. He threw for 2,120-yards in ’22 completing 139 of his 209 passing attempts (67%) with 24-TD’s against only four (4)-picks.

Ian Williams, ’25, is back to anchor the defense. The TE/LB combo guy had 100-tackles a year ago with three (3)-TFL’s, one (1)-sack, one (1)-FF, and two (2) FR’s.

Breathitt High, No. 3

Legendary (sure bet, first-ballot Hall of Fame as soon as eligible) and former Breathitt headman, Mike Holcomb, has come home to coordinate the defense for Coach Kyle Moore’s Bobcats. The last time Holcomb “helped” the program it won 27 of 35-games and went to a semi-state and a regional final over a three year period (2018-2020).

Holcomb then went to Madison Central, as its head coach, and polished off a 19-8 mark over a two-year period coaching “Big Boy” football (6A).

Breathitt was 9-3 a year ago. The Bobcats got jobbed in the Regional Finals at Erlanger by a “phantom TD” on a completely blown call. There are a few in Jackson, Kentucky with some scores to settle.

QB Tyler Bryant graduated, but folks around “The Riverbank” tell us Dillon Stacy (’24) may seamlessly step in with a quality of play rivaling Bryant’s. All three of the big-backs, Jaden Gibson (’26), Caden Bowling (’24), and Kory Combs (’25) return and the triumvirate gained 1,616-yards and scored 23-rushing TD’s in 2022.

Austin Sperry may be the best athlete in the mountains, holding D-1 offers to play football and basketball, as he caught 41-balls a year ago for 891-yards and 13-TD’s. Breathitt’s “Big Blue Wave” is among the more storied and accomplished offensive fronts in Kentucky.

Center, Evan “Big E” Miller is among the very best at where he slots and T, Jacob Parker, is tall, long, and rangy. Young guys like Sawyer Hall and Waylon Abner are as skilled as one can find among ’26 linemen.

PK, Braxton Terry, ’25, returns and he converted 35-PAT’s a year ago. Many of their top defenders return, particularly leading tackler Kory Combs (’25), and Isaac “Wheels” Turner is a weapon at corner or at WR.

Brady Tincher and Wes Abner are both super tough against the pass on defense. This is a loaded Bobcat team.  

Owensboro Catholic High, No. 4

Owensboro Catholic was 9-4 a year ago and lost by a measly 6-points to Lexington Christian in the Regional Championship game. People familiar with the program can hardly profess amazement as the Aces are in title contention yearly.

I do not say this lightly, but they may have the best coaching staff in western-Kentucky as they routinely do more with less. Well, the Aces have been stockpiling the type “Dudes” needed to challenge. This year they will look as good coming off the bus as they (perhaps) ever have.

Brady Atwell (’25) was just a sophomore a year ago and he threw for 2,743-yards and 30-TD’s while completing over 65% of his passing attempts. Atwell was also the leading rusher, gaining close to 600-yards, in only 76-carries, with nine (9) TD’s coming on the ground.

The Carrico brothers are both back and William (’24) led the team with 47-receptions for 774-yards and 14-TD’s in 2022. Defensively, William Carrico registered 131-tackles, 8.5-TFL’s, a sack, 5-picks, 2-pick-sixes, 3-FF’s, and 3-FR’s.

Brother Vince (’25), whose offensive output wasn’t as impressive as “big-brother’s,” registered a team leading 183-tackles, 15-TFL’s, half a sack, and a pick.

The Aces will be replacing the PK (Doninic Ranallo). A loss such as that can sting.

Overall, we like the Aces to challenge for the title in ’23. What else is new?

Lexington Christian Academy, (LCA), No. 5

LCA’s QB, Cutter Boley (’24), is a UK commitment and bonafide “Mr. Football” front-runner. Boley threw for over 3,900-yards and 36-TD’s in ’22.

LCA doesn’t have the primetime RB schools covet. However, Mac Darling (’26) had a productive freshman campaign and scored six (6) rushing TD’s in 2022.

Cutter Boley

Parker Chaney (’24) is among the very best WR’s in Kentucky and he returns. The ’24 WR caught 83-passes a year ago for 1,175-yards and 7-TD’s.

Will Rich (’24) is a top-flight TE prospect. Hayes Preston (’25) is one to watch also.

Major Brown (’24) is back to anchor the defense with his 136-stops under his belt from a season ago. Jackson Dillow (’25) returns to hold down the back-end of the defensive secondary. 

There it is folks, the top-5 for 2A. Join us later this week as we break down the 3A classification.

This is Fletcher W. Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1423 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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