‘Newbie’ Frederick Douglass may win 6A in year one
We have been going over the top-five of each Kentucky classification in expectation of the season opening. We have detailed the first five classifications, though some of them have yet to run (hang in there) and, now, it is time to share how we see 6A settling. Class 6A is also called ‘Big Boy Ball,” and for a reason. This will conclude this series!Fletcher Long, Scouting Division and Senior Sports Columnist
Our likely 6A Champion, Frederick Douglass High
These guys are coming off a 15-0 year and a 5A title. There are many around the commonwealth who believed them to be Kentucky’s best team regardless of classification.
They routinely have rosters packed with the commonwealth’s very best talent. This year the pickings aren’t slim.
Cole Carpenter returns at QB. Carpenter (’24) threw for 1,863-yards and 23-TD’s against only 5-picks. Carpenter completed 63% of his passes a year ago.
Douglass will be huge up-front to lead the passing and running attacks. Zuri Madison (’24) may be the best OL guy in Kentucky.
Demeco Kennedy is listed as an “ATH” by recruiting services which are right impressed with him. He is used as a TE in the Bronco attack and is lethal both blocking and slipping out into patterns, particularly around the goal-line.
Cooper Ranvier (’24) may be an elite specialist returning in ’23 and those always help. Ranvier converted 64-PAT’s in ’22 and a pair of FG’s.
Marciano Jenkins (’24) hopes to step up his production along the defensive front depleted by graduation. Jenkins registered a pair of TFL’s, 1-FF, and 2-FR’s playing with his hand in the dirt.
Jamarrion Harkless is headed to the Big 10.
Darion Neal (’24) is the best returning defender at LB. Neal led the defense in “stops,” had 10-TFL’s, a pair of sacks, a FF, and a FR.
Jeremiah Lowe (’24) is back patrolling the third-level for the Broncos. Lowe tied for second in INT’s in ’22 and was among the leaders in PBU’s. He is a speed demon.
If not Frederick Douglass, then (perhaps) St. Xavier;
St. Xavier finished the ’22 campaign 10-2, losing to Male High by a single point in overtime in round two. Their only other loss on the year was suffered to a powerhouse, large school program from Cincinnati, OH (Elder).
St. Xavier was coming off a 6A title, which is exactly what head man, Kevin Wallace, was brought to Louisville (from Bowling Green, KY) to do. Might we say, mission accomplished?
St. Xavier’s QB returns from ’22 in ’24 Trevor Havill. Havill completed 60% of his passes last year and sported a 4:1 TD:INT ratio. That is pretty darn efficient.
Havill won’t kill you outside the tackle box, but he did manage 4-rushing TD’s in ’22. Harvill is a “game manager” and a “winner,” what more do you require?
Havill will get to work behind, arguably, Kentucky’s best center, Carter Guillaume. Guillaume (’24) has committed to play football at the Division-I level and is a Kentucky heavyweight wrestling champion.
DonTre Richardson (’24) has had a year to grow into the role as primary ball carrier. Richardson gained 533-yards on 96-carries with 6-rushing TD’s. Davis Yates (’24) also returns and it is hoped the combination of Richardson and Yates will offset the loss of Adam Boone, who led the team a year ago in TD’s scored over the ground and was the team’s second leading scorer behind Logan Zoeller (PK).
Zoeller is a ’25 specialist with tons of upside and promise (45 for 45 on PAT’s in ’22 and 8 for 9 on FG’s). Getting him back for ’23 means wins, it is just that simple.
Ayier Coates (’26) did the unthinkable a year ago. Coates cracked the lineup at the 2nd level as a freshman. Coates was a factor in tackles, TFL’s, and registered a QB-sack while picking a pair of passes in his seven (7) games of run. That is remarkable production for a freshman playing 6A football at one of Kentucky’s more prestigious programs.
Trinity, always in the hunt…
As a KHSAA football fan, you want to say Trinity has been down of late, or at least since winning the Title in ’20, 28-0, over Male High to polish off a weird 10-0 year during the Covid-shortened season. Say what you will but 8-5 and losing the Regional Championship to Bryan Station is a dismal year for the Shamrocks.
Still, we keep waiting for them to take their traditional place at the top of our 6A classification. Every year it seems this might be the year.
QB, Brady Willis, has graduated. It appears to us Jackson Hepner (’24) may have first dips on the job.
Armon Tucker is also departed, via the graduation stage, and Willis and he were the top two prongs of the Shamrock rushing attack. Lucas Sasser, ’24, has considerable promise and he averaged 4.72-yards a carry, last season, playing as good of Kentucky competition as can be mustered.
Noah Meyers (’24) will be the leading returning receiver for Jay Cobb’s charges. Meyers caught 26-balls a year ago, four (4) of which were TD’s. Meyers averaged 12.23-yards a reception so his ability to get open down the field is not in question.
Many around Kentucky think Meyers may be the premier TE in the KHSAA. He is framed out very well.
Leading receiver Jeremiah Lynn (’25) was only a sophomore in ’22. Lynn caught 27-passes, averaged 18-yards a reception, and was second on the team in receiving TD’s trailing only Noah Meyers.
Having your PK return is huge in 6A football. Games often come down to the special teams at that level of competition.
Losing Kellan McLaughlin to graduation may prove pivotal. We don’t know who will fill the shoes of a PK who converted 100% of his PAT’s (38 for 38), converted 18-FG’s last season, and led the team in scoring 92-points.
Cole Wickliffe has graduated but the Shamrocks return Brady McEnaney (’24). McEnaney registered 73-tackles, 9.5-TFL’s and 4-QB-sacks to compose one of the better second level tandems with Wickliffe in 6A football witnessed a season ago.
McEnaney will have to go it alone this season. He’s not frightened.
Mitchell Toney was a DL wrecking crew a year ago. He’s no longer with us owing to graduation. Here’s to hoping William Tronzo can shoulder some of that burden this coming season. Tronzo, (’24) has shown “flashes” but his production hasn’t yet reached the “Toney-level.”
Bryan Station, coming on strong in 6A…
Coach Phil Hawkins has done a great job since coming over from Apollo a few years ago. The Defenders were right in the mix in ’22 and bowed out of the playoffs in the semis to the team (Buillitt East) which ended up with the title.
Trenton Cutwright (’24) returns at QB and had quite a season in ’22. Cutwright threw for close to 2,000-yards (1,982), completed 57% of his passing attempts, and threw for 17-TD’s to just 7-INT’s. Cutwright also ran for 598-yards, averaged 7.3-yards a carry including his sacks (which came off that rushing total) and scored 8-TD’s rushing.
Bayubahe Benit (’24) will fill the shoes of the departed Jeremiah Mundy-Lloyd. Benit gained 749-yards rushing a season ago and had 10-rushing TD’s. Benit was second to Mundy-Lloyd in scoring in ’22 and will be the ball club’s leading retuning scorer.
JT Haskins, Jr. is one of the better and more versatile stars in Lexington. Haskins caught 40-balls, for 758-yards receiving, with 8-TD’s receiving. Haskins also had nearly 50-tackles, 1-FR, and led the ball club in INT’s with four (4).
Bryan Station’s PK returns in Zachary Gentry (’24) and when competing at the 6A level that is not a contribution one can overlook. Gentry converted an impressive 51-PAT’s and three (3)-FG’s a year ago. He was close to 90% on PAT’s and 100% on FG’s. That is a weapon.
Jahvon Frazier (’24) is a weapon defensively screaming off the end. Frazier had 5-QB-sacks to lead the club in ’22 and 9-TFL’s to be among the leaders in that category. Jahvon Frazier also was credited with a FR.
Jahvon’s twin, Dahvon Frazier, also a ’24, logged 8-TFL’s, 3-QB-sacks, 1-FF, and 2-FR’s for the Defenders. Dahvon picked off a pass all of which makes for quite an impressive stat-sheet.
This Bryan Station club is darn good. They can play with anyone.
Male (Louisville) High, are they headed back to the well?
Quick; someone tell me the last time Male High wasn’t in the title-hunt in 6A. They lost five (5) times in ’22 and still played for the title, losing by a measly point (28-27).
Last year’s QB, Lucas Cobler, has been lost to graduation. However, his back-up, Kolter Smith (’24), is among the more sought after and recruited players at the position, Kentucky-wide. Smith, how was 56 for 96 a year ago for 871-yards and 12-TD’s against only 4-picks, has had quite an offseason and, through hard work and effort, has turned himself into a college prospect.
The top two rushers from a year ago, Daniel Swinney and Lucas Cobler, have both run out of eligibility. Chayce Burton (’26) was the third leading rusher a year ago though only getting run in 6-games. Looks like his time is “now.”
Antonio Harris (’25) may have been the best WR in his class in all of the commonwealth. He led the team with 36-receptions for 684-yards receiving and 10-TD’s. Josh Fuller (’24) will insure they don’t spend too many defensive assets attempting to contain Harris.
If there seems to be theme here, about specialists and their importance to 6A football results, that theme is entirely intended. Lance Gossett has graduated and he contributed 43-PAT’s and 8-FG’s to the point total in ’22.
Luke Vallandingham (’25) will attempt to fill those shoes. He converted all four of his ’22, PAT-attempts.
There is plenty material returning in ’23. Chief among the returners is DeAndre Malone (’24).
Malone contributed 13.5-TFL’s, seven (7) QB-sacks, 98-stops, and two (2) FF’s. Can’t imagine expecting any more than that.
Kevin Wilson is back to patrol the back third. He picked a pair of passes a year ago.
There it is folks, the top-5 for 6A. We hoped you enjoyed this lead-up series to the season openers. We open the season in a matter of days. Good luck to everyone from your friends at KPGFootball!
This is Fletcher W. Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
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