First of all The Century Mortgage Company Middle School Pre-season Top 20 Football Poll is brought to you by Montrell Bross, Loan Officer at Century Mortgage Company, 502-299-9581. We are officially on our countdown for the start of the 2017 Middle School Football season and it’s time to release the Middle School, pre-season Top 20 Football poll. It should be noted that in accumulating this poll, we did look at how these teams did during the 7th grade campaign but that wasn’t the only criteria. For example, some teams (i.e. Hopkinsville Middle School) uses any 7th grader which it believes may help them win on the 8th grade team. In 2015, HMS’ 7th grade team didn’t win a game and had 7th graders like Reece Jesse, David Spurlin, William Long, E.J. Austin, Lane Rushing, etc. How in the world do you go winless with 7th graders like that? They were playing up of course. The next year, when the foregoing were 8th graders, they went 12-1 and narrowly lost in the State Semis to the State Champions (TK Stone 38-36) in Lexington. We attempted to be fair with programs who field competitive 7th grade teams which are separate and distinct from the 8th grade team, like Owensboro, Newburg, Caldwell County, etc., while still studying the rosters of Middle Schools who only service the 8th grade team while using the 7th grade team as a vehicle to get reps for players who won’t play in the 8th grade game, like HMS. Teams who garnered first place votes among the panel will have their first place votes appear parenthetically. On to the poll…
1. The Newburg Tigers (7)- Newburg is the defending Division I State Champions whose 7th grade team lost in the Semis 26-6 to the 7th grade State Champions North Pulaski. The Tigers were missing its top two RBs in that game which greatly altered its offensive game plan. If Newburg stays healthy, We believe Coach Mel Blakey will be hoisting the State Championship Trophy in Division I, again, this year.
2. North Pulaski Middle School (5)- North Pulaski hired Team Kentucky’s FBU Coach this off-season to take over a program which had already just won the 7th grade State Championship. North Pulaski has the deepest squad and can best afford injury to first line players, should any occur. KYMSFA doesn’t have Classification football in 7th grade so the Championship for the 7th grade was an All-Kentucky Championship.
3. Owensboro Middle School (3)- Owensboro Middle School has won 17 straight games and by an average score of 39-5 over that span. They did have the best collection of talent on those teams for the Middle School level I have ever seen, namely, and to just single out one of the stars, Austin Gough, the All-American who won the Offensive MVP of the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Game and who ran for 150 yards in Dallas, Texas for the East All-American Team. The 7th grade team, last year, lost to Glasgow during the regular season when Gavin Wimsatt was injured and Javius Taylor was forced to move to QB and run a perpetual Wildcat Offense. With Wimsatt at QB, they might be the best team in Kentucky but, honestly, the fact OMS won’t participate in the State Playoffs leaves this matter speculative.
4. Belfry Middle School -The Belfry Pirates won the 2015, Division 2, State Championship and lost a narrow decision in the Semis in 2016 to Lexington Catholic (24-22). The Pirates from Belfry have won 4 State Championships in Division 2 which is probably why the HS team always competes for the State Title in its Classification too. Belfry is our favorite to win the Division 2 Championship this year but, as before clearly indicated, this is an All-Classification Top 20 poll. Belfry has lost one of the hardest hitting, back 7 defenders in the Commonwealth in Seth Mounts, an All-American, headed up to play HS ball, but don’t worry, Belfry will re-load, like it always does. Not a staff in Kentucky does a better job of coaching them up than Belfry Middle School.
5. Bowling Green Junior High Purples-Here is a team who consistently wins and is very well coached too. In 2016 the Purples made it to Lexington and lost a heart-breaker in overtime to the Newburg Tigers. One thing Bowling Green has that no other program does, not named McCracken County Middle School (Ben Schofield), is an excellent place-kicker. In overtime last year, playing for it all, the game went to overtime tied 8-8. Bowling Green stalled out on its overtime possession but was able to trot out the placekicker who nailed it through the uprights for the 11-8 lead. If BGMS gets a defensive stop, game over and the Purples are celebrating a Middle School State Championship to put beside the 5A State Championship the High School won last year. However, Newburg, on its possession, ran it into the end zone for the 14-11 triumph. Still, having the ability to kick PATs and Field Goals in Middle School is like finding money in the pocket of your dry cleaning. BG will factor in to whomever wins the Championship in Division I this year. They have to go through North Pulaski and Newburg to get there.
6. Barret Traditional Middle School-Last year Barret was the top-seeded team in Region 3 of the 7th grade Playoffs, losing the Regional Final to Newburg, who was seeded 4th, at the Christian Academy of Louisville. Barret was also the number 1 seed in the 8th grade, Division 2, playoffs in Region 3 being upset by Lexington Catholic, who was (like Newburg) seeded 4th. I believe the Bulldogs just might have been looking past these 4 seeds and I believe a lesson was definitely learned. Barret is consistently one of the top 4-5 teams in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in its Division 2 and there is no reason to believe this upcoming year will be a departure from to what we have become accustomed.
7. South Warren Middle School- South Warren Middle School won the Region I Championship and then beat Glasgow last year in the Semi-State before falling in the Championship game to North Pulaski Middle School. South Warren will have to deal with Hopkinsville Middle this year in the Region I Championship game, we predict, and that will feature two teams each of whom throw the ball effectively and, traditionally, have shown equal ability to run from scrimmage. Luke Burton is not only SW’s best player but one of the best in the Commonwealth in 2022. Now, we thought we would see a HMS/South Warren match up in Region I, Division 2 Championship game last year but South Warren, maybe looking past Logan County, at an undefeated Tiger team, didn’t handle the task at hand and went home earlier than expected. The success South Warren’s 7th Grade had, coupled with the lessons learned from looking past the weekly opponent, will make South Warren pretty tough.
8. Hopkinsville Middle School- Hopkinsville Middle School may have the best QB prospect in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the 2022 Class in 6’2.5″ 165 lb. Trayvon Jefferson. They also have a stud RB in Jay Dillard and TE Tyler Jones, 6’1″ 170, is a match-up nightmare for 2nd level defenders. Linemen William Hughes 5’10” 240 lbs. and Jimmy Rogers 5’6″ 225 lbs. are two former 7th graders with starting experience from off of last year’s Region 1, Final-Four, Division 2, 12-1, 8th grade team. If the Tigers can figure out a front four defensively and what to do with three of the five slots on its offensive line, they really have everything else to go back to Lexington and get done what they left undone last year. The one thing on which you can always count in Hopkinsville, Kentucky is that the Tigers will have athletes. Now, if they can only find some Hogs to clear the way…
- Corbin Middle School- This team is always tough and particularly produces big, strong, and mean front-line players. That is a recipe for success for any football team.
- TK Stone Middle School- The defending Division 2 State Champion is having to replace a tremendous QB in Clay Games and what was the best receiver we saw in Kentucky last year in 5’11” 165 lb. Camden Williams. Still, the Panthers have been to Lexington, Kentucky 2 times in a row and you don’t build that type of success because you are unable to re-stock the cupboard.
- Lexington Catholic- Played for the Division 2 State Championship and lost to TK Stone.
- Glasgow-The Scotties made it to the Final 4 last year in the 7th grade State Championship before bowing out courtesy of South Warren.
- Caldwell County-This team was 7-2 last year losing only to HMS and McCracken County. They lost to McCracken 7-6 fumbling near McCracken’s end zone so, barring that mistake, they were an 8-1 ball club for all intents and purposes. Probably would rank higher but they, like OMS, don’t participate in the State playoffs.
- Owensboro Catholic-Played for the Division 3 State Championship against New Harlan last year in 8th grade and are historically a very tough Division 3 Middle School with whom to contend.
- Knox County- Lost Ethan Mills and lost to Newburg Middle in the State Semis in 8th grade last year but are always tough.
- Taylor County-Has one of the best Head Coaches in the game in Marlon Hoskins. They were seeded 3rd last year in 8th grade in Region 2, losing by only 2 points to TK Stone who went on to the Championship.
- Russelville Middle School-Rooster Woodard may be gone but Russellville returns one of the best RB’s in the State in 2022 in Lennon Ries who won the Offensive MVP of the East-West All-State 7th Grade Classic in Frankfurt.
- Meade County-Always tough team to beat who last year were the number 2 seeded team in Region 2 of the 7th grade playoffs.
- Elkhorn-Was the number 2 seed in the Region 3 of the KYMSFA 7th grade playoffs last year.
- Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL)- Number 2 seeded team in Region 3, Division 3 just last year.
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