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We pick the winners in Friday’s games…

We are batting around 80% for the season. No one comes even close to getting it right as frequently as our staff at Kentucky Prep Gridiron and we have a penchant for only picking the games which aren’t foregone conclusions. When you get to the championships, few games will be considerable margins as these teams have all overcome so much to even get here. Tuesday, we will break down the Saturday games; but, for right now, here is how we see the three games unfolding on Friday.

HB Lyon, Director of Scouting, KPGFootball

There is a difference between winning a regular season game and rendering a similar performance when the loser goes home and the winner drinks from the cup of immortality. It takes tremendous composure for a team to be able to perform with it all on the line.

I have a friend who is the play by play guy for a team which made the semis but had to make a considerable bus trip to play this past Friday. He was bemoaning how his team had beaten itself and had an inordinate amount of bad breaks and turnovers.

I don’t doubt that is 100% true. You see, being able to secure the ball, and limit mistakes under the bright lights, is what makes some teams elite (and champions) versus just being good.

We will make a golf analogy here to drive this point home. One reason we will use golf is for the benefit of my buddy who, incidentally, is one of the finest “pressure players” I have ever known and a championship caliber golfer who won many tournaments in his storied, amateur golf career.

As he both knows and was imminently cable of doing, championship golfers make the same swing with the tournament on the line as they make playing the back side, alone, on a warm Wednesday afternoon at their home course. The game is the game.

The pressure can’t break these guys because they are champions. They are those guys; the type players who win tournaments.

[A] team has to...play the same type game...in the semis...it would have played...in the middle of September
Friday Night Fletch

Football is similar. A championship caliber team has to get off the bus and play the same game on the road, in the semis (or for our present purposes, on Kroger Field in Lexington, KY), as it would play against a non-district foe in the middle of September.

Some athletes can do this. There is a name reserved for those types.

To return to our golf analogy, some players can only break 70 when it doesn’t count. When they enter a big-time tournament, they fire an 81. Doesn’t mean they aren’t “good players,” they just aren’t “champions.”

You have known these guys your entire life. They are the golfers who come into the club house and tell you about every drive duck-hooked out of bounds and every ball which landed by the pin and unluckily bounced over the green and into the creek behind the hole. All of that is just window dressing, isn’t it. Bottom line, they flubbed it when “flubbing it” was most critical. They choked; period.

Here is how we see Friday fleshing out and why.

Raceland vs. Pikeville

Raceland beat Pikeville 7-6 on September the 8th of this year. Last year, on Kroger Field, Pikeville beat Raceland, 41-9. 

People believe Pikeville is incapable of losing these championship game appearances. The same number of people don’t believe Raceland capable of beating Pikeville in a championship matchup.

You will have to forgive us, some of us “old folks” have a hard time ignoring what we have before witnessed numerous times. Some demons, from demoralizing past defeats, are more difficult to exorcise than others. 

Winning a regular season matchup, by a single point, doesn’t mean you win this baby right here.

KPGFootball Prediction: Pikeville 24, Raceland 10 

Owensboro Catholic vs. Mayfield

We have said on the air on our show, “Friday Night Kentucky,” that we believe Owensboro Catholic may be the best 2A team we have covered since we started this entire journey. Catholic is a team which has historically taken less and made more from it. This year, the Aces just don’t have less.

Photo: Messenger-Inquirer

Mayfield has been here many times before now. That counts. Part of being able to win a championship is having the composure to perform at your best on the biggest and brightest stages. 

Mayfield expects to win championships. Not a single person in Graves County believes this will be anything apart from a Cardinal rout. 

Still, Owensboro Catholic beats teams, all the time, it probably shouldn’t. While they don’t have Mayfield’s championship participation pedigree, they don’t have any question they are a better team than the bunch they are playing. 

Mayfield can’t beat Owensboro Catholic. Owensboro Catholic will have to beat itself. That is our call.

KPGFootball Prediction: Owensboro Catholic 38, Mayfield 28 

Covington Catholic vs. Boyle

We have said all year that we believe Boyle to be the best team at any level of play. They have proven this prophetic in beating the likes of Lexington Christian, Corbin, and Frederick Douglass (whom they beat by three touchdowns). 

Covington Catholic was pretty much the best program in 5A before being realigned into 4A. The Blue Colonels have beaten Ryle, Highlands, Beechwood, Ashland Blazer, and Paducah Tilghman’s Blue Tornado. Let’s not pretend they are lightweights who haven’t played anyone because that simply isn’t the case. 

Should Boyle win, it would be the 4th-title in succession. Coach Haddix has told confidants this may be his most complete and talented team since coming to Title Town. We like the Rebels here.

KPGFootball Prediction: Boyle County 31- Covington Catholic 14 

This is Friday Night Fletch, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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About Fletcher Long 1536 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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