Story by Randy Whetstone Jr.
Photo by Damon Atherton
The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. While many will gather with family and friends to experience love, fellowship and thankfulness, it wouldn’t be tradition if we didn’t have some football. The NFL takes precedence on Thanksgiving Day, but on Black Friday, high school football steals the show. The semi-final rounds of the playoffs are here, and Trinity, St. X, Central and Christian Academy-Louisville are all pursuing the chance to get to the state championship game.
The Trinity Shamrocks (13-0) have not lost a game in two years. The defending state champs have won 28-straight games and recently annihilated Simon Kenton. Their next game will be away at Central Hardin (10-3) at 7:30 p.m. At this point, no team has been able to slow down Trinity and it appears as though the 2017 state title may already have their name on it.
However, they may get a rematch game against their rival St. X (11-2). The Tigers beat Butler 45-18 last week to advance to the semi-finals. Their next opponent will be Scott County (11-2). Both teams run the ball extremely well. Scott County averages nearly 300 yards a game (293.8 yds) and has a dynamic duo in Austin Barnett and Brice Fryman, both of whom have rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season.
St. X will also rely on their rushing attack. They’ve averaged 216.5 yards per game and have allowed only 15 points to their opponents per contest. The game will be at St. X at 7:30 p.m. If Trinity and St. X win, it will set up for not only a rematch between rivals, but a championship game worth all the bragging rights. I’m predicting a Shamrock and Tiger state championship game.
The Central Yellowjackets (11-2) have found themselves in familiar territory once again. They are one game away from another appearance in the state championship. After showing no mercy to Pike County Central and Floyd Central, beating both teams 50-0, they had business to settle with Belfry – the team Central lost to last season in the championship. They added 10 more points to their playoff average and trounced the Pirates 60-21. Their next game will be at home at 7:30 p.m. against Corbin (12-1).
It should be a thrilling game as both teams have been demolishing the competition in this year’s playoffs. The Redhounds, coached by Justin Haddix has put up 46.3 points a game in the playoffs, while giving up only 8.6 to their opponents.
For Central, they’ve embraced a new culture under head coach Marvin Dantzler, but have been able to keep the winning culture intact. I like their chances against Corbin in a hard fought contest and think they’ll punch their ticket to the title game.
Christian Academy-Louisville (11-2) is the defending state champ in Class 2A. After an upset win over DeSales (12-1), they sent the Colts home early ending their undefeated season. Their next opponent will be away at Mayfield (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. Both teams met last season in the playoffs in a blowout win for the Centurions 48-24.
This should be an intriguing matchup. Mayfield puts up around 226.4 yards in the air per contest. We’ll see if they can do the same against a stingy CAL defense that has only given up 48.5 yards in passing to their opponents. I think CAL pulls this one out and returns to the championship game to defend their title. VT