6A: Lafayette (11-2) vs Simon Kenton (13-0)
Lafayette picked up an impressive win over Scott County last week in the regional final. Walker Wood had 350 yards of total offense and Mason Alstatt had two touchdowns in a 36-30 win. The Generals survived early scares from Henry Clay and Dunbar in the postseason, but proved their worth with last week’s win.
Simon Kenton won their regional title with a 13-12 victory over Cooper. Dillion Powell ran for 152 yards and Cameron Racke added 163 in the win. Simon Kenton had not won a game by less than 16 points. The scare might have been just what the Pioneers needed late in the season. Simon Kenton has rolled through Ryle twice, Highlands, CAL, and Conner this season. Lafayette is a different kind of beast. With a D1 o-line, Lafayette puts up huge amounts of points. Wood is a quarterback who can attack on the ground and the air. Cameron Racke is the same way. Both Alstatt and Powell have potential to run for 200+ yards in this game. Look for there to be a lot of points scored in this semifinal.
Trey’s Pick- I’ve been a big believer in Lafayette all season. That won’t stop here as I’m taking the Generals once again.
Nick’s Pick- Lafayette will find a way to get a win. I don’t know how, but the Generals have been so persistent this postseason, they’ll get it done once again to make it to the State Championship.
5A: Pulaski County (12-1) vs Highlands (8-5)
Highlands started 1-5 this season before rolling out a seven-game winning streak. After getting rolled through by the powerhouses in the state, Highlands hit the back end of their schedule and found success. Nick Kendall has 582 yards and nine touchdowns in the playoffs for the Bluebirds. This will be the top offense that Highlands has faced since late September. Riley Hall is an underrated Mr. Football candidate at QB. One of the most prolific quarterbacks in state history, Hall has thrown 111 career touchdowns and 9,721 yards in the air. The Maroons have been in the last two state titles and are the defending state champs, largely in part to Hall. Highlands will look to put an end to that streak by running through Pulaski. Kendall and QB Austin Hergott are a nice one-two for the Bluebirds and could lead them to an upset.
Trey’s Pick- Riley Hall is a KHSAA legend. He will continue to build on his legacy with another trip to Bowling Green.
Nick’s Pick- I normally don’t agree with Jared Lorenzen on the KSR Podcast, but we can both agree that the Bluebirds are too tough to beat at home.
4A: Shelby County (12-1) vs South Warren (13-0)
South Warren’s defense has allowed 77 points all season as they rolled to a 13-0 start. The Spartans have allowed double figures twice, and only once to in-state opponents. With a defense that forces plenty of turnovers and keeps the Spartans in great field position, their offense has had an opportunity to score. Their defense has saved them in big games this season. Against Central Hardin, South Warren recovered five fumbles and Kayron Namvong ran for 95 yards in the win. The top defense in 4A will have their hands full with Michael Perry and Malik Manica. The two backs combined for 278 yards and four touchdowns in the regional title game. The Spartans have stopped strong rushing attacks all season, but Shelby County brings in a different breed. Manica is a strong, powerful back who will give South Warren all they want on Friday.
Trey’s Pick- More than likely, I will be at this game and the BG game due to Thanksgiving break. I’m taking South Warren to continue on to the state title.
Nick’s Pick- Even though I’m partial to South Warren’s defense, Shelby County has surprised all season. They’ll continue that trend Friday night.
3A: Lexington Catholic (10-3) vs Elizabethtown (13-0)
It seems that every guy that plays QB for LexCath has found success this season. Andy Thompson has been the next man up for the Knights in the postseason after Kirk Fagot went down. Thompson scored both of the team’s touchdowns last week and went 10/11 for 317 yards and six touchdowns the week before. E-Town had a cake walk through the regular season, but proved their meddle with wins over Paducah Tilghman and Caldwell County in the postseason. On the back of Jack Wilson’s hail mary last week, E-Town advanced to the semifinals. The one worry from that game for E-Town would be pass defense. The Panthers allowed 318 yards in the air versus Caldwell County. Even if E-Town contains Thompson, Jaylen Jones is a terrific running back to watch for LexCath.
Trey’s Pick- E-Town got through the regional championship on a miracle pass. J.J. Ogbogu will have a huge game for LexCath and the Knights continue on to the state title.
Nick’s Pick- Lex Cath gets the win on Friday before getting on in Bowling Green next weekend.
2A: DeSales (11-2) vs Mayfield (12-1)
In a matchup of defending state champs, DeSales travels to Mayfield to take on Landon Arnett and the Cardinals. DeSales got revenge over CAL last week in the regional final with a 37-18 win. The Colts got the “Good Austin Johnson” last week. Johnson was 11/14 for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Johnson has been impressive in the playoffs after several bad starts in the regular season. The Colts will need a big day from Johnson in the air and on the ground against a sharp Mayfield front line. The Cardinals forced four turnovers last week against Owensboro Catholic in a 24-13 win. Johnson and the Colts will need to keep possession and not allow Arnett and the Cardinals to get good field position. DeSales’ defense allows an average of less than ten points a game, so Mayfield will need Arnett and Trajon Bright to have big games this Friday.
Trey’s Pick- I still like Mayfield to win the 2A title despite how they struggled to stop the pass last week. I think they will make Johnson uncomfortable this week and beat DeSales at home.
Nick’s Pick- If it wasn’t 345345345 miles away I’d be giving color commentary for this game. DeSales is hitting their stride at the right time, but those miles in a hostile environment could be what stops the two-time defending State Champs in their tracks. Luckily they have an aggressive defense that can keep them in the game. It’s the best game in the state, I’m nervous, but I’m All Colts Everything.
1A: Pikeville (11-2) vs Paintsville (13-0)
The game of the year in the mountains will have a part two. Paintsville won 23-22 in overtime earlier this season. That was the closest the Tigers have come to losing this season. Kash Daniel led Paintsville to the regional title last week with five total touchdowns. Kent Phelps added two more in the 48-28 win over previously undefeated Paris. Daric Pugh and Pikeville have rolled out the most points in all of 1A with 624. I could lay out every stat in the world on this game, but it wouldn’t do any good. This game is going to be a battle. This will be football in its truest sense. Daniel and Pugh are both extremely powerful in the backfield and Phelps gives Paintsville speed on the outside. If you are anywhere in eastern Kentucky, I suggest you get to Paintsville on Friday.
Trey’s Pick- Paintsville has too much coming at you on offense. Daniel, Phelps, and Luke Trimble is a dangerous attack. The Tigers move to 14-0.
Nick’s Pick- Even though I want to see Kash pull off the incredible undefeated season, Pikeville’s hate from the early season overtime loss will light enough fire under them to move on to the State Championship.
Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving from KSR Preps. We will really ramp up the coverage for the state finals in the coming week, so get hype.