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Kroger’s KSR Game of the Week: Johnson Central vs. Simon Kenton

We are excited to have our friends at Kroger on board as we bring you high school football coverage this fall. Each week Kroger will present the KSR High School Game of the Week. We will travel to the featured game each week to bring you the best sights, sounds and incredible moments. Together we’re happy supporters of “KY Proud Products” and the “Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.”

This week’s Kroger KSR Game of the Week is Johnson Central at Simon Kenton. Here is a quick preview.

The first KSR Game of the Week presented by Kroger featured four UK commits and several more with offers. The second displayed a great mountain rivalry of reigning state champions. Both games went down to the wire. Week 3 features another reigning state champion from the mountains as the KSR Game of the Week heads north to Simon Kenton High School.

Johnson Central

  • Record: 1-0
  • KSR State Ranking: No. 2

Last season, Johnson Central was one of two dominant 4A team. Their only real competition came in a 21-20 victory over Boyle County in the state championship game. They won every other game by double-digits, outscoring opponents 677-153. The Golden Eagles’ 15-0 season included a 53-16 victory over 3A state champion Belfry and a 49-11 blowout of Simon Kenton. They return six offensive starters and six defensive starters this season.

The Golden Eagles rushed for over 300 yards per game last season and return championship game MVP Dylan Preston and most of the offensive line he ran behind. He ran for 97 yards and a score on 15 carries against Boyle County and 588 yards on 5 TDs for the season. He also led the team in sacks last year with eight. Here is video of his touchdown in the state title game:

6’6 303-pound junior OT Grant Bingham has offers from UK, Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Louisville, among others. He is the No. 3 player in the Class of 2022 state rankings according to Rivals.

Junior LB Mason Lemaster was second on the team in tackles last year with 132. Senior TE Zach Russell, a Bowling Green commit, hauled in 14 catches for 246 yards and two scores last season. Those are impressive considering the Golden Eagles’ run-oriented offense.

Johnson Central is off to a fast start this season after shutting out last year’s 3A runner-up Bell County 36-zip in Week 1. Johnson Central ran for 321 yards, with Preston rushing for 143 yards and four TDs. They held Bell County to 56 total yards.

Johnson Central is the gold standard of excellence in 4A. They won the state title in 2016 and 2019 and were runners-up in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

Simon Kenton

  • Record:  2-0
  • KSR State Ranking: No. 15

The Pioneers turned heads in Week 1 with a 27-14 win over Highlands, a team they lost to 28-7 last season. Quarterback Chase Crone threw for 1,740 yards and ran for 669 more as a FRESHMAN last season. He passed for 14 TDs and ran for six more. Senior wideouts Caleb Livers (402 yards receiving) and Trey Little (300 yards receiving) also return. Most of their top defensive guys graduated, but senior LB Nate Walker returns along with his 87 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss.

Crone (300 total yards), Little (133 yards receiving, 1 TD), and Jayden Lawson (103 yards rushing, 2 TDs) had big games against Highlands in Week 1. Kicker Nick Seger was 2-of-2 on field goals and 3-of-3 on extra points in the victory.

The Pioneers finished 8-5 last season, losing 47-8 to Tates Creek in the 3rd round of the 6A playoffs.

Article written by Troy Howell

Follow me on twitter @ teeroyhowell