The KHSAA State Football Finals take place Friday and Saturday at Kroger Field. KSR will have coverage of each game, starting with the Class 1A Championship Friday at 11 a.m.
Here’s a preview of the 4A Friday Night Lights matchup, which is set for 7 p.m. EST:
Boyle County (10-0) vs. Franklin County (9-1)
How they got there
These two high schools posted a combined 19-1 record throughout the 2020 season, with Franklin County dropping the lone game in a tightly contested 18-16 loss to Central. The Flyers still went 9-1 on the year, consistently reeling off 30-plus point victories and outscoring their opponents by an overall total of 399-106 on the year. In the playoffs, Franklin County smacked Shelby County in the opening round, 41-12, then exacted revenge on Central in the following game by a final score of 42-6. Continuing their high-scoring streak, Franklin County ran up 48 points in a 48-14 beatdown of Allen-County Scottsville before matching up with one of the top teams in the state, Johnson Central.
KSR’s Troy Howell recently tabbed Johnson Central as the fifth-best team in Kentucky, and the highest-rated team that is no longer in the playoffs. Despite their underdog status, the Flyers went into Johnson Central and shook the high school football landscape by upsetting the Golden Eagles 20-12, making it to the State Finals in the process where they’ll meet up with Boyle County.
On the other end of the gridiron, the Boyle County Rebels enter as the team to beat in the Class 4A, receiving a first-round bye as a result of their success and the No. 2 overall ranking in Troy Howell’s state rankings. They have yet to lose a game, outscoring opponents by an overall total of 446-83, although they narrowly escaped a shootout against Lexington Catholic in their opening playoff round, 48-41. In their following outing, a matchup with Rowan County was actually canceled. Rowan County was forced to forfeit due to COVID-19 protocols, automatically moving Boyle County into the State Finals against Franklin County.
This contest has all the makings of a shootout classic, as Boyle County and Franklin County are ranked 1st (49.4, also good enough for 1st in the entire state) and 3rd (39.9), respectively, in Class 4A points per game. However, they are also two of the top-four overall 4A teams in scoring defense, coming in at 2nd (9.2) and 4th (10.6), respectively.
Here’s how the Class 4A Playoffs has unfolded so far:
Boyle County names to know
Head coach, Justin Haddix: voted by The Kentucky Football Coaches Association as the Class 4A District 5 Coach of the Year.
Sr. RB/LB Will McDaniel: Voted by The Kentucky Football Coaches Association as the Class 4A District 5 Player of the Year. Ran for 1,023 yards (sixth-most in 4A) on 153 attempts as a senior, adding 19 touchdowns on the ground and catching three through the air, as well.
2020 Class 4A Kentucky Football Coaches Association:
COACH OF THE YEAR
Justin Haddix (Boyle County)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Will McDaniel (Boyle County)
— KY HIGH FOOTBALL ? (@KYHighFootball) December 13, 2020
Sr. QB Jagger Gillis: Ranked 5th in Class 4A in regards to passing yards per game at 208, racking up 1,869 yards and 24 touchdowns while tossing just one interception. His 70.4 completion percentage ranks 2nd among all Class 4A quarterbacks.
Jr. WR Cole Lanter and Sr. WR Luke Sheperson: This duo of wide receivers has totaled up 500-plus yards apiece this season, combining for a total of 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Sr. LB Clark Coleman: 2nd overall leader in sacks among Class 4A players with nine, including three forced fumbles.
The Rebels have worked hard all year to return to the state championship game to redeem themselves from the heartbreak of last year!
— Boyle County Rebels Football (@BCRebelFootball) December 17, 2020
Franklin County names to know
Head coach, Eddie James
Sr. WR Fred Farrier: Voted by The Kentucky Football Coaches Association as the Class 4A District 4 Player of the Year. Received the most passing yards among all 4A wide-outs with 977 yards to go along with 12 touchdowns through the air and one more on the ground. Ranked as a three-star recruit and the 14th best player in the state of Kentucky, according to 247 Sports.
Sr. QB Nick Broyles: Ranked 2nd in Class 5A in regards to passing yards per game at 272, passing for 2,176 yards, 26 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His 73.4 completion percentage is the best among all Class 4A quarterbacks.
Jr. WR Zach Claudio and So. RB/WR Kaden Moorman: Another pair of wide receivers who can score points in a hurry. Claudio caught 37 balls for 587 yards and five touchdowns while Moorman racked up 430 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air, also adding an impressive 11 scores on the ground.
Sr. DE Phillip Peiffer: The Class 4A leaders in sacks with 13.5, Peiffer is a do-it-all-man on the defensive front for Franklin County. He’s recorded 92.5 total tackles this season, 12.5 of them for a loss in yards.
Boyle County returns to the State Finals for the second consecutive year, but this time they’ll hope for a different result after they lost a nail-biter to Johnson Central, 21-20, a season ago. They are one of the most successful high schools in Kentucky football, posting an 8-2 record in State Finals games. Their eight championships are tied for seventh-most in Kentucky high school football history.
Boyle County head coach Justin Haddix will make his third trip to the State Finals after losing the previous two title games in 2017 and 2018 when he was the head coach at Corbin. Funny enough, the team that beat him in 2017 is now the team he will try to win his first championship with.
Franklin County has never won a State Finals. In fact, this is their first appearance in school history. They had previously made it to the state quarterfinals back in 1979 and a regional final in 2018, but never went all the way to the State Finals until this season.
Sounds like a classic case of David vs. Goliath. So, who ya got?