5A Season Recap
The Bowling Green Purples return to the stage once again looking for their fifth title in six years at the 5A level. Navy-commit Jamale Carothers totaled over 1,300 total yards to lead Bowling Green to a 10-0 regular season. The Purples pitched five shutouts in six games and allowed only 75 points all season. The toughest test Bowling Green will face on their way to a title may be on the other side of the bracket. Southwestern (7-3) and Pulaski County (8-2) have represented Somerset well in 2016. Jake Johnson leads the state with 89 receptions and 1,080 yards for Pulaski. Southwestern has put together their best team in school history and won their first district title over PCHS since 2013.
Along with SHS and PCHS, South Oldham poses a threat in the lower part of the bracket. The Dragons went 9-1 thanks in large part to a defense that forces a ton of turnovers and a dynamic offense led by Keaton Martin and Drew Zaubi. South Oldham won’t have to face the Fern Creek team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season until the state title game. Fern Creek lost some of their star power from 2015, but still went 8-2 in 2016. The Tigers have an easy road until they run into Covington Catholic in the regional final. CovCath has shown this season they can put up points on good defenses, which could push the Colonels to the state semifinals.
On Bowling Green’s side of the bracket, Christian County and Greenwood have shown improvement over the last season. CCHS beat Barren County last night in the first round and will be waiting for the Purples in the second round. The Colonels are now 9-2 and will look to avenge their early season loss to BG next week should the Purples advance.
Game to watch for- Southwestern vs Pulaski County- The potential region final matchup would take place in Somerset. Patric Edwards and Southwestern are one of the most underrated teams in the state, and this game would be an opportunity to prove their worth. The Warriors already beat PCHS once this season, but meeting in the third round would erase everything that happened in October. This could also be the last time Jake Johnson suits up for the Maroons. The all-time great now holds the state record for receptions and receiving yards in a career.
Player to watch- Clark Payne, Bowling Green- Jamale Carothers gets a lot of attention at running back for BGHS, but Payne has paced the offense all season. The senior QB has 29 touchdowns and only two interceptions while throwing for 2,514 yards. Even more impressive, Payne rarely plays in the second half due to running clocks. Payne is the leading passer in 5A and will look to add a third ring to his hand this December.
Championship Prediction- Bowling Green vs Southwestern- The Purples have dominated 5A this season like never before. Bowling Green has beaten every opponent by 20 or more points and outscored their opponents by 411 points in 2016. Southwestern needs to get past Pulaski County and potentially South Oldham if they want to reach Bowling Green for the first time. The Warriors have already beaten PCHS once, but they could meet again in the region championship. It doesn’t matter who comes out of the bottom of the bracket, Bowling Green will roll to their fifth title in six seasons.