If I couldn’t preview my alma mater’s biggest game of the year, what’s the point of covering high school football?
The DeSales/CAL game has dramatically changed since former Louisville quarterback, Stefan LaFors, became CAL’s head coach.
The Class 2A District foes used to be nothing more than a formality. You prayed with ’em, you kicked their ass, and then they gave you Chick Fil-A on your way out the door. They were annoying, keeping the games within a few touchdowns and giving you compliments during the game, “Nice hit.” It was always strange, but nonetheless, a fun, routine ass-whooping. Now it’s a rivalry with statewide implications.
LaFors hates DeSales because even though they’ve won the last two regular-season matchups, CAL always loses in the playoffs. DeSales hates CAL because until they lost to Fern Creek two weeks ago, CAL was the only team to defeat DeSales in the past two seasons, going 14-1 with back-to-back State Championships. Fuel is added to the fire when you consider LaFors’ staff is almost entirely former UofL players, with a few that yap like they’re still players. A fight may or may not have almost broke out during postgame handshakes last season.
Some of the most thrilling high school games I’ve ever seen were between these two over the past few seasons. It will be no exception tomorrow; the C-J LitRatings put Cal as the #2 team in 2A, DeSales as #1. DeSales boasts a suffocating defense that swarms to the football, allowing less than 10 points a game. Their quarterback, Austin Johnson, can run the ball probably more effectively than he can pass it, but he’s best with his leg. Johnson is following in his big brother’s footsteps and will punt for UofL next Fall.
Cal loves to throw the ball around, but they have a freshman quarterback. Austin Carr has done well under pressure thus far, throwing for over 1,100 yards and 15 TDs with only 6 picks, but this will be the biggest game of his young career. His primary target is very good; Chad Lewellyn is 6’4″ and learned well from his older brother, who went on to play WR at the Naval Academy. However, their questionable offensive line will be tested by DeSales’s disruptive pass rush.
Since this game has become a rivalry, there will be major miscues leading to explosive plays. It will remain close, but CAL cannot slow down the DeSales defense from crushing their young quarterback. I wouldn’t mind if the Colts took an L, because that would assure a postseason Dub, but this DeSales team had a Bye Week to think about their first loss of the season. I’m taking DeSales, 28-24, even though there’s a better chance it will be the #Coltsby90.
And just a reminder for all the fine folks wearing District Championship shirts at Christian Academy:
Allow Trey to take it away with the rest of this week’s major high school matchups. He knows his stuff, after all, he’s taking DeSales to win too.
Franklin County (6-1) vs Spencer County (7-0)
Friday Night’s showdown of FCHS and SCHS will showcase two of the biggest surprises in 4A. Franklin County suffered their first defeat last week in a 23-0 loss to Collins. The Flyers played in our Game of the Week two Fridays ago. FCHS QB Barrett Sanderson is a terrific game manager and can step up in big scenarios. This will be the toughest game for Spencer County through eight games. The Bears take on Franklin County, Shelby County, and Henry County to end the season. Spencer County is led by a run offense that put up 737 yards on the ground against Bullitt Central. SCHS is 7-0, and this is a statement game to see if they are for real.
Trey’s Pick- Franklin County will prove they are one of the top three teams in 4A with a win over Spencer County.
Nick’s Pick- The Bears have had an unbelievable run, I don’t think it ends this weekend for Spencer County.
St. Xavier (4-2) vs Manual (6-0)
St. X cannot catch a break with their schedule. Following a 20-15 loss to Trinity, St.X will look to get back to their winning ways against the undefeated Manual. The Crimsons have the second best defense in 6A behind only Male. Manual has pitched three shutouts and have big wins over Central and Fern Creek. Butler put up -46 yards against Manual last week. Desmond Ridder and St. X will look to be the first team to score 20 or more points against Manual this season. Blake Roshkowski will need to have a big game and Ridder will have to find his accuracy if the Tigers want to pull off the upset.
Trey’s Pick- The Tigers are going to get a huge bounce back win over Manual.
Nick’s Pick- After last week’s almost win over Trinity, St. X responds with a win.
Ryle (6-0) vs Cooper (5-2)
Very few teams in the state have the amount of weapons that Ryle has on offense. Tanner Morgan runs the spread offense very well and outdueled Legend Brumbaugh and Lexington Catholic early in the season. Morgan threw for only 38 yards last week against George Rogers Clark, but Collin England and Jake Chisholm picked him up with a combined 362 yards on the ground. Cooper is led by QB Nathan Brown and running back Jaden Jackson. The Jaguars have struggled against high-level competition with losses to Bryan Station and Simon Kenton. This would be a big statement win for Cooper, and an even bigger win for Ryle.
Trey’s Pick- Tanner Morgan is a great QB for Ryle’s offense. He is going to show out and lead Ryle to a 7-0 record.
Nick’s Pick- Ryle will remained undefeated with a big win over a Northern Kentucky foe.