McCracken County (8-1) vs Bowling Green (8-1)
In the AP Poll, Bowling Green is the top ranked 5A squad while MCHS is 6th in 6A. Both teams suffered early loss, with BG losing at St. X and McCracken losing to Paducah Tilghman.
McCracken County has a very balanced offense led by QB Cash Jones. The stud QB has thrown for 22 touchdowns and 1,718 on 101/159 passing in 2015. He has several receivers who create in space. Darien Woods and Tyce Daniel are great targets, as well as UK-commit Zy’aire Hughes. Hughes will be the fifth Kentucky commit that has played in the KSR Game of the Week. Playing both receiver and running back, Hughes has game-changing speed and is a Mr. Football candidate.
A big issue for McCracken County will be stopping Jamale Carothers and Clark Payne for BG. The Mustangs have put up huge numbers of points this season, but they have struggled to stop opposing offenses. I say it every week, but Carothers is a very underrated 2017 player in Kentucky. Carothers has run for 821 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. Payne is in his first year as starting quarterback for the Purples. With 20 touchdowns and only four interceptions, Payne has proved he could fill in the role well. For fans of the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen, you will remember DeAngelo Wilson for Bowling Green. Wilson played a “Tyler Ulis” kind of role for the Purples’ Basketball Team, and he is the leading receiver in football.
A key for the Purples will be to put pressure on Cash Jones. Bowling Green has 24 sacks this season and 15 interceptions. McCracken County will need to take good care of the ball and attack like normal to win this game. The Purples will need to see a big game from both Carothers and Payne to win a game that could be a shootout.
Trey’s Pick- Bowling Green will see a big game from Carothers and McCracken won’t be able to contain him.
Nick’s Pick- Even though it probably won’t happen, I want the UK kid to take down Trey’s Purples. Besides, “Phil McCracken” was one of my favorite high school aliases.
Johnson Central (8-0) vs Belfry (8-1)
JCHS continued their undefeated season as they escaped an 8-7 nail-biter against Ashland Blazer last week. Johnson Central held Quinton Baker to a quiet night except for his long TD run. This was nothing out of the ordinary for the Golden Eagles. JCHS has allowed double figures only twice this season. They face a Belfry team that will look to run all over the field on Friday. Xondre Willis is lead man for Belfry, but they have a “backfield by committee”. Look for a similar attack from Johnson Central as Bryce Workman and Connor Ratliff lead the way.
Trey’s Pick- I like Belfry’s defense to pick up a big win headed into the postseason.
Nick’s Pick- Johnson Central remained poised against Ashland last week, but two tough tests in a row will be too much. Belfrey for the win.
Paintsville (9-0) vs Shelby Valley (8-1)
Paintsville will look to wrap up an undefeated regular season against one of their most difficult opponents of the 2015 season. We all know that Kash is the main sight for the Tigers, but Kent Phelps has taken over as the primary offensive weapon. Phelps totaled 190 yards last week, and he ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns in front of Coach Stoops earlier this month. Shelby Valley is an incredible rushing team as well with an attack led by Chandler Rowe, Jordan Hampton, and Kasey Tackett. The Wildcats have won their last eight games, but this would be their biggest win to date.
Trey’s Pick- Shelby Valley’s record is deceiving. Paintsville wins this one by double digits.
Nick’s Pick- All Kash Everything.
Mayfield (8-1) vs Caldwell County (8-1)
Mayfield has handled their move to 2A with grace as their only loss this season was to McCracken County in OT. Landon Arnett has been an excellent quarterback and Shauntrez Tyler and Kevin Caldwell have carried the weight on the ground. Mayfield’s defense has pitched three shutouts and 37 of their 98 points against came in their overtime loss. In their first season without Elijah Sindelar, Caldwell County has relied on Shane Burns to deliver in the pocket. Burns has been extremely accurate this season, including a 34/42 performance where he threw for five touchdowns and 391 yards against Henderson County. It will be fun to watch Burns air it out to WKU-commit Dee Cain against Mayfield’s defense.
Trey’s Pick- Caldwell County has been on a roll as of late. Burns has one incompletion and five touchdowns in his last two games and he will lead CCHS to a big win to end the regular season.
Nick’s Pick- Two of the three best 3A teams on the western side of the state get a final chance to flex before it really matters in the playoffs. Caldwell will win this one, but once they get to the playoffs it will be a different story.