Very few classes are as talented as 2A. From top to bottom, there will be great games in each region. Beginning in region one, Mayfield will look to establish dominance in their first season in 2A. The Cardinals boast a 9-1 record with big wins over Caldwell County and Paducah Tilghman. Mayfield runs a balanced attack with Landon Arnett at QB and Shauntrez Tyler in the backfield. They play in one of the tougher regions in the state. With a win over Todd County, Mayfield would have a potential matchup with 8-2 Butler County in the second round. The true worry for Mayfield will be against Owensboro Catholic. The Aces took Owensboro to the brink and are riding a seven-game winning streak. Ray Zuberer is the top passes in 2A. He leads OCHS with 35 passing touchdowns and 2, 720 yards in the air. Also in region one is Murray. Led by Tre Hornbuckle, Murray is a sleeper for the regional championship. The Tigers blew out their opponents in all six of their wins, and lost close games to Mayfield, Paducah Tilghman, and Hopkinsville.
DeSales and Christian Academy of Louisville look to be the favorites entering the region two playoffs. Their defense should be able to shut down any of the opponents in the opening rounds. The only question going forward will be the Colts offense. In their two losses, DeSales has scored zero points. Austin Johnson is a big question at QB and has been inconsistent down the homestretch. DeSales’ running game has stepped up behind Austin Tharp. The Colts have a few guys that will get carries in the postseason, including Johnson. DeSales is a two seed playing Green County in the first round. They will potentially face Monroe County in the second round and CAL in the regional title. A rematch of DeSales against CAL would be one of the top matchups in the state. CAL shutout DeSales 16-0 in early October. Three of the last four losses for DeSales have been to CAL, but none of them have been in the playoffs. DeSales has beaten CAL in the playoffs the last two seasons. All that could change as CAL will host DeSales if the teams meet in the regional final. Austin Carr has been solid this season at quarterback and their defense is fantastic. They have shutout Desales, Meade County, and Franklin County on their way to an 8-2 record. This would be the matchup to look for in the 2A playoffs.
The third region will have plenty of parity entering the playoffs. Newport Central Catholic is the highest ranked team in the bracket, and Lloyd Memorial has the best record. Jacob Smith has run for 100 or more yards on the ground in six straight games. He will be the top talent in this bracket.
In region four, Danville an Shelby Valley take the one seeds. Danville rolls into the postseason not having allowed double digits since September 4th against Boyle County. Their defense will be tested early if they were to get past East Ridge on Friday. Danville would have to take on either Somerset or #8 Leslie County in the second round. On the other side of the region stands Shelby Valley and Lexington Christian Academy. Both of these teams are coming off losses entering the playoffs. Dillon Wheatley is the leading rusher in 2A and will look to lead LCA to a run in the postseason.
Best Potential Matchups
DeSales vs CAL- I love the idea of these teams meeting in the regional final. The first game was a defensive slugfest. CAL forced turnovers and put themselves in position to score in the second half. DeSales seems to have CAL’s number in the postseason, so this one would be fun to watch.
DeSales vs Mayfield- There would be a lot of defensive talent on the field if these teams square off in the state semis. This would also be a fun game to watch because of the two normal powerhouses now in the same class.
Danville vs Owensboro Catholic- OCHS has the offense and Danville has the defense. Boyle County’s Josiah Robbins lit up the scoreboard against Danville and he is the only player to do so. It would be interesting to see how Danville did on the road against the leading offense in 2A.
Players to Watch
Rex Henderson, Butler County- Henderson has quietly been doing his thing as of late. The QB has averaged over 300 yards in the air over the last three games. Butler County could pull off a big upset if they meet up with Mayfield in the second round. Henderson would need to go berserk if they were to do so. But he has the arm and the targets to do so.
Dillon Wheatley, LCA- He is the top scorer and the top rusher in all of 2A football. Wheatley has 1, 718 yards and 27 total touchdowns on the season. He is the kind of back you can ride for a few wins in the postseason. Wheatley and LCA are in a tough bracket for region, but he is crazy talented and can led them out.
Tre Hornbuckle, Murray- Potentially the most highly rated recruit in 2A, Hornbuckle leads Murray to a first round matchup against McLean County. Hornbuckle is a defensive end commit to Duke for 2016.
Region One- Mayfield
Region Two- DeSales
Region Three- Lloyd Memorial
Region Four- Danville
State Championship- Mayfield vs Danville
State Champions- Mayfield– Yeah, yeah I know, it may be an easy pick for most. But this is one of the more top-heavy, talented classes. DeSales and Mayfield could be an instant classic if the teams meet. I think the Danville matchup would be fun as well, but Mayfield can and will get the job done once again.