The story of the state has been Male. The Bulldogs’ defense has pitched five shutouts and allowed a total of 57 points this season. Male has outscored their opponents by 425 points in 2015. The closest game that Male has played was a three-point win over St. X in a game where the Tigers scored 14 points on defense. On offense, Hayden Shelton has begun to develop into a solid QB. Shelton struggled against St. X, but turned around with two nice games to end the season. Devin Gentry is a solid back for Male. He ran for three touchdowns against Trinity in Male’s 42-13 win. The hope for a rematch of these two teams may come in the regional final. Trinity has the second best scoring defense in 6A behind only Male with 91 points allowed (42 to Male). Jailen Reed is a hard runner who rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown against Male. Quarterback Jacob Woosley threw for 176 yards in the game. Woosley, like Shelton, is in his first full year as a starter. Both guys are key cogs for their teams to win a regional and state title. Male and Trinity are the early favorites for the region, but St. X could make some noise. The Tigers lost to Trinty and Male by a combined eight points this season. They will have a chance to play Trinity in the second round of the postseason and Male in the regional final.
In Region One, McCracken County enters as the favorite. Zy’aire Hughes is the big name on paper for the Mustangs, but watch out for Cash Jones in the playoffs. Jones can change the game in the air and hit Hughes and Darien Woods in space.
Region Three is tough from top to bottom. Simon Kenton is undefeated and the top seed in the region. The Pioneers have good wins over Ryle, Bryan Station, and Conner. Ryle and Conner are teams they could face early in the postseason. If both teams win, we will see a Ryle and Simon Kenton rematch in the second round. Tanner Morgan went 28/58 for 276 yards in the first game for Ryle while Simon Kenton’s Cameron Racke was 13/26 for 216. This would be a fun game for the second round, and more than likely be our game of the week. On the top half of the bracket, Cooper is the one seed. There is a strong chance Conner will beat the 1-9 Campbell County and force a rematch with Cooper in the second round. The two teams met in the final game of the regular season. Cooper won 15-13 behind Jaden Jackson’s 164 rushing yards.
The final region is number four. Loaded with Lexington talent, Lafayette and Scott County are the top teams in the region. Walker Wood and Lafayette have not lost since their matchup against Scott County (more on that below). Mason Alstatt, a Wofford-commit, has been a huge sleep for Lafayette. Scott County did not lose to an in-state team this season. They run the ball better than anyone in Kentucky with Kendrick Hamilton and Noah Hughes. Henry Clay and Tates Creek specialize in offense. Both teams are two seeds in the Fourth Region. Tates Creek has the top passer in 6A with Peyton Burke and Henry Clay has Joquise Buford, Austin Bledsoe, and Davonte Robinson in the backfield. There is lots of talent in this region, more on them below.
Best Potential Games
Lafayette vs Scott County- Scott County won the first matchup 65-46. The Generals of Lafayette have not lost since, largely in part to Walker Wood. The UK-commit threw for 247 yards and ran for 143 in the first game, but Lafayette’s defense could not stop Scott County’s rush attack. Lafayette has improved since then, and this game would be a fun regional final.
Trinity vs Male- Who doesn’t want to see this matchup again? This would be the real test to Male’s incredible season. Shutting down Trinity once again would be proof of their dominance in 6A for 2015. Trinity has to get past St. X first, but this would be the two most talented teams in 6A going again in Louisville.
Ryle vs Lafayette- This is a strange matchup that could only happen in the state semifinals. Why is his such a great game? POINTS. Tanner Morgan and Walker Wood would have a field day against each other. Ryle has a slightly better defense, but Wood is another breed. This would be a shootout by the end of the first quarter.
Players to Watch
The Scott County running backs- The Cardinals ran a three-headed monster at running back all season. With Keith Guy out the last few weeks, Kendrick Hamilton and Noah Hughes have continued on like business as usual. Hughes ran for 242 yards against Bryan Station and Hamilton with three touchdowns against CovCath. It’s a hard offense to stop with as many options as Scott County has in the backfield.
Joquise Buford, Henry Clay- Buford led the state in rushing last year, but struggled with injuries early in 2015. He returned against Tates Creek and promptly ran for 321 yards and five touchdowns. He is dangerous alongside Austin Bledsoe for the Blue Devils.
Damon Lowe, Trinity- Lowe is an anchor for one of the state’s best defense. The Rocks have not allowed a point in nearly a month. Lowe is a huge part of what they do on defense. He is a two-star recruit (Rivals) for the Class of 2016.
Region One- McCracken County
Region Two- Male
Region Three- Simon Kenton
Region Four- Lafayette
State Championship- Male vs Lafayette
Champions- Male- Following a win over Trinity, not much else will stand in the of Male winning a state title. The Bulldogs will keep Zy’aire Hughes and Cash Jones to modest nights in the semifinals before moving on to the title. Lafayette’s defense is not strong enough to stop Devin Gentry and Hayden Shelton while their offense would struggle against the top defense in the state.