Bardstown hosts Elizabethtown in the Kroger KSR Game of the Week. Both teams are 6-0 and have high-powered offenses. Bardstown is ranked No. 1 in the state in points per game and scoring margin. Bardstown QB Brady Clark is ranked No. 1 in the state in touchdown passes with 24.
We caught up with sports journalist and Elizabethtown resident Nate Bryan, who has 20 years of experience covering high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @NateInSports.
On the playoff game last year…
Last year E-town couldn’t stop Bardstown in the playoffs. That was one of the big problems. Brady Clark was 16-for-19 for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns. He basically picked them apart. E-town’s offensive line, which was a little bit younger last year, gave up 3 sacks and 6 tackles for loss last year in the playoff game against Bardstown.
When the seniors were 8th graders they won the Kentucky middle school football championship. Their entire offensive line is back. The quarterback Clay Games is back. He just verballed to Kentucky Wesleyan. He also had offers from Wabash, Hanover, Mount St. Joseph and Briar Cliff University. He has had a really good year, too. There are only three quarterbacks that haven’t been intercepted in Class 3A and you are about to watch two of them.
The wide receiver is Camden Williams; he is also a good defensive back. His dad, Chris Williams, helped lead E-town to the state basketball championship with Antwain Barbour in 2000. Camden is a three-sport athlete. He has an offer for JUCO baseball and was also a starter on E-town’s basketball team that was ranked No. 1 part of last year. E-town’s basketball coach is completely okay with players playing multiple sports.
RB/LB Camron McNeil has offers from Centre, Hanover, Kentucky Wesleyan, Mount St. Joseph and Wabash. C/DT Ryan Pyles, I believe, is one of the top 100 players in the state according to the coaches. 6 foot 270. He has offers from Brevard, Centre, Hanover, Mount. St. Joseph and Wabash.
E-town’s coach Ross Brown is in his first year of coaching. His dad, the legendary Mark Brown, who is now the assistant, led Nelson County to the state title back in 1996.
Bardstown QB Brady Clark is number two in Class 3A in completion percentage with 64.4%, number two in total passing yards, number one in touchdowns, number one in interceptions, and number one in quarterback ranking. He has an offer from D3 Mount St. Joseph and also has an offer from Kentucky Wesleyan. He is also a good baseball player. He can check down. He doesn’t force throws if the number one option is not there.
They have young running backs. TJ Greenwell is a sophomore, Shannon Tonge is a sophomore. Tonge is solid. That Tonge family name has been around in Bardstown sports for 20 years.
On Bardstown’s 41-7 3rd round playoff loss to DeSales last year…
I don’t think E-town could have matched up any better with DeSales than Bardstown did. I don’t think they could match their power game. E-town and Bardstown have some nice pieces but neither of them has a D-1 mammoth lineman. I’m not trying to throw shade on these teams, but I think (reigning 3A champion) Belfry runs over them.
On the schedules…
Bardstown has the 5th easiest schedule in 3A, E-town has the 10th easiest schedule in 3A. Elizabethtown was scheduled to play North Hardin, but that game was cancelled.
On the Rivalry…
E-town, Bardstown goes way back. I think Bardstown was actually E-town’s oldest rival. They are 25 miles apart. They used to be district rivals back in the old four class days.
Do you expect a high scoring, close game?
I think so. I think, personally, the defenses aren’t as good as they are made out to be because they haven’t played anybody. Last year it was rainy in the regular season, so that was kind of a one-off. I would expect both teams to easily score over 20. They can both pass really well, and they can both keep you honest with the run, but each team’s top running back from last year is no longer there. Elizabethtown’s Joseph Becherer graduated and Bardstown’s LaDarion Montgomery is now playing for Bethlehem.