Class 1A SUPER “7”
1. Pikeville Panthers (13-2; 1A State Champion) –
Reigning State Champs will test themselves early and often with one of the tougher schedules in 1A. They play up in class opponents in their non-district schedule. Sept. 16 they will host defending 3A champ Belfry. They lost to Belfry in 2015 where Pikeville looked overmatched and they will be looking to get even with Belfry. Pikeville is worthy of pre-season #1.
(Week 1 Defeated Prestonsburg 47-14)
2. Beechwood Tigers (13-2; lost in title game to Pikeville) – Beechwood always plays a tough non-district schedule and this year, all their opponents are higher class level teams. Don’t be surprised if there are more than a couple losses than usual, but with their tough schedule, I expect this team to be a title contending team at playoff time. Beechwood usually finds a way to make a good title run and this year shouldn’t be an exception.
(Week 1 DNP)
3. Russellville Panthers (11-3; lost in state semis to Beechwood) – Russellville was one of the teams to exhale a bit in 2015 as Mayfield, their playoff nemesis moved to 2A. Unfortunately, they now have a new playoff nemesis in the Beechwood Tigers. For Russellville to make it to the title game, they will have to find a way past Beechwood should they cross paths in the 1A playoffs.
(Week 1 Defeated Trigg County 41-0)
4. Paintsville Tigers (13-1; lost in state semis to Pikeville) – The tables turned on Paintsville in 2015 after upsetting Pikeville in 2014, they took it on the chin when eventual State Champs got even by knocking Paintsville out of the 2015 State Tournament. After Paintsville pulled out an incredible OT win in the regular season game, they may have thought they had Pikeville’s number. However, in the playoff rematch they just could not duplicate their regular season win. Paintsville has a tough schedule that should have enough challenges to help them prepare for the playoffs.
(Week 1 Defeated Sheldon Clark 43-0)
5. Hazard Bulldogs (10-3; lost in round 3 to Pikeville) – Hazard seems to be in the thick of things every season. In 2015 it seems Hazard has faced more than their fair share of injuries. They still managed a 10 win season behind the tutelage of Coach Dixon. Hazard could be the darkhorse out of the 1A teams if they can get lucky enough to have the top teams in 1A knock each other off in the tournament.
(Week 1 Defeated Pineville 42-21)
6. Raceland Rams (7-5; lost in round 2 to Paintsville) – Maybe this year is the Rams year. Raceland has a deep and experienced roster. Not many 1A teams will have a roster the size of Raceland’s with over 60 players dressing out. They lost to Paintsville in 2015 and look to improve this year.
(Week 1 Defeated West Carter 28-13)
7. Pineville Lions (7-4; lost in round 1 to Hazard) – Only one starting lineman graduated this year so they are loaded with experience. The schedule is fairly weak with the exception of the opener against #5 ranked Hazard, a team they lost to in the first round of the 1A tournament last year. This game could set the tone for their entire year.
(Week 1 Lost to Hazard 42-21)
Class 2A SUPER “7”
1.Mayfield Cardinals (14-1, Class 2A State Champions) How do you not rank Mayfield at the top? It is hard to say anyone was surprised when the small school power stepped up in Class and promptly dethroned DeSales as the King of the Hill in 2A, The Cardinals strength in the playoffs was their Defense which held four of 2A’s top Offenses to a combined 39 points. On paper Mayfield looks stacked, and it’s up to the rest of 2A Class to bring them down.
(Week 1 Defeated Fort Campbell 56-0)
2. DeSales Colts (11-3, Lost to Mayfield in the Semi’s)- The Colts once again made a deep playoff push before a tough loss to Mayfield. For most teams, a Semi-Final push would be cause for celebration, but for perennial power DeSales, it was a let down after being the 2014 State Champs.
(Week 1 Defeated Fairdale 30-0)
3. Danville Admirals (12-2, Lost to New Cath in the Semi’s)- One of the better stories of 2015 was the Admiral’s return to the top of the 2A. The Admirals have some holes to fill with the loss of some key players. Will this be the year that the Admirals return to the Title Game?
(Week 1 Defeated Larue 47-13)
4. Christian Academy of Louisville Centurions (10-3, Lost to Desales in Regional Finals)- Stefan LeFors’ team looks to be ready for another try at the 2A Title. They were considered by many the slight favorite in their class, their lone losses were to two bigger schools. The 2016 edition of the Centurions looks to get over the hump with some very talented returning players.
(Week 1 Lost to Simon Kenton 41-14)
5. Owensboro Catholic Aces (10-3, Lost to Mayfield in Regional Finals)- There is no other place to put Owensboro Catholic except 2A’s top 5 after the success they have enjoyed under Coach John Edge’s guidance.
(Week 1 Lost to Evansville Mater Dei IN 54-29)
6. Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (9-6, State Runner-Ups)- Usually, if you lose 6 games in a season, the coach gets fired, but then again when you play for a State Title It keeps you your job. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who challenges the Thoroughbreds non District schedule.
(Week 1 vs Scott)
7. Lexington Christian Academy Eagles (8-5, Lost in Regional Finals to Danville)- Youth is unpredictable at times. In 2015, the Eagles were on a youth trip that had lows of surprising upsets and highs of making a deep run in the Tournament. The LCA allowed 362 points in 2015 but lost their top Defender.
(Week 1 Defeated Williamsburg 32-22)
Class 3A SUPER “7”
1. Belfry Pirates (2015: 14-1; Class 3A State Champions)
Belfry is the clear favorite in Class 3A this season and will also look to win four straight championships, cementing themselves among the best ever in Kentucky high school football. Until someone upsets Belfry they will remain #1.
Belfry will face a challenging schedule with four road games against teams that either won or played for a state championship last season
(Week 1 DNP)
2. Lexington Catholic Knights (11-4; lost to Belfry in state finals)
Despite a 43-0 whipping at the hands of the Belfry in the state championship game, LC should remain at the top of 3A just behind Belfry. Whether they have enough to stop Belfry hold on the Title remains to be seen, but it will not be due to lack of star power or effort. Much of the defense returns and will have to stop a typically formidable schedule.
(Week 1 Defeated Boone 41-18)
3. Corbin Redhounds (9-5; lost to Belfry in state semifinals)
Corbin will be a force to be reckoned with this year. Their tough schedule should have them ready to make a run at Belfry this year, but they will still have to climb over Lexington Catholic. A #3 ranking is not too shabby out of this group of teams.. With that said, however, the Redhounds should be very good. Coach Justin Haddix will have the Redhounds ready for whatever challenges they may run in to.
(Week 1 Defeated Whitley 42-6)
4. Central Yellowjackets (10-3; lost to Lexington Catholic in regional finals) Last year’s Central squad fell to Lexington Catholic at home in the region final. They have enough talent to still slide in to the number 4 spot in our rankings. Centrals defense is always strong and should win them a couple games this year.
(Week 1 Lost to Dupont Manual 21-20)
5. Boyle County Rebels (10-2; lost to Central in second round)
Boyle is always in the mix and this year will not be any different. A loss to #5 Central in second round last year put a damper on a pretty good season last year. October 14th will be a date to watch as they travel to Lexington Catholic. Boyle has a tough schedule this season, but it should help them when they have to face better teams during later rounds of the tournament.
(Week 1 Satuday)
6. Garrard County Golden Lions (7-5; lost to Lexington Catholic in second round) Our Number 6 & 7 picks are a little surprising with Garrard County and Breathitt County, but I think both are going to surprise some teams this year. The Lions must replace several starters, but they have some up and coming talent that should keep them on the rise in 3A. If Garrard can improve athletically, develop some their talent and avoid any major injuries, They should be in the mix come tournament time.
(Week 1 Defeated Shelby County 41-31)
7) Breathitt County Bobcats (4-7; lost to Casey County in First Round) This is a surprise pick considering Russell, Bell, Caldwell and Elizabethtown are still out there but Breathitt has steadily been improving under Coach Kyle Moore. Moore took over for Bobcat legend Coach Mike Holcomb and finished 7-5 in his first year at the Bobcat helm. Breathitt fell to 4-7 in 2014 and again in 2015 but showed vast improvement. Breathitt has 10 returning starters on offense to include one of the top QB’s in the region in Cameron Stacy. Breathitt needs to avoid injuries and hope their young players develop quickly. Their schedule is tough as they will be opening up against 5A Perry County Central. Their schedule mirrors last years schedule and ends with a tough road game against 1A power Hazard. Breathitt should make the State Tournament and with a little luck should be a tough out against the powers of 3A.
(Week 1 DNP)