Usually in this weekly look at high school football we have a set template.
This week I want to change it up a little bit.
So let’s get started with a few things to know.
Week 11 things
‰Rail Cities Bowl will be a battle of brothers. Talk about a house divided.
Russell running back Bryant Cathey and Raceland wide reciever Brady Harris are stepbrothers and are very close to one another.
But for the past week the two have been rivals, as they will face off tonight when Raceland travels to Russell.
‰Fairview is on a roll. The Eagles haven’t lost a regular-season game since Oct. 22, 2010.
That’s 20 regular season games Fairview has flown through without a loss.
The Eagles have a chance to make it 21, along with taking its second straight perfect regular season tonight when they travel to Powell County.
And now that the things to know are pointed out, now I want to take a look at next week when the state playoffs start.
Nine games feature area teams in action.
Here is a look at each game featuring a local team next week.
‰ Holmes at Ashland, Friday 7:30 p.m. This is the most intriguing local game of the playoffs.
Ashland is coming off an emotional final game of the season loss against Johnson Central.
And don’t let Holmes’ 5-4 record fool you. The Bulldogs played Highlands, Covington Catholic, Simon Kenton among others.
Ashland has high expectations this season, but the Tomcats have a tough first step to make it to Bowling Green.
‰ Boyd County at Highlands, Friday 7:30 p.m. This one seems simple enough to describe.
Highlands is the five-time defending Class 4A State Champion. Its only loss this year is to Cincinnati Elder, one of the perennial powers in the state of Ohio.
Boyd County grabbed the fourth seed in the district, and there is a reason nobody wants to grab the fourth seed in the district.
‰ Harrison County at Johnson Central, Friday 7:30 p.m. This one should be pretty easy for Johnson Central.
Harrison County has one win on the season, against an equally bad Pendleton County team.
Look for the Golden Eagles to march into the second round with a big win.
‰ Rowan County at Covington Catholic, Saturday 1 p.m. After picking up a win against Boyd County this season, Rowan County coach Kyle Singleton knew his team would be in this spot.
Singleton said no matter if you get Highlands or Covington Catholic, you’re going to be in for a tough game.
Covington Catholic has lost two games this season, including a 35-21 decision to rival Highlands.
‰ Garrard County at Russell, Friday 7:30 p.m. Russell’s first game of the playoffs is a little hard to predict.
Garrard County is only 5-4, but they’ve been in all four games they’ve lost, including two one-point deisions.
Russell will have to deal with Garrard County running back Noah Williams if they want a shot at moving to the next round.
‰ Lawrence County at Morgan County, Friday 7:30 p.m. After all that has happened to West Liberty this past year, it’s great to see them hosting a playoff game.
The Cougars have only lost one game this season against undefeated district rival Breathitt County going into tonight’s game at East Carter.
Lawrence County has been the most up-and-down team in the area, picking up motivating wins followed by crushing losses.
Morgan County should be the favorite, but Lawrence County could pull off the win.
‰ Lewis County at Bourbon County, Friday 7:30 p.m. Lewis County picked up the last Class 3A, District 6 playoff spot by sweeping the Carter County schools.
Bourbon County reached the playoffs by not losing, and doing so by allowing only 120 points in nine games.
Kentayvous Hopkins leads Bourbon county with 1,233 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
‰ Phelps and Fairview, Friday 7:30 p.m. “Believing in the Wood” is not that hard these days.
It’s even easier to believe in them next week when they play a winless Phelps team that made it into the playoffs on a technicality.
Look for the Eagles to move on to the second round with ease.
‰Allen Central at Raceland, Friday 7:30 p.m. While Fairview gets to go against winless Phelps, Raceland might have a little bit of trouble next week.
They go up against a one-win Allen Central team. That one win was a 22-20 victory over Phelps.
Even if the Rams sit out the entire first-string, I expect them to move on to the second round.
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.
Usually in this weekly look at high school football we have a set template.
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VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights