The playoffs have finally arrived in the Bluegrass, but across the river, Ohio will crown several new state champions this weekend.

Ironton hopes to be the new king of Division V football in its state final rematch with Kirtland on Saturday. The Fighting Tigers will be making their 10th appearance in a championship game and will attempt to secure a third trophy to the school’s impressive trophy case.

The contest was moved from Canton to Columbus, then again to Massillon. Once the game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium is over, the team hopes to hear “We Are The Champions” from the loudspeakers.

Unfortunately, a total of 20 teams as of this writing have decided to end the season and not compete in the Kentucky high school playoffs. Several teams in our area have received a bye into the second round but there are still plenty of games on tonight’s docket, including a Saturday afternoon trip to Covington for Boyd County.

The band Queen will assist the picks this week.

Playoffs Week 1 Picks

Ashland 38, Greenup County 14. The two teams have waited all season for the chance to play after the first two meetings were canceled due to COVID-19. The Tomcats have a “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Of course, I’m not talking about coach Tony Love, but Ashland’s love of the big play and it’s crazy not to think a few will burn Greenup County.

Johnson Central 41, Harlan County 17.  The Golden Eagles have dispatched 22 straight opponents and tonight in Paintsville, “Another One Bites the Dust.” The No. 1 team in Class 4A begins its march toward another championship with a postseason victory.

Paintsville 37, Betsy Layne 12. The Tigers are determined to get back to the Class A title game and tell the visiting Bobcats that “We Will Rock You” before Paintsville completes a lopsided win.

Russell 34, East Carter 17. The Raiders have only played one game in 42 days, but “The Show Must Go On.” The Red Devils look to ride the momentum of a rivalry game victory and an extra week of rest to advance.

West Carter 40, Prestonsburg 18. The game has been moved to the turf at Kentucky Christian University and the Blackcats defense will be constantly “Under Pressure” trying to contain the potent Comets offense.

Holmes 24, Boyd County 20. The Lions are looking for a “Breakthru” performance against the Bulldogs. Boyd County has grown all season but Holmes finds a way to fend off their opponent late in the game.

Ironton 21, Kirtland 17. The Tigers have had “One Vision” all season. Ironton has not won a state title since 1989. The team will end the drought and hoist some hardware on Saturday.

Listen Up!

Tonight’s radio coverage:

Greenup County at Ashland: WBVB 97.1 FM,

Harlan County at Johnson Central: WSIP 98.9 FM

Betsy Layne at Paintsville: WKLW 94.7 FM

East Carter at Russell:

Prestonsburg vs. West Carter (at Kentucky Christian University): WUGO 99.7 FM

Boyd County at Holmes (Saturday):

Ironton vs. Kirtland (Saturday): WIRO 1230 AM

Reach MATTHEW SPARKS at or (606) 326-2654. Follow @SparksWillFly35 on Twitter

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