Kentucky high school football | Local Class 5-A teams at a glance

Kentucky high school football | Local Class 5-A teams at a glance

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Kentucky high school football | Local Class 5-A teams at a glance

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The Courier-Journal will run capsules previewing high school football seasons for all 35 Louisville-area programs.


BULLITT CENTRAL (6-5)

Coach: Dan Leasor (seventh season, 35-32).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 6.

Class: 5-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Junior running back Trevor Carnell (5-10, 180) had a breakthrough season as a sophomore, rushing for 1,946 yards and scoring 28 touchdowns (23 rushing, four receiving, one kick return). “He’s gained about 10 or 15 pounds, and he’s faster than what he was because of running track,” Leasor said. “We expect big things out of him.”

Other top players: FB-LB Jacob Fulkerson (Sr.), FS D.J. Dennison (Jr.), RB-DB Zack Patton (Jr.), RB-DE Michael Saunders (Sr.), OL-DL Zack Smith (Jr.), OL Joey Combest (Sr.), OL-DL Cody Ford (Sr.), TE-DE Tyler Bray (Sr.), RB-DE Jason Johns (Sr.).

Outlook: Coaches picked the Cougars to take the district title, something Leasor said he expected. “I hoped it wouldn’t happen because it puts a target on our backs,” he said, “but we think we can win the district every year.” After running a spread offense in recent years, the Cougars will run a traditional I-formation this season in an attempt to keep their defense fresh. “Last year we’d either score real quick or go three and out,” Leasor said. “Our defense was on the field an awful lot.” He also likes the I-formation because it gives Carnell a lead blocker in Fulkerson, a 250-pound fullback. Leasor said sophomore Cameron Dukes leads three others in the race to become the starting quarterback.

— Jason Frakes

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/30 FAIRDALE 10/4 *N. BULLITT
9/6 at Southern 10/11 *at Bullitt East
9/13 VALLEY 10/18 *SHELBY CO.
9/21 at McCracken Co. 10/25 SIMON KENTON
9/27 at Elizabethtown 11/1 at S. Oldham
*-District game.

BULLITT EAST (4-7)

Coach: Darrell Vincent (third season, 8-14).

Starters back: Offense 8, defense 7.

Class: 5-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Senior RB Brandon Samuels rushed for 754 yards and nine touchdowns last season, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He also starts at defensive end. “He hits the hole and doesn’t go down on first contact,” Vincent said. “He’s going to get you 4 or 5 yards. He’s an every-down guy who will make a play.”

Other top players: WR Paul Miles (Sr.), TE-FS Cruise Coulter (Sr.), TE Trent Meredith (Jr.), OT Dylan Ferguson (Sr.), LB Evan Kerr (Sr.), SS Robert Hartley (Jr.), LB Nick Cooper (Jr.), LB Shane Satori (Jr.).

Outlook: Five of the Chargers’ seven losses last season were by seven points or fewer, and Vincent is hoping his players’ experience will help them get over the hump this year. Ferguson leads an offensive line that returns four of five starters, and Samuels is a durable back. Junior Pierce Kelly will be the third starting quarterback in three years for the Chargers. “He’s a good athlete, more of a runner than a passer,” Vincent said. Kerr is the leader on defense after posting 81 tackles (eight for loss) and two sacks last year. “The atmosphere and work ethic this offseason has been tremendous due to outstanding senior leadership,” Vincent said.

— Jason Frakes

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 a-Frankfort 9/27 OLDHAM CO.
8/30 NELSON CO. 10/11 *BULLITT CENTRAL
9/6 at Waggener 10/18 *at North Bullitt
9/13 SPENCER CO. 10/25 *at Shelby County
9/20 at Central Hardin 11/1 at Fairdale
*-District game; a-at Lincoln County.

IROQUOIS (3-6)

Coach: Mark Sander (second season).

Starters back: Offense 3, defense 3.

Class: 5-A, District 3.

Player to watch: RB Gerrome Kohn (So.). With his speed and ability, this transfer from St. Xavier could be an impact player for the Raiders. “I like his knowledge of the game,” Sander said. “He accepts coaching well; he listens well.”

Other top players: RB-LB Larry Jackson (Jr.), QB Malik Saunders (Jr.), LB Milik Lewis (Jr.), DB Jordan Richie (Jr.), LB Johntae Watkins (Jr.), RB Matt Bizimana (Jr.), RB-CB Ramontez Castillo (Sr.), WR John Wright (Sr.), DL John Watkins (Sr.).

Outlook: Iroquois lost 16 seniors from last season and has only nine this year. “We need a lot of effort from the junior class,” Sander said. “We have 12 juniors. Those kids started as sophomores. Some, like Jackson and Saunders, started as freshmen. We’ll be competitive in the games we were last year, but our district games are at another level (John Hardin and Jeffersontown, for example).”

— Bob White

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 OLDHAM COUNTY 9/27 *JOHN HARDIN
8/30 WAGGENER 10/4 *GRAYSON COUNTY
9/6 VALLEY 10/11 *at North Hardin
9/13 at Southern 10/25 *at Jeffersontown
9/20 at KCD 11/1 ATHERTON
*-District game.

JEFFERSONTOWN (8-5)

Coach: Nathan Jones (second season).

Starters back: Offense 7, defense 6.

Class: 5-A, District 3.

Player to watch: RB-SS Richard Deloney (Sr.) is “by far the second-best player I’ve ever coached,” Jones said. “He’s next to Braxton Miller (the starting quarterback at Ohio State whom he coached in Ohio). “Richard has good speed and great vision and could be one of the five best players in the state.” Deloney had 1,105 yards rushing and 10 TDs last season.

Other top players: LB T.J. Lawrence (Sr.), DL Steven Brown (Sr.), QB Kendrick Gardner (Sr.), LB Charles Mucker (Sr.), LB Darell Watson (Sr.), DB Dondre Busby (Sr.), OL Drake Buster (Sr.), OL Cydney Robb (Sr.), OL Cody Sumrall (Sr.).

Outlook: Deloney’s talent, along with the offensive and defensive lines, will be the Chargers’ strong points. Jones calls Lawrence “one of the most aggressive players I’ve ever coached. We have enough talent to make a run at the district (title), but we have to be more consistent in district games.”

— Bob White

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 at Eastern 10/4 *at North Hardin
8/30 BALLARD 10/11 *JOHN HARDIN
9/6 NORTH BULLITT 10/18 *at Grayson County
9/13 at Male 10/25 *IROQUOIS
9/20 MEADE COUNTY 11/1 at Oldham County
*-District game.

NORTH BULLITT (5-6)

Coach: Brett Newton (17th season, 86-91).

Starters back: Offense 5, defense 7.

Class: 5-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Senior running back Josh Exton (5-11, 180) rushed for 1,176 yards and 11 TDs in 2012. “He’s a big, strong kid with pretty good quickness,” Newton said. “He has good vision and runs hard.” Exton also is one of the defensive leaders at cornerback.

Other top players: QB-S Dalton Casey (Jr.), RB-LB Jack Barnett (Sr.), RB-LB Brett McGlothin (Sr.), OL Luke Humphrey (Sr.), S Logan James (So.).

Outlook: The Eagles have strong running backs in Exton, Casey and Barnett but took a hit when Mitchell Allen transferred. Newton said Casey has matured from “a scrawny quarterback” as a freshman to “a leader in the huddle. He’s very gifted in the open field. If somebody’s going to have a breakout season, he’d be the guy.” The defense must improve after allowing 30 points per game last year.

— Jason Frakes

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 at Franklin County 10/4 *at Bullitt Central
8/30 SOUTHERN 10/11 *SHELBY COUNTY
9/6 at Jeffersontown 10/18 *BULLITT EAST
9/20 OLDHAM COUNTY 10/26 CALLOWAY COUNTY
9/27 at Henry County 11/1 at Meade County
*-District game.

SHELBY COUNTY (9-3)

Coach: Todd Shipley (14th season, 65-79).

Starters back: Offense 2, defense 5.

Class: 5-A, District 4.

Player to watch: Sophomore running back/linebacker Malik Manica (5-9, 188) is the top returning tackler with 67. He’ll also see more time on offense this season. “He runs with a lot of power,” Shipley said. “He’s not the fastest cat in the litter, but he has good vision and good cutting ability.”

Other top players: QB-DB Dalton Thompson (Sr.), RB Earl Stoudemire (Jr.), OT/DT Garrett Perry (Jr.), DT Jalyn Perry (Sr.), DT Garrett Perry (Jr.), LB Nick Waurio (Sr.), LB Britton Woolwine (Jr.).

Outlook: After a 2-9 campaign in 2011, the Rockets reached the second round of the playoffs before falling to Jeffersontown. Their other losses were by one point, to Anderson County and Collins. Option specialist Thompson takes over at quarterback after playing wide receiver and defensive back last season. The offensive line lost all five starters, “but we’re much bigger there than we were last year,” Shipley said. “Last year we only had one guy over 200 pounds. This year we only have one guy under 200 pounds.”

— Jason Frakes

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 at Henry County 10/11 *at North Bullitt
8/30 SPENCER COUNTY 10/18 *at Bullitt Central
9/13 COLLINS 10/25 *BULLITT EAST
9/20 RYLE 11/1 WESTERN HILLS
10/4 at Frankfort
*-District game.

SOUTH OLDHAM (8-4)

Coach: Jamie Reed (4th season, 21-13).

Starters back: Offense 6, defense 6.

Class: 5-A, District 5.

Player to watch: RB-DB Ticorion Williams (Sr.). Williams totaled 1,205 yards in rushing and receiving and scored 14 TDs last season. “He’s got everything you’d want in a running back – he’s fast, strong, smart and a good all-around player,” Reed said. “For us, he’s always got to be on the field. He’s on our special teams, too.”

Other top players: LB Shane Smith (Sr.), DE Daniel Young (Sr.), LB Connor John (Jr.), WR Davis Culberson (Sr.), FB Kevin Kuriger (Jr.), QB Chase Lightfoot (Sr.), WR Matt Hamilton (Sr.), WR Ethan Reinert (Jr.), QB Charles McGee (Jr.).

Outlook: Lightfoot, a good passer, or McGee, the better runner, must fill the big shoes vacated by quarterback Jack Sherry, who left for Morehead State. “The defensive line will be the strength of our team,” said Reed, who expects big things from John, a 6-1, 220-pound transfer from Connecticut. “It all depends on if our quarterback can compete at a high level. If he can, we’ll be competitive.”

— Bob White

Date Opponent Date Opponent
8/23 at East Jessamine 9/27 *CONNER
8/30 COLLINS 10/4 *GRANT COUNTY
9/6 at Anderson County 10/11 *at Cooper
9/13 OLDHAM COUNTY 10/18 *at Scott
9/20 at North Oldham 11/1 BULLITT CENTRAL
*-District game.

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