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SBLive Kentucky football power rankings: Wild week shakes up rankings entering playoffs

Six of the top 10 teams from our power rankings a week ago lost, including three of the top five

By Mitchell Forde

The Kentucky high school football season saved its best week yet for the last week of the regular season.

With teams across the state closing their season with non-district opponents, chaos reigned. Six of the top 10 teams from our power rankings a week ago lost, including three of the top five. 

That resulted in some major shakeups in the top 25 entering the playoffs. Here is our list of the top 25 teams in Kentucky, regardless of classification, at the end of the regular season and a look ahead at the first postseason test for each. 

1. St. Xavier (9-1)

While several of the top teams in the state struggled during their final test of the regular season, the Tigers issued a reminder of why they’re the favorite to defend their Class 6A crown. St. X routed Bowling Green 31-0. Led by Don’Tre Richardson, who rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, the Tiger offense racked up 237 yards on the ground. Their defense, which hasn’t allowed more than 14 points to an in-state opponent all season, held Bowling Green to 162 total yards and pitched a shutout. St. X will open their title defense by hosting Southern on Thursday.

2. Frederick Douglass (10-0)

Like St. X, Frederick Douglass continued to roll during the final week of their dominant regular season. The Broncos handled Boyle County 37-6. TJ Horton rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and Ty Bryant added two scores on the ground, as well. In nine non-forfeit games this season, Frederick Douglass outscored its opponents an astounding 464-48. The Broncos will try to keep that momentum rolling when they open postseason play against Conner on Friday.

3. Bullitt East (9-1)

The Chargers put up 51 points to win their ninth consecutive game to close the regular season, beating Oldham County 51-21. This senior-laden squad already checked off one goal this season by winning a district title. Now, they will look to take home the Class 6A state trophy. Their playoff run will start against Butler on Friday.

4. Scott County (9-1)

The Cardinals shot up our rankings by beating two of the top teams in the state in the final two weeks of the regular season. A week after topping Class 6A power Ballard, Scott County knocked off Lexington Catholic 28-21. The Cardinal offense rushed for a combined 301 yards and four touchdowns. Scott County’s only loss of the season came to Frederick Douglass (albeit by 41 points — a testament to the Broncos’ dominance) and those look like the two favorites to meet for the 5A state title game. Scott County’s road there will start with a home matchup against Cooper.

5. Corbin (10-0)

The Redhounds continued to roll with a 42-0 win over Class 6A Campbell County to close the regular season. They have now won their past four games by a combined 193-0. After that display of dominance, they have to be considered the favorite entering the Class 4A playoffs, but there will be plenty of competition from the likes of Lexington Catholic and Boyle County. Corbin will kick off its postseason against Harlan County on Friday.

6. Male (6-4)

The Bulldogs bounced back from a loss to Bullitt East by beating rival Manual 14-3. Kolter Smith replaced an injured Lucas Cobler at quarterback and threw for two touchdowns, both to Max Gainey, while Male’s defense took the ball away from Manual twice and kept the Crimsons out of the end zone. Male will look to march back to the state title game for the fifth straight season, starting with a home matchup against Pleasure Ridge Park.

7. Manual (8-2)

The Crimsons have had a dream season but found themselves on the losing end against Male for the ninth year in a row. Still, their defense is good enough that no one will want to face them during the postseason. Manual will host Fern Creek on Friday before a potentially juicy second-round matchup against Bullitt East.

8. Ballard (8-2)

The Bruins recovered from their loss to Scott County by cruising past North Hardin 44-14. An offense that has struggled in spots this season looked good, tying its season-high in points. Ballard will begin postseason play against Dixie Heights on Friday.

9. Trinity (6-4)

The Shamrocks enjoyed a week off prior to the start of the postseason. While their record may not show it, Trinity should have a chance to make some noise during the postseason after playing the most difficult schedule in the state. It will host Campbell County on Friday in the first round of the playoffs.

10. Southwestern (10-0)

The Warriors dominated Madison Central for a 36-0 win to conclude their perfect regular season. Christian Walden rushed for 84 yards and four touchdowns and the Southwestern defense manufactured three takeaways. The Warriors will host Madison Southern on Friday for their first test of the postseason.

11. Lexington Catholic (8-2)

The Knights saw their six-game winning streak snapped by Scott County, despite quarterback Jackson Wasik throwing for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Lexington Catholic will host Scott on Friday to start postseason play.

12. Boyle County (8-2)

The Rebels proved to be no match for Frederick Douglass. Their usually strong rushing attack was held to just 54 yards. The good news for Boyle County is it won’t face another opponent of that caliber this season. The Rebels will begin their quest for a Class 4A three-peat on Friday with a home matchup against Rowan County.

13. Simon Kenton (7-3)

The Pioneers delivered a statement with a 43-34 win over Woodford County to close the regular season. Quarterback Chase Crone had a huge game. Crone rushed for 271 yards and five touchdowns while adding 142 yards and a score through the air. Simon Kenton will enter the postseason having won four games in a row. It will look to extend that streak to five with a first-round matchup against Marshall County.

14. Highlands (8-2)

The Bluebirds had last week off. They will hope that doesn’t disrupt their current eight-game winning streak. Highlands will begin postseason play against Montgomery County on Friday.

15. Covington Catholic (8-2)

The Colonels closed the regular season with a 47-21 win over Ryle. Running back Owen Leen led the way, racking up 185 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Covington Catholic will open postseason play with a home matchup against Great Crossing, then could face Frederick Douglass in the second round.

16. Bowling Green (8-2)

The Purples fell victim to St. X last week, but a road loss to the defending Class 6A state champion is nothing to be ashamed of. Bowling Green won’t face another opponent of that caliber again this season. The Purples will look to get their high-powered offense back on track against Ohio County in the first round of the playoffs.

17. Woodford County (9-1)

The Yellow Jackets couldn’t complete an undefeated regular season, falling to Simon Kenton in the final game. Led by dual-threat quarterback Andrew Nason, Woodford County’s offense has been excellent all season, scoring at least 34 points in every game. The key to a deep postseason run will be shoring up a defense that couldn’t stop Crone. The Yellow Jackets will open the playoffs against Whitley County.

18. Christian Academy-Louisville (10-0)

The Centurions showed that they can beat up on more than just Class 3A opponents with a 56-14 win over Eastern (6A). Quarterback Cole Hodge threw for 200 yards and four touchdowns on just six completions while also rushing for 110 yards and a pair of scores. CAL will be the heavy favorite to win the Class 3A title. Its postseason will start Friday against LaRue County.

19. Owensboro (8-2)

The Red Devils proved their legitimacy with a 14-8 win over Henderson County. There are a lot of good defenses in the state this season, but Owensboro’s is right up there with the best of them. The Red Devils have now held six straight opponents to eight points or fewer. They will begin postseason play against Christian County on Thursday.

20. Bryan Station (7-3)

The Defenders stayed hot with a 50-15 win over Paul Laurence Dunbar to close the regular season. Both Bayubahe Benit and Jeremiah Mundy-Lloyd rushed for 110-plus yards and three touchdowns. The win marked seven in a row for Bryan Station after starting the season 0-3. It will look to make it eight with a home matchup against Lafayette on tap to start the playoffs.

21. Henderson County (8-2)

The Colonel offense, which had averaged nearly 57 points across their past four games, couldn’t find its footing against Owensboro. Henderson County will look to get back on track when it hosts Barren County on Friday in the first round of the playoffs.

22. Pikeville (7-2)

The Panthers got last week off to gear up for a run at defending their Class A title. They will start the postseason against Lynn Camp on Friday.

23. Central Hardin (9-1)

The Bruins handled South Oldham 30-7 for their fifth win in a row. The defense has carried the team during that stretch, holding opponents to an average of 6.4 points. Central Hardin will host Apollo on Friday to start the playoffs.

24. Warren East (10-0)

The Raiders proved themselves in a big way by beating Class 6A foe Daviess County 49-48 in overtime to cap a perfect regular season. Quarterback Dane Parsley completed 15 of 10 attempts for 204 yards and three touchdowns, plus he rushed for three more scores. Warren East needs to be included in the Class 4A state title conversation along with the likes of Corbin, Lexington Catholic and Boyle County. The Raiders will begin their postseason by hosting Hopkins County Central.

25. Greenwood (8-2)

The Gators handled Apollo 49-12 to close their regular season. Greenwood’s recipe for success this season hasn’t been a mystery. The Gators are averaging 40.3 points per game in their eight wins and 11 points in two losses. They will look to keep their offensive and overall success going when they host Grayson County in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.