KHSAA Playoffs: State semifinals set

We’ve reached the semifinal round of the KHSAA playoffs and we have three Northern Kentucky teams left standing. All of them hope to punch their ticket to play next weekend at Kroger Field in Lexington and a chance to play for a state championship. Here’s a look at what is on tap for this Friday.

Class 5A – Friday 6:00 PM

One week after advancing via a COVID-19 forfeit, the Colonels look to get back on the gridiron on Friday night as they welcome a familiar foe in the Purples. CovCath knocked off Bowling Green in this same round last season with a 28-0 home win to advance to the Class 5A title game. Head coach Eddie Eviston would love to repeat that effort this time around. While the Colonels were without an opponent a week ago, the Purples rolled past North Bullitt with a 55-7 effort. Bowling Green doesn’t possess the most-explosive offense, but have played stifling defense at times this season, allowing just 10.8 points per game and holding six of their 10 opponents to seven points or less. Covington Catholic is looking to get back to the Class 5A state championship for the fourth straight year and hoping to secure its third title in that span. This game will feature a pair of senior signal callers in Caleb Jacob and Conner Cooper, one of which will be playing in their final high school game. Jacob has had an epic three-year run as the Colonels’ quarterback and can further etch his name in the school’s record books by claiming a second state crown. He’s done more damage on the ground than through the air this season. He has compiled 1,689 yards and 10 TD’s through the air while rushing for 508 yards and 15 scores. Cooper has thrown for 1,628 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for another 322 yards and four scores.

Class 2A – Friday 7:30 PM

The Tigers rolled to a sixth straight win last week as they took down Breathitt County, 52-7. With one more win they can punch a ticket to next Friday’s Class 2A title game. They travel to West Carter to face a Comets’ team that is coming off a decisive 43-6 win over Walton-Verona a week ago. During their current winning streak Beechwood has outscored their opponents 288 to 20. West Carter is the highest scoring Class 2A team in the state, averaging 39.7 points per game. This contest will feature two of the best player makers in the state in Cam Hergott and Leetavious Cline. Hergott has thrown 2,023 yards and added another 885 yards on the ground to go along with 21 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing scores. Cline has 2,020 total yards of offense to go along with 30 touchdowns. Most of that damage has been done on the ground where he averages 9.16 yards per carry. That said this game will likely come down to defense and which team can make the big stop and come away with some key turnovers. There are no common opponents between the two schools, but West Carter did defeat Boone County 26-13 earlier in the year in addition to last week’s win versus Walton-Verona.

Class 1A – Friday 7:30 PM

After doubling up Louisville Holy Cross a week ago 42-21, the Thoroughbreds now hit the road to take on a Tigers’ squad that appears to be clicking on all cylinders after taking down Hazard 39-7 last Friday night. Newport Central Catholic leaned on its running game once again last week and senior Joey Runyon delivered with one of his biggest performances of the season as he tallied 191 yards and four scores on 28 attempts. Paintsville’s defense will prove to be a bit bigger of a challenge though. The Tigers are ceding just 11.9 points per contest on the season. On offense, Paintsville has a balanced attack led by quarterback Jake Hyden and running back Harris Phelps, the latter of which has rushed for 1,015 yards and 15 touchdowns. These two teams didn’t share a common 2020 opponent, but one win of note from Paintsville was their 37-12 victory over West Carter, who is facing Beechwood Friday night. Expect this contest to be a tight battle with the edge going to whichever team can win at the line of scrimmage.

Here’s a look at all of the complete KHSAA playoff brackets:

CLASS 6A (Bracket)

CLASS 5A (Bracket)

CLASS 4A (Bracket)

CLASS 3A (Bracket)

CLASS 2A (Bracket)

CLASS 1A (Bracket)

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